The Needle: July 2011
Reviewed By Kate Nerenberg
Comments () | Published July 1, 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.

When this Mandarin Oriental hotel restaurant opened in 2009, it was billed as Eric Ziebold’s venture into down-home Southern cooking—a departure from the complex sauces at CityZen, his other kitchen. He installed chef de cuisine Rachael Harriman to oversee production of the fluffy biscuits and crackly fried chicken. Harriman left in February, and in her wake is a watered-down menu. Once-dreamy hushpuppies recently arrived over-fried, slices of duck were gray, and coconut cake was dry. Even the best dishes of the meal—steamed clams in white wine, grilled oysters with a vinegar-bacon sauce, and brick-grilled chicken—were unmemorable.

This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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