Food

100 Best Restaurants 2009: Art and Soul

No. 77: Art and Soul

Cuisine: Upmarket Southern—rich, rootsy cooking that aims to leave you feeling unburdened.

Mood: Hotel dining can be a generic, impersonal experience. Not here. Odd touches abound (the variety of light fixtures suggests a lamp store), but austerity gives ground to fun, nowhere more so than in the funky black-and-red color scheme—a provocation in tradition-bound Capitol Hill. Politicos crowd the bar, nursing bourbons and cackling over the misdeeds of their associates.

Best for: A relaxed lunch or dinner.

Best dishes: Soulful versions of she-crab soup and Brunswick stew; Chesapeake Bay fry basket, an assortment of assertively seasoned clams, shrimp, oysters, and squid; hoe cakes, neither too upscale nor too down-home; arugula salad with blackberry vinaigrette; brined, double-cut pork chop with redeye gravy; seared grouper filet in carrot-cider broth; mini-cupcakes.

Insider tips: The restaurant is offering a three-course “filibuster buster” lunch for $24 along with a promise: Diners will get their bill and dessert within 45 minutes of being seated.

Service:••

Open Monday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Expensive.

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