Monday, May 13, 2013

A Quick Restaurant Review - Georgia Brown's

The DC Stories #2
I went, I ate, I drank, and somebody even got married. Well, that part was kinda planned, but eating this good wasn't. I mean the point of your average fast food chain is no matter where you are, you know what you're getting. But then with that attitude, you miss so much.

The city of Washington has all the makings of a mecca of culinary artistry, as it hosts so many different nationalities with various embassies and missions that dot the city. That said, after waking and eating early, driving to Hartsfield-Jackson, parking in economy parking and walking the mile or so to the terminal on my bad ankle, realizing that everything inside the airport was insanely overpriced, flying, and waiting for my brother to procure the rental introduction to the local cuisine could have been a Burger King for all I cared. I was hungry.

Luckily my sad introduction to vast array of options was foiled by my brother's, long time companion? I think of her as my unofficial sister-in-law, but here... I've referred to her as previously by my brother's old nickname for her, Sal.  Well, she had been directed to try a particular haunt upon arrival because it was a can't miss. And since I was traveling solo, and they were nice enough to invite me along. Not that the deli on the corner looked bad. After a quick consultation of Google maps and adventurous driving we were on our way to Georgia Brown's, a upscale joint on 15th St. just North of the White House.

Note: The official name is Georgia Brown's Low Country Cuisine. So, technically this is the food of South Carolina. I did not know this when I arrived. I went to DC to eat food my mom makes. Oh, you fate.

The interior of GB's reminded me oddly, of the old Justin's in Atlanta, but with a lower ceiling. Similar layout - Bar up front to the right, dining room to the left, and at roughly 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon the bar packed with customers dressed casually. I half expected to look over and see some people I knew then feel obligated to go over to apologize for not joining them. It's what I guess you would call "city big", as it was still a small space but very nicely appointed. All various tones of muted browns, with a large poster of Obama and MLK right by the hostess podium.

The dining room by contrast was, er...quiet? No, empty, yes, that would be the more correct term. Empty. It was very well appointed, with a huge metal sculpture intended to remind you of being under and oak tree suspended from the ceiling and lots of light, with the tables the "just a little too close together" feel that all good restaurants have. You, know, that pushed in one table too many because of the crowds feel. Now, to be fair, the room was starting to fill in when we finished, so maybe the dinner hour is different in this region of the country. Or we just got there early. 

As an appetizer, we split the bread plate. Now, let me say this, I could have gone there, gotten two or three plates of the bread and gone home. They're apparently famous for their cornbread, which comes in skinny loaves with warm butter. And they earned that reputation because fresh from the oven the cornbread is a hot devisement of perfection, with just a hint of sweetness from the butter. 

Now, If I remember correctly, Sal got the Amish Chicken with Mac and Cheese (wait, there are Amish in SC?), my brother got the huge Cowboy steak they had as a daily special and I settled on the Southern Fried Chicken, which came with collard greens and mashed potatoes. The food was good, the chicken cooked in what I assume were quarters and fried crisply without drying it out. Now, this isn't health food, as the gravy, mashed potatoes and greens were delicious...and health food ain't delicious. My brother loved his steak, which was supposed to be eighteen ounces and it looked cooked perfectly.  The service was attentive but not overly so, and when they offered for coffee afterwards it didn't feel overbearing.

I may not have mentioned it, but Sal was instrumental in getting me my current "gig", interning at the Fulton County Courthouse. We talked about the my experience so far, and caught up, as although my brother and I talk often we don't see each other regularly. Well, we didn't talk that much, the food was good and they were hungry too. It was a good finish to a long day. Well, not really, we went out later that evening, in and out of DC and all that, but had we called it a night there I wouldn't have been mad at all. Next time I'm in DC, I think I know where me and Sporty are going!

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