Southside 815

Many patrons with an eye on dinner never get past the bar here. It's one of the liveliest around, with lots of people, plenty of television sets, and 18 draft beers. The food of the American South, particularly Louisiana, is the theme, and the kitchen pulls it off with gusto. To get you in the mood, the dining room has the aura of a Bourbon Street bordello.

A bread basket of plain and sweet-potato biscuits and cornbread greets diners. Start a meal with fried green tomatoes with rémoulade sauce, minced crab-and-corn fritters rolled in a batter, or deep-fried chicken strips with rémoulade sauce. Good main courses are blackened catfish, chicken-fried steak, Charleston chicken with shrimp, kielbasa, corn, and shallots sautéed in sherry butter, and Low Country Shortcake–roast chicken, oysters, and mashed potatoes layered with cornbread and coated with gravy.

Some of the clientele gravitates to the Sunday brunch, where the likes of pecan pancakes, Down Under French toast, and Southern Benedict–poached eggs over cornbread flooded with tasso-ham-studded hollandaise–inaugurate the day of rest.

Southside 815, 815 S. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-836-6222.