Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Goes “More French” With a New Head Chef from NYC

Following DBGB's closure in Manhattan, chef Nicholas Tang takes the helm in DC.

Chef Daniel Boulud (left) with DBGB executive chef Nicholas Tang. Photograph courtesy of DBGB

Changes are underway for celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s bistro, DBGB Kitchen & Bar. The New York City flagship shuttered last month, citing erratic weekday traffic in the nightlife-heavy Lower East Side neighborhood. Since then, executive chef Nicholas Tang and a few of his cooks have made a new home at the CityCenter DC location—now the only DBGB in Boulud’s international restaurant empire (a new New York location is being scouted).

“Our vision is to make the restaurant more French,” says Tang of DC’s three year-old eatery. “Over the years, it’s become too American. There’s interest and demand in bringing the French classics back.”

Tang, a Singapore native, spent the past seven years rising in the ranks of Boulud’s restaurants—first at DB Bistro Moderne in Singapore, and then the Michelin-starred Café Boulud in New York City. Last year, he helmed the kitchen at DBGB until it closed. Now, he’s resettled his family in Takoma Park and is slowly making changes to the DC restaurant.

Patrons will still find Boulud’s signature house-made sausages, baked Alaska, whole hog feasts, and other staples. The vision for moving the menu in a French direction centers around modernizing the classics, such as pan-seared halibut with a bouillabaisse sauce enriched with saffron and fennel, or salmon with flavors of ratatouille (charred eggplant puree, sautéed squash, and tomato sauce vierge). In the fall and winter, expect more braised dishes such as coq au vin. Eventually, Tang plans to introduce a few influences from his native Southeast Asia, such as a dish he created in NYC: umami-rich XO sauce made with duck confit, served with seared duck breast, stir-fried vegetables, and rice flakes.

“It’s like eating duck rice back home with a French take on it,” says Tang, who still refers to Boulud whenever creating new menu items or specials. “It’s his name on the door. I always ask myself, ‘What would Daniel do?’”

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.