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At Tail Up Goat, a bialy serves as a foundation for duck egg, trout roe and creme fraiche.

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Beautiful Beginnings

By Nevin Martell

Photography by Greg Powers

01.02.18

Start the New Year with something gorgeous. This winter, chefs are using bread as building blocks to create picturesque presentations that are the toasts of the town.

Tail Up Goat: Duck Egg and Trout Roe on a Bialy
Think of a bialy as a bagel without the hole punched out. “It eats somewhere between a bagel and a slice of sourdough that’s really crusty,” says Tail Up Goat’s executive chef Jonathan Sybert. He makes his with Red Fife—robust wheat with an intensely savory quality—and fills them with smoked-and-pickled fennel stems. It gets slathered with crème frâiche boasting a tantalizing tang and sweet-fennel jam, and then speckled with salty trout roe and wood sorrel for a citrusy bite. Sybert drops a fried duck egg on top, so it feels like you’re eating a baller breakfast for dinner. $16, 1827 Adams Mill Road NW, 202.986.9600

Ambar: Steak Tartare on Rye
At Ambar, chopped organic beef seasoned with capers and aioli is presented on a slice of crisply toasted rye bread packed with caraway seeds and an earthen undertone. Dotting the center is an over-easy quail egg, which contributes a rich creaminess when the yolk is punctured. Pork cracklins add salty crunch, while a panoply of pickles, such as baby onions and young carrots, bring a briny sensibility. Feel free to forgo ceremony and use your hands to eat the hearty open-face sandwich. “It’s fun dining, not fine-dining,” says Ambar’s executive chef Dejan Pilovic. $13, 523 Eighth St. SE, 202.813.3039

Succotash: Nashville Hot-Fried Oysters on Sally Lunn Bread
“I’m sick of Nashville hot-fried chicken, but I wanted to do something with the sauce,” says Succotash’s executive chef Edward Lee. He lavishes the cayenne-cranked condiment on deep-fried Gulf oysters, which he believes are plumper, juicier and richer than their Chesapeake cousins. They’re laid out on Sally Lunn bread—a soft, yet chewy, white loaf known in the South as poor man’s brioche. To help quench the burn of the spicy shellfish, there’s a smattering of quick pickled cucumbers and shallots. Creamy ranch dressing finishes the dish, inspired by Lee’s longtime love of Cool Ranch Doritos. $15, 915 F St. NW, 202.849.6933