Chow Down Thomas Jefferson-Style at Plume, a Michelin-Starred Restaurant in DC

Apr 7, 2017

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Thomas Jefferson’s coming home! Whether you learned more about the third POTUS in your elementary school history class or via one of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s epic Hamilton-style “Cabinet Battles,” here’s something you may not know: this Founding Father was a serious foodie. In addition to his many political accomplishments, Jefferson also made a number of culinary contributions to this country — among the foods he introduced to America? Ice cream, French fries, parmesan, waffles, macaroni and cheese and Champagne. (Thanks, Tom!) To pay him back, Plume — the Michelin-starred restaurant at The Jefferson hotel in Washington, D.C. — is hosting a special birthday dinner in Jefferson’s honor, featuring a menu inspired by some of his favorite recipes.

Plume's extensive wine list (more than 1,300 labels) includes the country's largest Madeira collection, currently offering one of last bottles of 1720 Madeira in the world. Image courtesy of Plume's Facebook page.
Plume’s extensive wine list (more than 1,300 labels) includes the country’s largest Madeira collection, currently offering one of last bottles of 1720 Madeira in the world. Image courtesy of Plume’s Facebook page.

The five-course tasting menu, available by reservation only from April 11 through April 15, will utilize Virginia-sourced ingredients to create dishes straight from Jefferson’s own recipe book. Among the delicacies diners will find, courtesy of executive chef Ralf Schlegel, are Matjes herring fillet with bull’s blood beets, green beans and soubise sauce (Jefferson first encountered herring while traveling up the Rhine into Holland); Virginia sea trout with brown butter emulsion, peas and blossoms and trout roe (it was Jefferson who brought English peas to America from Europe, then grew them at Monticello); and white asparagus with sea buckthorn hollandaise, Yukon gold potato risotto and Ossetra caviar (Jefferson was introduced to white asparagus while traveling through France, which is where Plume imports theirs from).

Meanwhile, pastry chef Fabrice Leray will be cooking up an almond milk Blancmange with brandied white peaches compote, red currant jelly, rice pudding ice cream and Blancmange (a recipe inspired by a couple of Jefferson’s own).

Celebrating what would have been Jefferson’s 274th birthday could set you back close to the same amount in dollars; the dinner itself runs $117 per person (not including tax or gratuity), $190 with a wine pairing or $260 with the upgraded French Wine Experience. You can view the full menu online. The Jefferson has our vote.

Featured image courtesy of Plume’s Facebook page.

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