100 Best Restaurants 2009: Vidalia
Comments () | Published February 19, 2009
100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 Happy Hour 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Address: 1990 M St., NW, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-659-1990
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: An example of a traditional Southern meal is deep fried chicken, field peas, turnip greens, cornbread, sweet tea and a dessert that could be a pie (sweet potato, pecan and peach are traditional southern pies), or a cobbler (peach, blackberry or mixed berry are traditional cobblers)., Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 9:30, Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10. Closed on Sundays during the summer, but after Labor Day dinner will be served Sundays 5 to 9.
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut North, Dupont Circle
Price Range: Very expensive
Dress: Business Attire
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Shrimp ā€™nā€™ grits; lemon chess pie; Reuben with pork belly; burger; sweet wreckfish; Dover sole.

No. 7: Vidalia

Lobster, truffles, and foie gras make a luxe trio at Vidalia.

Cuisine: Shrimp ’n’ grits and pecan pie are still on the menu, and the bread basket is the best this side of the Mason-Dixon Line, but calling this a Southern restaurant doesn’t begin to get at the intricacy and imagination of James Beard Award–winning chef R.J. Cooper’s cooking. Masterful French technique, ingredients from around the globe, and a restless need to experiment (last summer he debuted Ritz Cracker ice cream—as a condiment) are all put in the service of rooted, accessible food.

Mood: Convivial yet elegant, the subterranean dining room exudes sophistication and confidence. It can make you feel buoyant even in the depths of winter.

Best for: Sips and nibbles at the bar; a client lunch; a blowout multicourse dinner.

Best dishes: The area’s best mint julep; smoked golden trout with roasted-onion purée and steelhead roe; braised pork cheeks with red cabbage, hot pickle vinaigrette, and cracklings; luxurious pumpkin soup with chestnut-filled agnolotti; shrimp ’n’ grits; a Southern riff on cassoulet, with pork shank, ham hock, pork cheek, and heirloom beans; warm apple-cider doughnuts; signature lemon chess pie.

Insider tips: Happy hour, 5:30 to 7 weekdays, remains the best around for people who like to eat as well as they drink. Cooper’s free hors d’oeuvres are terrific, and you can sample small pours of the restaurant’s exceptional wine list.

Service:*** (three stars).

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner.


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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/19/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews