The Dabney
Fried Sugar Toads

Sugar toads, a tiny species of nonpoisonous puffer fish with a sweet, mild flavor are abundant in the Chesapeake Bay region where they are eaten as a delicacy. At The Dabney, chef/owner Jeremiah Langhorne treats sugar toads like Buffalo wings and the result is a legendary bar snack. Dunked in a buttermilk marinade spiked with hot sauce and salt, the fish are dredged in seasoned flour, dunked and dredged again. Deep-fried for a few minutes, they are tossed in a glaze of local honey, house-made hot sauce and benne seeds (similar to sesame seeds). Served with a buttermilk dressing infused with a Pecorino-style cheese from Pennsylvania, mayonnaise, chopped parsley, chervil, tarragon and chive, the fish arrive with a small salad and sprinkled with more benne seeds and chives.

Pro tip: If you order sugar toads, eat them with your hands, Langhorne says. “I think that’s the best way to eat a lot of things.”

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122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
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Opening times
Fri: 5:30 - 10:00 pm
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