Bitch Biz: Glen’s Garden Market and Bitches Who Brunch are partners. While this article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, we do receive compensation from the company.
I had dinner in a grocery store—and it was more decadent than many of the meals I’ve had in some of Washington’s finest dining establishments. Glen’s Garden Market, an all-local grocery, café, and craft beer and wine bar in Dupont, puts on a tasting dinner after hours.
You see, Glen’s is all about two things: (1) community, and (2) incremental climate change progress through sourcing your food locally—what they refer to as “progress one bite at a time.” Glen’s has a lot going on: a grocery store, a deli, a wine bar, a delicious brunch featuring BullFrog Bagels, a monthly CSA, a Growler club, a Monday run club, and a solid, pup-friendly patio, which is packed on any given evening when the weather is nice.
Monthly, Glen’s hosts this tasting dinner, where 10-12 folks gather at its communal tables for a delightful meal of a not-so-casual 10 or so courses. Hosted on Thursday and Friday nights the last week of the month, the dinner allows Chef Travis Olson, who was formally at Noma in Copenhagen, to show off a bit. Incredibly humble (and incredibly cute), Olson is anything but showy, but the quality of his cuisine speaks for itself.
A few months back, I invited my best friend Lindsey, who is a professional private chef, to join me. It was a great way for us to catch up, make some new friends, drink some wine, and sample a smattering of unique, delicious plates made from local, seasonal ingredients.
Dinner began with mini pizzas, baked on 100 year old stone mill flour. The sourdough flatbread was made with Daisy flour and topped with salami from 16th Street, argula, and a delicious onion confit.
The dough was delicious—you could just tell that the flour made it better—marketing aside. The dough was able to shine, as the pizza was served without tomato sauce.
My favorite plate came next—a Grilled King Oyster mushroom served on a bed of cooked spinach with a black garlic vinaigrette. Now, there’s nothing I love more than mushrooms and garlic—but this was just decadent.
“It’s thick and meaty. You’ll need to cut it with a knife,” Travis said as the mushrooms hit the table. The wild mushroom was enormous, served atop an oily pesto and topped with a black balsamic glaze. It was heavenly. As I ate, Lindsey explained that as mushrooms are typically oily, they wouldn’t naturally be paired with an oily pesto, but that Travis made it work well. I agreed while nodding through bites.
For the third course, we received an individual chicken dumpling—a Cannelloni, more specifically. This dumpling had the most incredibly light dough, filled with chicken, creamed scallions, and Mountaineer cheese.
Chef Travis won my heart with a fourth course of my favorite entrée: steak. It was a dry-aged Bavette steak cooked perfectly medium rare and topped with caramelized shallots and curly watercress spirals.
The friendly staff kept the red wine coming—reaching over our shoulders with impressive skill to keep those tumbler glasses filled to the brim with red wine.
After the steak came the cheese, which is how life should always go. And damn, that was good cheese—a Monacacy gold to be specific, with fig jam and a cranberry walnut toast. The bite-sized melty cheese was served with a light, thin crisp of toast—and a hearty helping of an incredible fig jam.
“Doughnuts! Your favorite,” Lindsey accurately proclaimed as the bowls were placed before us. The was served Cider Doughnuts were served with crème fraîche ice cream, and apple confit. This dessert was heavenly—sweet yet flavorful, and an incredibly satisfying: warm, fluffy balls of dough with apple served with a tart-yet-sweet crème fraîche ice cream—it was one of those desserts you’ll remember for awhile.
As if seven courses isn’t sufficient, the meal concluded with raspberry thumbprint shortbread cookies, served on long, rectangular wooden trays for sharing. The bite-sized shortbread cookies were perfect and delightful. Despite being utterly full, I popped several into my mouth. While I usually go wild for chocolate and eschew fruit-based cookies, these hit the spot. As an added touch, the cookies were baked by Chef Travis’ wife, who also works for Glen’s.
Glen’s hosts its Tasting Table on the last Thursday and Friday of every month—and that’s this week!
This was the last time it will be served in its current format: eight courses at $100/head for 10 people. Going forward, the table will be for 12, with a more affordable four courses at $75. Regardless of the structure, we’re confident, given Travis’ impressive abilities. We may even use the format change as an excuse to return sooner rather than later.
Get your tickets for a similar, seasonal tasting dinner this Thursday and Friday, here.
Glen’s Garden Market
2001 S St. N.W.