100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Vidalia

Vidalia pairs hearty bison short ribs with chanterelles and cornbread purée. Erik Uecke.

Pretzel ice cream is the accessory for finely chopped bison tartare at Jeff Buben’s dining room, now in its 22nd year. But the biggest draws re-main the unfussed-with down-home classics: squares of warm cornbread (good luck resisting any of the bread basket’s temptations), tender-crusted chess pie, and fat shrimp atop creamy grits. The honey-lit, dignified room is a favorite for business dinners and quiet catch-ups. The long bar with its loungey couches is home to a more vibrant scene—each weeknight between 5 and 7, it hosts one of Washington’s best happy hours, with Cheerwine and sweet-tea cocktails and Southern snacks.

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner.

Don’t Miss: Shady Lane salad, with radishes, apricots, and blue cheese; charcuterie board; oyster pan roast; crabcakes; steak-and-blue-cheese salad; mac and cheese; pecan pie.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.