Yes, DC restaurants are getting better and better, and usually more expensive and more expensive. Most places have eliminated the menu weakness, that item or two which are dirt cheap and make an entire meal. Given the time and talent to pull them off, they are probably losing money on those items.
Dabney is finally a place where you can have exquisite food plus, if you are trying not to spend so much, you can do that too.
I ordered three items, though I didn't really need to. The first item I ordered was their squash cooked 'in the fire.' It was heavenly. The piece of squash was served over a sauce that was thick and silky despite being labeled as a brown butter vinaigrette. That was the only regular menu item I ordered and I was so glad I did.
The other items I ordered are both listed as side dishes: sweet potatoes and charred greens and their red island peas at eight bucks a piece. They offer gratis some grilled bread with a swoon-worthy whipped butter that is creamy and spicy.
The sweet potatoes are small potatoes quartered with the skin on, mixed in with smoky greens and some lettuce as well. The little bits of lettuce act as a nice transition between the greens and the potato.
The red island peas are somewhat like black eyed peas. They were a surprisingly large bowl meant for sharing. The texture was firm and they were creamy as well. They are served piping hot with some nice background spiciness. I was full halfway through but didn't want to stop eating them. I could have bathed in them and been happy as can be. Yeah, at eight bucks with the grilled bread this is definitely a meal, combined with the sweet potatoes, completely awesome.
On another note, the bar area (there are a couple of tables there) is well-lit and quiet. Is the tide turning on dark and noisy as well?