Saturday, March 9, 2013

DC Spotlight: A Taste of the South at Eatonville

Having recently traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Columbia, South Carolina, I've been longing for my next fix of Southern cuisine.  Fortunately, Eatonville, right here in DC, is just what the doctor ordered.  

Eatonville not only serves a number of Southern classics, but its menu, which seems to change seasonally, clearly identifies a number of vegetarian and vegan items, including vegan gumbo, fried green tomatoes, and Cajun mushroom loaf.  It also offers a number of tofu dishes and locally grown vegetable sides.  Some of my favorite items are pictured below.

Honey-cornbread muffins

Fried green tomatoes, served with avocado and micro-greens salad, basil oil, saffron aioli

Grilled tofu and avocado salad with arugula, shitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, and apple-cider vinaigrette

Eatonville, named after author Zora Neal Hurston's hometown in Florida, is located in a spacious and colorful building on 14th Street, just north of U Street neighborhood.  Not by coincidence, it is located directly across the street from its sister restaurant, the very veg-friendly bar/lounge/cafe Busboys and Poets, dedicated to Langston Hughes.  

Eatonville is a fun place that also hosts a number of cultural events and other parties, often with live music.  Because of its festive atmosphere, tasty yet healthy food, and Southern-themed cocktails, it is one of my favorite places to spend holidays and other special occasions (I still have fond memories of the black-eyed pea chowder I had there a couple years ago on New Year's Eve).  It's also excellent for brunch, and, unlike in Birmingham, Alabama, you don't need to worry about whether the biscuits are made with lard (because they aren't)!

UPDATE:  Sadly, Eatonville, which had become one of my favorite restaurants, closed in February 2016 and reopened as Mulebone.  

Eatonville on Urbanspoon