7 Places to Find the Much-Prized Shad Roe Around DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  March 18, 2014
Credit: Mintwood Place

Mid-Atlantic fish fanatics look forward to spring each year, when shad roe starts popping up on menus. Dishes incorporating the sacks of fish eggs have their obsessives, with some even calling it the foie gras of fish. The very limited season adds to the fervor, and chefs who serve it will usually do so right up until the supply runs dry.

Chef Ann Cashion, co-owner of Johnny's Half Shell and Taqueria Nacional, compares the flavor to sushi liver and admits that it's an acquired taste. She says it's often paired with bacon because of its liver-like flavor and citrus to brighten it up. 

Cashion adds that it's perhaps so beloved in Washington because Delaware is the epicenter of shad fishing. Here are seven places where you can find this ephemeral delicacy around town:

Where: BlackSalt  
Dish: Off-menu preparation of the roe
Tasting Notes: Guests can select the roe from the fish case up front and ask chef Mike Huff for a special appetizer or entree preparation, generally preparing it with warm bacon and a sherry vinagrette. Huff says he might change the prep to include peas, pancetta and potato puree when peas come in. 
Cost: $15; $30
4883 MacArthur Blvd. NW; 202-342-9101

Where: Clyde's of Chevy Chase  
Dish: Shad roe
Tasting Notes: Enhanced with shallots, parsley, chives, capers, white wine and lemon zest.
Cost: $11.95
5441 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-951-9600

Where: Et Voila!
Dish: Pan-seared shad roe
Tasting Notes: Here, it’s finished with marjoram and butter and served over a bed of white-corn risotto with a lobster mousse purse.
Cost: $26
5120 MacArthur Blvd. NW; 202-237-2300

Where: Equinox Restaurant
Dish: Pan-seared shad roe appetizer
Tasting Notes: Served with aged Virginia ham, braised dandelion greens, roasted kabocha squash and tomatillo salsa verde.
Cost: $13
818 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-331-8118

Where: Johnny’s Half Shell
Dishes: Mid-Atlantic taramasalata; fettuccine with house-cured bottarga
Tasting Notes: Chef-owner Ann Cashion is curing the shad roe for her taramasalata, which is served with toasted olive bread and a salad of pea shoots and radishes. She’s doing a longer cure to turn it into bottarga that will flavor fettuccine tossed with breadcrumbs and toasted garlic. (Hot tip: Cashion is also serving shad fillet tacos this week at Taqueria Nacional with creamy leeks and house-cured sauerkraut for $3.50 apiece.)
Cost: $10.25; $12.50
400 N. Capitol St. NW; 202-737-0400

Where: Mintwood Place
Dish: Shad roe and filet
Tasting Notes: Here, the filet is cooked till the skin crackles and the roe is cooked to medium and wrapped with lardo, sauced with a brown butter, lemon and veal demiglace and served with oyster mushrooms and a rosti potato cake.
Cost: $27
1813 Columbia Road NW; 202-234-6732

Where: Old Ebbitt Grill   
Dish: Sauteed shad roe
Tasting Notes: The kitchen is serving it with saffron rice, kale and a caper meunière sauce.
Cost: $18.95
675 15th St. NW; 202-347-4800