100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 35 Gypsy Soul

Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The glorified shopping mall that is the Mosaic district is slick, the space is slick, and the patrons, well, they can be pretty slick, too. But lordy, the plates coming out of RJ Cooper’s gleaming open kitchen—fronted by leather Harley-style seats—are as soulful as any roadside diner’s. Only infinitely more care is shown in the shopping, and there is more precision on the plate.

The cooking isn’t Southern exactly; no Southerner would dare put bone marrow and squid ink on the plate. The South is an inspiration, and Cooper sets about bridging old and new into something that feels familiar . . . until it doesn’t. And, just as often (and much more interestingly), taking the unfamiliar and making it comforting.

Bryan Tetorakis whips up the cocktails and is one of the masters of the form. He can wow you with a standard or a newfangled concoction and can even make you lust after one of his nonalcoholic drinks.

Don’t miss:

  • Fried chicken skins
  • Deviled eggs
  • Pimiento cheese with crackers
  • Swordfish with tasso ham and crawfish
  • Oyster stew; shrimp ’n’ grits; chicken-fried quail with grits
  • Crabcakes
  • Creamed corn
  • Chocolate/peanut-butter mousse

Try Gypsy Soul’s Chef Recipes

Gypsy Soul’s Pimiento Cheese

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.