DC Restaurant Week is losing a bit of excitement for me. When I was new to the city several years ago, the prospect of trying out restaurants outside of my price range was pretty appealing. I liked getting dressed up, trekking to different parts of the city, and splurging a little. As the years have worn on and my opportunity to patronize "fancy" restaurants regularly has increased, the prices have gone up and reports of mediocre food and service abound, so the week doesn't hold quite the same appeal.
That said, Restaurant Week fatigue or not, any excuse to leave work for a few hours for a lingering August lunch is one I will always jump at! After becoming a little bit smitten with his fawning attitude and delicious southern food through Top Chef Masters, my boyfriend and I decided to spend our Restaurant Week lunch at Art and Soul, chef Art Smith's restaurant on Capitol Hill.
We settled into a white leather banquette, cozier than it sounds, and dug in to a tiny skillet of pull apart rolls. Dusted with butter and salt and light as a feather, the bread was a wonderful first note to begin our meal. First courses were a Caesar salad, with a fluffy deviled egg on the side, and a creamy baked potato soup. August in DC isn't typically "soup weather" but this was the best course of the day. The soup was pureed smooth, and filled with big hunks of smoky bacon. Too bad licking the bowl is generally frowned upon!
For the main part of our meal, I enjoyed the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and my boyfriend, who misses his time in the South desperately, opted for the catfish with crawfish etoufee. Both entrees were tasty and well executed- but a bit of a letdown after the delicious soup. We finished our meal with two satisfying desserts - a seasonal peach crumble and a decadent chocolate cheesecake. Both came in relatively small portions, which was exactly what we were looking for at this point of the meal.
We emerged from the dark, sultry Capitol Hill Liaison Hotel into the bight afternoon sunshine and went our separate ways back to work, filled to the brim with Chef Smith's southern food, with just a touch of soul.