100 Best Restaurants 2010: Art and Soul

No. 88: Art and Soul

Cuisine: Chicago celebrity chef Art Smith—formerly of Oprah Winfrey’s home kitchen—and his local deputy, Travis Timberlake, serve up feel-good food. Their renditions of classic Southern fare are both gussied up (an oyster po’ boy turned into a hoecake) and faithful (simple fried chicken with white gravy).

Mood: It might look like a retro-chandeliered hotel restaurant (and you’ll see many a rolling suitcase) but looming portraits of Martin Luther King Jr. and Dwight Eisenhower—and perhaps a Nancy Pelosi sighting—remind you that you’re dining just steps from the seat of power.

Best for: A crowd-pleasing dinner with a big group; a gut-busting power lunch; snacking at the bar; weekend brunch (oh, the lemon pancakes).

Best dishes: Chesapeake Bay fry, a Southern take on fritto misto with oysters, hushpuppies, okra, and shrimp; arugula salad with blackberry vinaigrette and watermelon pickles; hoecakes (pancake-like rounds made with cornmeal) topped with either fried oysters and rémoulade, apples and blue cheese, or pulled pork and slaw; a wedge of buttery-crusted onion pie slathered with goat cheese; lunchtime fried chicken, boneless and wonderfully juicy; pecan-crusted chicken; crisply fried trout drizzled with rhubarb vinaigrette; spiced quince trifle; “baby cakes,” an ever-changing quintet of mini cupcakes.

Insider tips: A budget-friendly Sunday supper features the fried chicken plus two sides for $18.

Service: ••½

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


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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.