Like many other 26-year-old guys, Andrew Markert says he has little more than “pickles and beer” in his refrigerator at home. But in his other kitchen—inside Arlington’s Tallula restaurant—the young chef surprises diners with the likes of jasmine-tea-infused rabbit pappardelle and seared foie gras with apple butter and butterscotch.
A native of Baltimore, Markert worked in Rhode Island for a few years after culinary school and then moved to DC to be closer to family—and for a job in the kitchen at Citronelle. He spent time at Dish, Notti Bianche, and Vermilion under mentor Tony Chittum before becoming executive chef of Tallula and EatBar, Tallula’s gastropub sibling next door, this past July.
Markert chatted with us about some of his food favorites, from his soup of choice to the EatBar cocktail that made a gin drinker out of him.How do you like your eggs?
“Over-easy or egg-in-a-hole. You cut out the middle of toast and cook the egg inside it, so it’s an all-inclusive meal.”
Favorite kind of cheese:
“I would say either Constant Bliss or Grayson. Grayson is a washed-rind, and there aren’t a lot of washed-rind American cheeses. It’s similar to Taleggio, really stinky and delicious. The Constant has a little bit of earthiness, a creamy outside and chalky center—an all-around great cheese. It could have a better name, though.”
Favorite kind of soup:
“Lentil. You get some smoky ham hocks in there and serve it with buttermilk biscuits or cornbread. So good.”
Favorite dish currently on the menu at Tallula or EatBar:
“At Tallula, the rabbit pappardelle. We grind jasmine tea and fold it into the pasta dough and serve it with braised rabbit and pearl onions and pistachios. Definitely one of my favorites. At EatBar, it’s a more recent addition. We’re doing a fried-chicken dish with dirty rice that’s pretty cool. It’s chicken legs and thighs brined in a buttermilk-based brine for two days. It makes it really moist, with great flavor. We serve it over jasmine dirty rice made with chicken livers, garlic, shallots, and parsley.”
Junk food of choice:
“Orange soda and Snyder’s sourdough pretzels.”
Favorite Gina Chersevani drink:
“She pours a mean glass of bourbon! But her Gnome’s Water is really delicious, and I don’t even like gin, so that’s saying something. It’s got cucumber, lavender, and Hendricks gin.”
Do you have a culinary mentor?
“I’ve had a bunch. Tony Chittum is definitely one of my big ones. Another is a good friend of mine from Rhode Island named Chris Carno. I worked for him at a restaurant called Gracie’s.”
Favorite local restaurant besides your own:
“I’m a regular at Pho 75 every Sunday. I get the number 4 and a side of well-done flank steak and a coffee.”
Destination restaurant that you’re dying to get to:
“Most recently I went to Alinea, so I can check that one off my list. I want to get to Per Se or the French Laundry. If Europe were in the cards, I’d probably want to go eat at the Fat Duck.”
Favorite food TV show:
“I like to watch No Reservations and that show with Andrew Zimmern where he eats all the funky stuff. That one’s cool.”
Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten:
“One of those duck eggs where you crack it open and there’s a fetal duck inside of it. I ate that in culinary school.”