Food

100 Best Restaurants 2009: Art and Soul

No. 77: Art and Soul

Cuisine: Upmarket Southern—rich, rootsy cooking that aims to leave you feeling unburdened.

Mood: Hotel dining can be a generic, impersonal experience. Not here. Odd touches abound (the variety of light fixtures suggests a lamp store), but austerity gives ground to fun, nowhere more so than in the funky black-and-red color scheme—a provocation in tradition-bound Capitol Hill. Politicos crowd the bar, nursing bourbons and cackling over the misdeeds of their associates.

Best for: A relaxed lunch or dinner.

Best dishes: Soulful versions of she-crab soup and Brunswick stew; Chesapeake Bay fry basket, an assortment of assertively seasoned clams, shrimp, oysters, and squid; hoe cakes, neither too upscale nor too down-home; arugula salad with blackberry vinaigrette; brined, double-cut pork chop with redeye gravy; seared grouper filet in carrot-cider broth; mini-cupcakes.

Insider tips: The restaurant is offering a three-course “filibuster buster” lunch for $24 along with a promise: Diners will get their bill and dessert within 45 minutes of being seated.

Service:••

Open Monday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Expensive.

>> See all 100 Best Restaurants 

Don’t Miss Another New Restaurant—Get Our Food Newsletter

The latest in Washington’s food and drink scene.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.