From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants
THE SCENE. Neighborhood regulars and tourists alike flock to this lively Adams Morgan restaurant, which is named in honor of a steak-and-tamales joint in chef/owner Ann Cashion's native Mississippi but hums with quiet sophistication and poise. Small wonder the restaurant is usually booked and the bar filled with patrons waiting for tables.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. Cashion's soulful cooking is the main attraction, but the dining room, with black-and-white family portraits on the walls, has an appealing, homey atmosphere. Co-owner John Fulchino has assembled an impressive wine list with unusual selections and moderate prices.
WHAT YOU WON'T. The small size of the dining room, the closely spaced tables, and the noise make some diners feel claustrophobic. And the kitchen appears to have settled into a comfy sense of routine these days. That and the seldom-changing menu can make for cooking that sometimes feels as vital and in-the-moment as a greatest-hits medley in concert.
BEST DISHES. One of the best New Orleans-style gumbos in the area, dark and full of flavor; house-made charcuterie, perhaps a terrine of pork and veal, rabbit-liver mousse, and pork rillettes; a superb potatoes Anna; a fritto misto of seafood; a whole dorade with a chili lime dipping sauce.