At Miss Toya’s Creole Home, a server pours a combination of Casamigos Blanco tequila, blood orange juice and bitter combine right into a smooth, silver-lined, black cocktail coupe in entrance of a younger lady dressed for an evening in town. The scarlet liquid, triggered by dry ice, bubbles like a witch’s brew and releases a billowy fog into the air that crops a message into my mind: I’ll have what she’s having! Quickly I’m sipping alone Girl Voodoo cocktail, created by Toya Miskiri, who, together with her husband, chef Jeffeary Miskiri, opened the Silver Spring restaurant in August. I attempt to hold it firm with an order of deviled eggs spiked with pickle relish and topped with big lumps of Venezuelan crab meat, however the tasty bites vanish virtually earlier than my drink’s bubbles subside. To not fear, oysters Rockefeller on the half shell—six plump bivalves loaded with garlicky creamed spinach and Parmesan and broiled to golden brown—are proper behind them.
The Miskiris’ restaurant background is spectacular. That is the couple’s sixth below their Miskiri Hospitality Group. Their different spots are two areas of Po Boy Jim, one in Washington, D.C., and one in Columbia, Maryland; Suga & Spice in Hyattsville; Creole on 14th in Washington; and Home of Creole in Cleveland, Ohio. Three different ideas are within the works, together with Miss Toya’s Southern Kitchen in Gaithersburg’s rio growth. (Jeffeary’s uncle, Jason Miskiri, is a restaurateur, too; he owns The Indignant Jerk in Silver Spring, and his new place, The Breakfast Membership, is slated to open by the tip of this 12 months.)
Miss Toya’s replaces Eggspectation, which closed in September 2020. The 5,200-square-foot restaurant seats 204 inside and 16 outdoors. The 15-seat rectangular bar, embellished with boldly patterned grey and white Spanish tiles, divides the big area into two sections. The inside evokes the sensation of being in a spacious home. Within the entrance home windows are black hanging rattan chairs such as you would possibly discover on a large Southern porch. Some partitions are brick, and others are coated with grey siding. Fake greenery abounds, both suspended from the ceiling or in white picket planter containers behind camel-colored tufted pleather banquettes. Small stage lights (which might stand to be dimmed to boost the dinnertime ambiance) beam from uncovered ductwork.
A neon signal on the wall subsequent to the open kitchen says, “Feed your soul,” which is a straightforward command to heed, due to Jeffeary Miskiri’s expertise. He began studying the restaurant enterprise at 17 by working in one of many eight McDonald’s franchises an aunt supervised in D.C. and Maryland. Born and raised in Takoma Park, Miskiri attended Montgomery Blair Excessive Faculty in Silver Spring, graduated from Montgomery Faculty and earned undergraduate and graduate levels in enterprise administration from, respectively, Prince George’s Group Faculty and the College of Maryland College Faculty.
“The meals at Miss Toya’s represents my Southern roots and my mom’s Caribbean [Guyanese] heritage,” Miskiri says. “I used to be making gumbo and shrimp and grits at 8 years previous. Cooking grew to become my ardour.” After graduate faculty, he spent two years together with his great-grandfather Jimmy Franklin in New Orleans, immersing himself within the tradition and refining his data of the area’s cooking. Miskiri returned to D.C. to pursue his dream of constructing a restaurant there and opened his first Po Boy Jim, within the H Road hall, in 2012.
Along with deviled eggs and oysters Rockefeller at Miss Toya’s, barbecued shrimp is an effective solution to begin. Don’t count on gooey, ketchup-y barbecue sauce—that’s not the NOLA means. These crustaceans—5 massive ones per order—are perched atop a wealthy butter sauce enhanced with a fancy seafood inventory, Worcestershire sauce, white wine and Miskiri’s housemade Cajun seasoning. (I detect onion, garlic and celery seed.) Fried inexperienced tomato slices, their flesh tangy and juicy inside their crunchy breadcrumb coating, hit the spot, however you’ll want to request further remoulade sauce.
Cross up the cup of gumbo starter and order the “loaded” gumbo entree as an alternative. Its presentation alone—an impressive cluster of meaty snow crab legs resting atop a soup rife with andouille sausage, shrimp and rooster—warrants the improve, however the taste seals the deal. Miskiri’s roux (flour cooked lengthy and gradual in oil) is a deep, rust colour and imbues the dish with coffee-like notes, nuttiness and soul. Seafood inventory provides to the gumbo’s complexity, and successful of cayenne provides it a kick. One other notable entree—catfish and grits—is a gigantic, moist fillet encrusted in cornmeal that’s positioned on a mattress of white cheddar grits and sauced with wealthy crawfish cream. Plan to take half dwelling, as you’ll should you order the two-per-serving, splendidly tender, mammoth quick ribs braised with celery, onions, garlic, bell peppers, bay leaves and thyme and served over sauteed spinach or chunky mashed potatoes (your selection).
There are kinks to be ironed out at Miss Toya’s—actually—equivalent to wrinkled tablecloths. It’s a small element, however particulars matter. Gumbo with crab legs ought to include the required utensils for opening and consuming them. (And wipes to wash your fingers afterwards.) Oysters demand oyster forks. The service wants fine-tuning. It could possibly take some time to order and obtain drinks, so have your appetizer plan teed up when the server exhibits up.
For dessert at Miss Toya’s, you’ll be able to’t go flawed with the cake-like white chocolate vanilla bean bread pudding. I’m thrilled to see beignets—puffy, ethereal yeast-dough fritters—among the many candy choices, however mine are overfried, uninflated and left untouched.
Enterprise is booming at Miss Toya’s, for a lot of good causes, so you’ll want to make a reservation and let Girl Voodoo allow you to do this voodoo that you simply accomplish that nicely. (Sorry, Cole Porter.)
Miss Toya’s Creole Home
General Ranking: B
923 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, 240-641-5925, misstoyascreolehouse.com
Favourite Dishes: Oysters Rockefeller, barbecued shrimp, deviled eggs with crab meat, loaded gumbo entree, catfish and grits, braised quick ribs.
Costs: $13 to $24; Entrees: $25 to $55; Desserts: $8 to $12. (A 20% gratuity is routinely added to each examine.)
Libations: It’s all in regards to the cocktails ($18 to $22). Most are beneficiant and crowd pleasing, equivalent to Becky’s Sangria (pink wine, Hennessey Cognac, pineapple juice), which is served in a big wine glass and topped with contemporary blackberries and a strawberry popsicle. Colourful dried edible flowers adorn the aspect of the glass holding the Peach Please (Tito’s vodka, Champagne, peach nectar and orange juice). Wine shouldn’t be a featured participant at Miss Toya’s. Eleven wines can be found by the glass ($9 to $11) or the bottle (most round $35).
Service: Keen however may very well be extra attentive and arranged.
David Hagedorn is the restaurant critic for Bethesda Journal.
This story seems within the November/December 2022 subject of Bethesda Journal.