Caviar is everywhere these days—and in the least expected places. We’ve seen sturgeon roe matched with fried chicken at Tail Up Goat and tucked into macarons at Siren. So why are restaurants going caviar-crazy?
“I want to demystify caviar—I want to make it fun,” says Siren chef/owner Robert Wiedmaier. “Everyone is like, ‘Oh, it’s so expensive and you only eat it if you’re an aristocrat.’ We need to change that.”
The reason it’s become more accessible (and affordable): Purveyors are sourcing a wider variety of roe and expanding to newer regions such as Canada and Israel.
While true caviar comes only from wild sturgeon from the Caspian and Black seas, other eggs can be very tasty, too. Domestic paddlefish caviar is a popular, less expensive alternative to imported osetra, while the trendiest roe with chefs these days comes from river trout. Similar to salmon, the smaller eggs deliver a briny pop of flavor that’s delicious on pasta or a lox bagel.
BlackSalt Fish Market (4883 MacArthur Blvd., NW). The shop stocks everything from wallet-friendly salmon roe to Russian osetra.
Balducci’s, Bethesda, 301-564-3100; Alexandria, 703-549-6611; McLean, 703-448-3828; Reston, 540-317-3631. This upscale grocery carries its own brand of high-quality caviars, plus accoutrements.
Petrossian, shop online. The “first family of caviar” has been a gold standard for nearly a century, with dozens of varieties.
Three ideas that venture beyond blini:
1. Go for a high/low combo of caviar, crème fraîche, and potato chips (Lay’s will do).
2. Swap in trout roe for bacon in a creamy carbonara, topping the noodles with the roe.
3. Fold paddlefish caviar into soft-scrambled eggs just before serving.
This article appears in our January 2019 issue of Washingtonian.