I love Southern food. Not the Paula Deen butter-laden mess, but real, made-with-love Southern goodness. Eatonville, north of U St, is all about just that. Fried chicken, bourbon BBQ and catfish and grits can be found on their lunch/dinner menu, and the brunch options are just as Southern.
We decided to check it out the Sunday after New Year’s. When we arrived around 11:30, the place was nearly empty, but within 30 minutes every table was full and there was a lot of excited chatter filling the room. The interior is eclectic–murals painted on the wall, deep colors, thick columns and huge chandeliers–and there’s a large bar in the back corner. I loved the details like drinks served in Mason jars. I imagine it’d be a good dinner/drinks destination as well.
On to the food. We started with specialty drinks: the Grown and Sexy, which contains vodka, pomegranate juice and lemonade, and a mint julep, the classic Southern spring/summer morning cocktail. Also, an order of biscuits, served with thick strawberry jelly. If you go to Eatonville for one thing, it should be these biscuits. Maybe even order two per person.
For the main meal, we ordered fried green tomatoes served with lump crab and cherry tomatoes. It’s supposed to be topped with hollandaise, but I’m not a huge fan of the stuff, so we asked them to keep that off. The tomatoes were good but somewhat dry without any sauce. It was a little bit reminiscent of the crab tower we ate at the Back Porch in Annapolis, but not as tasty.
We also ordered one of my favorite Southern dishes: shimp and cheese grits. There was a lot more flavor to this, and I preferred it to the tomatoes. The shrimp weren’t peeled, which is always a challenge when they’re covered in sauce. But no fear…I have crazy fast peeling skills no matter the conditions.
All in all, Eatonville was a success. I’d go back and try some of the other menu items (there’s a Vidalia onion tart and almond-crusted “Charleston” toast) and order a pile of biscuits.