Chef David Conn Bringing Country Western Cuisine to Kitty’s Saloon

4 Sep

Chef David Conn’s path to becoming head chef at Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street, NE) has not been the most traditional.  Initially a music professor at Cornell University, Conn decided that he was tired of academia and was ready to pursue his passion for the restaurant industry.  After several years of culinary training in Savannah, he spent the next 14 years in the Nashville restaurant scene where he developed his own spin on country and western cuisines.  Next he spent time in the New York City area where he opened additional restaurants before being attracted to the D.C. area.

Chef David Conn of Kitty's Saloon

Chef David Conn of Kitty’s Saloon

In the coming weeks, Kitty’s Saloon will replace the long closed Souk on H Street.  The interior and exterior of the restaurant have been completely redesigned.  Much of the wood on the inside of the restaurant came from an 1870s barn and has been restored for use in the space.  Currently, the restaurant only occupies the ground floor, but the owners of Kitty’s are working with the landlord to buy the upstairs and expand the restaurant (and possibly create an outdoor deck in the coming months).  Prior to opening, we caught up with Chef David Conn to discuss his plans and vision for Kitty’s.

After one trip to H Street, Conn was sold on the area.  He says that one trip to the Pug and a taste of Toki Underground’s ramen were enough to convince him that the neighborhood was the place to be.  He hopes that Kitty’s Saloon will become a neighborhood hangout that will add a unique element to H Street but that will become fully engrained in the neighborhood.  For Conn, having a strong connection to the neighborhood and a good relationship with the neighbors is essential for success.

Initially, Kitty’s Saloon was advertised as “contemporary redneck cuisine,” but Conn sees it as a blend of country and western cuisines.  The menu will feature around ten small plates at any one time as well as several larger entree plates.  Look for it to rotate significantly by season.  Conn considers his spice rack and the different blending of spices to be essential to his style.  He joked to us that his spice rack is so large that it takes up half of his storage space.  Slow braising and other styles of cooking that develop a deep spice and flavor profile are key to the dishes he makes.  

Some of what you can look forward to at dinner: squab perloo (like a jambalaya), slow braised bison short ribs, rattlesnake chili (the rattlesnake will be the centerpiece of the dish and will not simply be blended into the chili), fried baloney sliders with a spicy chow-chow relish, a burger made with dry aged beef, a gravy burger (in winter), and fried brussels sprouts.

For brunch: housemade biscuits, short rib hash and eggs, crab cakes with quail egg and cilantro hollandaise, and a “hangover” pancake that will be made in a German style with Bailey’s batter and Goldschlager to create a very puffy pancake.

At the bar: a unique selection of whiskeys and bourbons that will allow people to try different types and styles of the two liquors.  Conn hopes to make the whiskey and bourbon selection very approachable and hopes that people will feel encouraged to try lesser known varieties.  There will also be six beers on tap as well as other canned beers.

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2 Responses to “Chef David Conn Bringing Country Western Cuisine to Kitty’s Saloon”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kitty’s Saloon Soft Opens, Official Opening Friday | District Cuisine - October 10, 2014

    […] Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street, NE) had its soft opening this week and will open tomorrow (Friday the 10th) for full dinner service.  For the first month or so, the restaurant will only have its first floor open as they complete construction on the upper level.  The lower level features a bar, three two top tables in the back, and a table in the front by their floor to ceiling roll-up window that opens on to H Street.  We have the drink menu after the jump below (sorry for the iPhone photos) and should have the complete menu soon.  You can see our preview here. […]

  2. H Street’s Horizon: What’s Coming Soon (Fall 2014) | District Cuisine - October 22, 2014

    […] Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street)–country-western restaurant and whiskey bar that replaced the long closed Souk restaurant.  Our coverage here. […]

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