Inside the James Beard House

By: Sara Levine

For food people, the James Beard Awards rival the Oscars. We root for our favorite or hometown chefs and seek out the restaurants of award-winners while traveling. Any mention of Mr. Beard’s name in a restaurant review means major culinary clout.

If you identify with the above, you can understand my excitement upon being invited to attend a dinner at the James Beard House—the former residence of the man himself in New York’s West Village.

The Beard House is an unassuming townhouse that looks like any other on its block, except for the small plaque indicating that it is actually a culinary shrine. For chefs, it is a great honor to be asked to cook there, and the talented group of eight Washington D.C. toques who were cooking when I visited was no exception. They crammed into the crowded kitchen and studiously worked as a team to plate each dish.

In the cozy upstairs dining rooms, each chef personally presented his or her dish, and lucky diners enjoyed every morsel of a six-course meal, plus hors d’oeuvres and dangerously good cocktails from top D.C. mixologists.

Here's a taste of the incredible food you can expect from a James Beard House meal. A peek at the six-course menu from "The Best of D.C." dinner in August:

  • Abalone Foie Gras with White Soy, Meyer Lemon Jalapeno (Haidar Karoum, Proof)
  • Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup with Crispy Fried Softshell Crab, Virginia Corn Chowchow Smoked Paprika (Daniel Giusti, 1789 Restaurant)
  • Tawa Baingan: Olive Oil, Garlic Black Pepper-Marinated Italian Eggplant with Spiced Potatoes, Jaggery, Coconut Peanut Sauce (Vikram Sunderam, Rasika)
  • Steamed Wild Sea Bass with Tianjin Fragrant Herbs (Scott Drewno, The Source by Wolfgang Puck)
  • Roasted Duck Breast with Swiss Chard, Strawberry Chutney, Cherry Wood Balsamic Summer Beans (Bertrand Chemel, 2941 Restaurant)
  • Virginia Wildflower Honey Panna Cotta with Orange Carrot (Josh Short, Buzz Bakery)

While contemplating my good fortune from my seat at the table, I learned an amazing little-known fact: Anyone can buy tickets to dine at the Beard House. Just check their calendar of upcoming events and call to make a reservation, or make one through Open Table.

Keep Reading

Next Up

James Wong

Learn more about James Wong, the host of Grow Your Own Drugs.

Hump Day Snack: Christmas Surprise-Inside Cake

Christmas is full of surprises, but this Christmas Surprise Inside cake may top the list, with a special festive cake-ornament hidden in the center of the cake.

On TV

Everyday Italian

7:30am | 6:30c

Everyday Italian

8:30am | 7:30c

Food Quest

10am | 9c

Carnival Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Carnival Eats

11am | 10c

Carnival Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Carnival Eats

12pm | 11c

Carnival Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Carnival Eats

1pm | 12c

Carnival Eats

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Good Eats

3pm | 2c

Good Eats

3:30pm | 2:30c

Good Eats

4pm | 3c

Good Eats

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

8pm | 7c

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

8:30pm | 7:30c

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

9:30pm | 8:30c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

12:30am | 11:30c

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

1:30am | 12:30c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Season Premieres Mon., Dec. 11 8|7c

Home for the Holidays

So Much Pretty Food Here