Dennis Marron makes his mark at Poste. Photograph by Scott Suchman
This past Friday, the staff at Poste quietly completed the final transitions to the new lunch and dinner menus, the firsts from new chef Dennis Marron, who left Alexandria restaurants Jackson 20 and the Grille at Morrison House to take over the Penn Quarter eatery. All three restaurants belong to the Kimpton hotel chain; Marron's predecessor at Poste, Robert Weland, left the brasserie after seven years to helm the kitchen at Cork on 14th Street.
Marron has spent the last few weeks getting the lay of the land, “transitioning new cooks in and old cooks out,” and adapting to a new clientele, one that's more shapeshifting than he expected. “We have different groups come in depending on what's going on in the Verizon Center, from hockey fans to people going to a Jay-Z concert to the regular diners. Every time you look up, it's completely different.”
But Marron says a broad brasserie menu can accommodate the amorphous crowd. There are five mussel preparations on the menu―including one made with Port City Porter and another with a Belgian saison. “Brasseries were originally breweries, so we want to start to ramp up our beer program,” says Marron, who ran the brew program at Jackson 20. He'll need some robust beers to pair up with the plats de cochon—five different pig preparations, including a “Frenchified bangers and mash” and a roast pork belly served with parsnip purée and house-made apple butter—and the "onion soup burger," with caramelized onions, Comté cheese, and a broth-dipped bun.
The new lunch menu includes smaller, cheaper versions of many of the dishes, as well as an omelet (a nod to the all-day-breakfast tradition at brasseries) and a chicken paillard.
Marron says his menus will change often, “more than seasonally,” at least, and that a winter menu is already in the works for the bar. The kitchen will be preparing coquito―a Puerto Rican eggnog―starting in December.