Where bad for you is good.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 30, 2007
Address: 220 N. Lee St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-535-3340
Neighborhood: Alexandria, Alexandria, Old Town
Cuisines: American
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 AM to 10 PM, Friday 11:30 AM to 11 PM. Open Saturday 10:30 AM to 11 PM, Sunday 10:30 AM to 10 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: King St.
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Fried green tomatoes; fried calamari; fried ravioli; baby back ribs; French fries; Elvis Pie.
Price Details: Dinner starters, $4.95 to $8.50; entrees, $10.95 to $22.95. Lunch entrees, $8.50 to $19.95.
The over-the-top treats at Overwood range from a heap of fried calamari...

Overwood calls itself a “wood-fired American kitchen,” so you’d probably guess that the draw at this brick-lined Old Town dining room would be charred meats and fish crisscrossed with grill marks. You’d guess wrong.

Yes, you’ll see flames in the open kitchen, but it’s the hissing, popping fryer that should get top billing. Here, the bad-for-you eats are what’s best. A nearly half-foot-tall stack of thickly sliced green tomatoes—breaded, fried, and oozing peppery cheese—is finished off with Jackson Pollock–like scribbles of jalapeño aïoli and reduced balsamic vinegar. Simpler but no less tasty is an array of mozzarella-filled ravioli crisped to puffiness in the fryer and paired with chunky tomato sauce. A heap of lightly battered calamari hides frizzles of lemon and red onion.

...to a towering wedge of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana called Elvis Pie. Photographs by Matthew Worden.

Beware when you go beyond the fry basket. There’s hardly any pleasure in a lifeless Caesar salad or a barely dressed heap of arugula with only a few wedges of red and yellow beets and a couple of crumbles of goat cheese. Same goes for a plate of two thin pork chops set atop a mountain of grainy mashed potatoes and served with black beans so runny that they flood the plate. The chops’ salty brine may keep them tender, but it masks any meaty flavor. On a plate of too-bready crab cakes, it’s the boardwalk-style fries that steal the show.

For dessert, go for the Elvis Pie—a towering pileup of chocolate mousse, peanut butter, and bananas on an Oreo crust. It’s giddily over the top, decadent, and delicious. Kind of like those fried green tomatoes.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 10/30/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews