100 Best Restaurants 2011: Sou'Wester
Comments () | Published January 20, 2011
Happy Hour 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Sou'Wester
Address: 1330 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20024
Phone: 202-787-6868
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill, Southwest/Waterfront, Capitol Hill
Cuisines: Southern, American, Breakfast
Opening Hours: Breakfast Monday through Friday 6:30 to 11:00 AM, Saturday and Sunday 7-11 AM, lunch daily 11:30 to 4, dinner daily 5:30 to 10.
Nearby Metro Stops: Smithsonian, L'Enfant Plaza
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: N/A
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Root-beer float with Jack Daniel’s; crab bisque; corn soup with bacon; oysters with grilled sausage; hushpuppies; veal sweetbreads with grits; fried chicken; porgy with crab imperial; banana cream pie; fried apple pie; vanilla cheesecake.
Price Details: Starters, $7 to $16; main courses, $21to $28.

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Take a boutique-hotel restaurant with modern furniture and over-the-top light fixtures. Add such folksy touches as jars of colorful pickled veggies and rocking chairs This is what resulted when the Mandarin Oriental hotel converted its Asian-fusion dining room into an upscale Southern restaurant.

The menu, overseen by CityZen chef Eric Ziebold and executed by Rachael Harriman, offers precise versions of down-home Southern dishes, such as expertly fried hushpuppies and dark-meat chicken. Chicken and dumplings, on the other hand, lacks enough gravy or dumplings to satisfy.

There’s a lineup of gleefully decadent desserts—banana cream pie, fried apple pie—and inspired cocktails such as a root-beer float made with Jack Daniel’s. If only the battalion of servers felt less stiff. Formality and fried okra don’t quite mix.

Also good: Fried oysters with smoky aïoli; sweetbreads on a bed of grits; corn soup with bacon; the brunch-only crabcake Benedict and doughnuts with maple dip; vanilla cheesecake; a warm, creamy cocktail of vanilla-infused rum and Earl Grey tea.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Moderate to expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/20/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews