Marjorie Meek-Bradley is Rosslyn's newest celebrity chef. Among her many achievements, she is a former Top Chef finalist, former executive chef at top-rated D.C. restaurants Ripple and Roofers Union, and two-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Award (read a longer bio here). Soon, she'll be spending her time at Rosslyn's new Continental Beer Garden, where she has developed a delectable menu featuring sausages, skewers, dips and other fare that's good for sharing. The Rosslyn BID caught up with her for a few minutes one morning while she was busy working at her restaurant.
Rosslynva.org: Can you tell us about how you developed the menu?
Marjorie Meek-Bradley: To get started, I talked to the manager at Continental to find out what sells well there and what people really like. I wanted to learn what people are looking for. I knew I wanted the menu to be simple American bar food with a focus on making things from scratch and using high-quality ingredients, not frozen products. For instance, we’re buying the sausages from a local company, Logan’s Sausages. It’s cool to work with somebody local and not buy mass-produced sausage. It's food people can snack on while they’re sitting outside and having a good time. It's meant to be fun and easy to share.
Rosslynva.org: Did you try to include foods that would pair well with the beer and wine menu?
MMB: I centered the menu around food that would go well with beer more than anything else. I think about that, especially in the summertime when I’m sitting outside more often for dinner. Grilled foods, foods with spice, and sausages with a juicy, fatty quality pair really well with beer.
Rosslynva.org: How is your menu different from the food at other places nearby?
MMB: I think our skewers are going to be really popular. We'll have chicken, beef and shrimp skewers served over quinoa salad. I know in the summertime when I grill at home I do shish kebabs and skewers, and then people can mix and match and it’s easy to share. A lot of beer gardens you go to aren't going to offer as many healthy options. Our skewers are super-healthy and you can share them. I think they’re going to be fun.
Rosslynva.org: Will you be preparing the food and working at the beer garden?
MMB: I’m going to be on site in the first couple of weeks that it opens. I’m going to train staff to be sure that things are being executed right. I’m not overseeing the restaurant in the long-term, but in the beginning I'll be there to be sure everything is being done properly.
Rosslynva.org: Do you have any tips or recipes to share?
MMB: For summertime grilling I definitely recommend marinating anything that’s going on the grill other than a N.Y. strip steak, which doesn’t really need marinating. Chicken, pork and foods like that do need it, though. Greek yogurt mixed with spices is a really great marinade that keeps meat moist, juicy and tender. You should thin the yogurt a bit and then mix in a seasoning blend and a little bit of lemon juice or orange juice. Marinate the meat in this for at least an hour or as long as overnight. It works really well for grilling. Other add-ins could be a little bit of olive oil, chopped garlic, or any fresh herbs or spices you want.
Rosslynva.org: As you prepare to open, what are you most excited about?
MMB: Besides the food, I think the outdoor seating is going to be really fun. It's an amazing space. Also, it's notable that we’re making everything from scratch and that it’s not from the back of a truck.