Friday, October 19, 2012

Chas. A. Eckstein Ladies' Cafe

Washington Post,
March 15, 1908
Chas. A. Eckstein Ladies' Cafe

Location: 1412 New York Avenue, Washington, DC, USA

Opened/Closed: c. March 1908

Hmm. Which operation has the priority here? The one for the gentleman? Or the one for the ladies?
1207 New York Avenue (1925)

Here's what we know about the gentlemen's restaurant.

1) They specialized in planked shad. Which I had never heard of before, but here's a 1904 piece on How to Plank a Shad, just in case you want to recreate the old-fashioned authentic version at home. Basically involves long oaken planks, an open fire, shad, and lots and lots of butter.

Shad planking - Maryland (1893)
Here's a version of Planked Shad that's more kitchen friendly:

4 lbs shad
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups mashed potatoes, hot
parsley, for garnish
lemon, for garnish

Clean and dress fish.

Broil for ten minutes; place on a hot, buttered plank, skin side down.

Season well, pour melted butter over the top and bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

Protect plank from scorching by coating with damp salt, excluding the parts not covered by the fish. (The salt dries and is easily removed before mashed potato is added.).

Remove plank from oven and pipe mashed potatoes decoratively around fish.

Return to oven until potatoes are golden and fish well done.

Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Planked shad

2) Then there was the planked steak, another specialty of the house. And a very elaborate dish as well. 
Planked rump steak

3) Last but not least: All brands of imported wines, liquors, and cigars! 

Gentlemen enjoying imported wines,
liquors, and cigars

As for the ladies: 

1) They were on the second floor. 

2) And, um, they were on the second floor? 

Well, at least they had each other's company!

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