Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Nouveau Soul Food and Cajun: The Good from the Bad
With so many new "Cajun"and "soul food" restaurants opening up I thought it would be helpful to distinguish the good from the bad and give you the low down on my picks for the best southern and Cajun food in the city.
Last week I had dinner at the newly opened Cajun Experience in Adam's Morgan. I'm a big fan of their fried okra, crawfish mac-n-cheese and crawfish etouffee. Being in the Adam's Morgan/U Street corridor is tough, so I'll be happy to see how the restaurant progresses and keeps us coming back for more in the next months. And since their owners are actually from Louisiana (that state where it all began) they at least have authentic street cred behind their dishes.
Acadiana has been a favorite for a few years, but paying $25 for a Cajun entree just doesn't turn my stomach the right way. Maybe that's just the Southern girl in me. Nevertheless, they have excellent sides and I actually like to order those as my meal. You can order the collard greens with bacon, creamed spinach, jalapeno cheese grits and red beans and rice for $6 each.
I'm still a fan of the hole-in-the-wall joint on 17th and U Street, Henry's. It's been a staple in D.C. for 30 years and their salmon cakes, okra, mac-n-cheese and greens are on point. And where else can you grab to-go for less than $10 and have enough food to last you for two meals.
Alot of folks laud Georgia Brown's near the White House for Southern cuisine. I personally am not a fan, but if you want to pay for overpriced "nouveau" soul food and have a pretty happening Sunday jazz brunch then this is your place. GB's is actually the sister restaurant of J.Paul's, Paolo's , Old Glory and Third Edition (none of which I'm a fan of so I think you get my point).
Eatonville on V and 14th, while also "nouveau" has excellent fried green tomatoes and I love the artistic flare throughout the restaurant. On a nice summer day you can snag a seat on the patio and people watch Marvin and Creme are hands down the best chicken-n-waffles in the city and continuously packed for brunch. I've also heard Ohhhs-n-Ahhs on U. Street is good, but neither confirm nor deny this. Have any other spots to suggest? Shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org