Chef Crush

At the new restaurant Hook in Georgetown, a sumptuous meal begins with a flight of crudo, thin slices of raw fish accompanied by imaginative garnishes. I was intrigued enough by the description to order the Amberjack with chocolate mint and sexy salt.

The chef himself arrived with our crudo to describe the dish and insure that we received the knowledge necessary to enjoy our raw fish. Wearing a carefully aged baseball cap over shaggy blond hair and a striped apron over his jeans, Barton Seaver explained that “sexy salt” referred to his excitement, as a chef, at feeling a salt on his skin that was not “normal salt.”

“We chefs are touching salt all day, so when you touch a new type of salt, and it’s softer, you get that feeling, excited…” The rest of his comment was lost in my girlish giggles.

The salt returned in every course, as did the chef, to describe his offerings. The man is young, 27 or 28, and is the executive chef at the hottest new restaurant in Georgetown. He’s also committed to local, sustainable and organic foods, so you never even have to ask whether that fish you can’t pronounce is actually a Patagonian Toothfish or whether the shrimp have been imported from a tropical farm. It’s all “responsibly sourced,” as their website calls the practice.

On top of it all, as of last July, he was one of 20 Fabulous Singles in DC, according to Washingtonian magazine. I know that’s a long time ago, but a girl can always dream…

I’ve never much cared for sashimi, but these crudo were soft, buttery, and gave me a whole new appreciation for raw fish, despite the menu disclaimer that consuming raw meat can be hazardous to your health.

I never did leave my phone number on the receipt (do people actually do this kind of thing??). But the food was delicious.

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