The chef worked tirelessly to bring a beloved delicacy from his hometown, the red prawn, to the US and serve them at this Washington, DC restaurant, Xiquet
Spanish chef Danny Lledó set out on an important gastronomic mission in recent years: to bring the red prawn from Dénia, his hometown on the Valencian coast, to America.
This would be no easy feat. This delicacy, which can sell for 40 euros a piece in Spain, is not easily exported. But Danny sure tried. In the US, he worked at several renowned restaurants owned by José Andrés, among them Jaleo and Minibar. Regardless of his efforts, he could never convince his bosses to include Dénia prawns on the menu.
In 2019, he eventually owned his own locale in the US: Slate Wine Bar, in Washington, DC. One year later he opened a Valencian restaurant right above it called Xiquet. However, bringing the prawns over was more complicated than he had imagined. First it was hard to find the right importer, and then the prawns were unavailable due to their extremely high cost. But Danny didn't give up, and the first shipment finally arrived in May of 2021.
Initially, he added them to the tasting menu for free, eager for US customers to try these “red jewels.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, his diners loved them, as did inspectors from the Michelin Guide, who gave him his first star that year. Danny feels both fortunate and proud to be able to share the red prawns from his hometown with people in the US. Today, Xiquet is still the only restaurant in America to serve them.