Len DePas Photography

Barton Seaver

Café Saint Ex
1847 14th Street NW
Washington DC, 20009
(202) 265-7839

Bar Pilar
1833 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-1751

Biography & Interview »

Barton Seaver
Café Saint Ex and Bar Pilar | Washington DC

Barton Seaver’s childhood home family dinner was an involved process seven nights a week. Mac and Cheese was never out of the box, but prepared with a homemade béchamel and pasta made from scratch. Summers spent at a family friends’ hog farm on the Chesapeake Bay, crabbing and going with his father to buy seafood from local fisherman, meant seasonality and locality made sense to Seaver early on. The simple, market driven food of Seaver’s childhood home and his later travels through Africa and the Iberian Peninsula have translated to a strong commitment to the idea of a chef’s responsibility for sharing gastronomic tradition, culture and information. This is carried on in his two DC restaurants, Café Saint Ex and Bar Pilar where Seaver’s belief in the minimal manipulation of high quality, responsibly-sourced ingredients shines through in dishes like an understated and lightly garnished Walu with Sweet Potato Puree and Orange Parsley Salad. Beginning with sustainable Walu (or white tuna), and using no more than lemon, chili and parsley to highlight the fish’s inherent flavor, Seaver carefully builds a simple and delicious dish using smoke-infused water rather than a traditional heavy stock or butter.


Jalapeno-Crusted Walu with Sweet Potato Purée and Orange Parsley Salad
Chef Barton Seaver of Café St Ex and Bar Pilar– Washington, D.C.
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 4 Servings


    Smoke-Infused Water:
  • 1 sheet pan fruit wood shavings, smoldering
  • 1 tray ice

    Sweet Potato Purée:
  • 2 large organic sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup Smoke-Infused Water

  • 4 5-ounce Walu filets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapeno puree
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

    Orange Parsley Salad:
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 1 Tablespoon tarragon leaves
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced, soaked in vinegar
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

For the Smoke-Infused Water:
Place the fruit wood on the bottom rack of a cold oven with the ice directly above it. Allow the ice to absorb smoke for 7 minutes.

For the Sweet Potato Purée:
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Place sweet potatoes in a small baking dish and season generously with salt. Add the maple syrup and Smoke-Infused Water and mix well. Cover the potatoes with foil and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Purée the contents in a food processor and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve warm.

For the Walu:
Season the Walu generously with salt one hour before cooking. Combine the panko, jalapeno purée, parsley and olive oil and mix well. Gently pack the mixture onto one side of the walu, making sure it is well-covered. Use extra olive oil if needed to ensure a thick crust.

To Assemble:

Place one large spoon of sweet potato purée on each plate. Place the Walu on one side of the sweet potato mound and top with the orange parsley salad. Drizzle the remaining salad juices around the perimeter of the plate.

   Published: October 2006