Thursday, December 3, 2009

art & soul

art & soul
415 new jersey ave NW, washington, DC 20050
tel: 202) 393-7777
hours: monday-thursday 6:30am-10:30pm, friday-saturday 7:30am-11pm, sunday 7:30am-10pm
what was consumed: sunday brunch - chesapeake benedict (jumbo lump crabcakes, tasso ham hollandaise, skillet potatoes), picnic basket hoecake (pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw, “corn on the cob”), po' oyster hoecake (fried oysters, chow-chow remoulade, romaine), capitol hill salad (local apples, blue cheese, pecans, apple cider vinaigrette)
hotel bars, hotel restaurants ... it isn't until very recently that i've recognized the availability of great eats affiliated with hotels. that isn't to say that i haven't eaten at hotel restaurants in the past and i haven't had great food - i just didn't really think about it much. but visiting places like 'art and soul' is quickly changing my mind.
i first heard about 'art and soul' from my summer roommate (thanks, teresa!). she met up with a friend of hers here and told me about her great experience soon after. so, when ines and i were thinking about a nice place to check out for brunch, art and soul came to mind. what's more, we were delighted to find that art and soul has quite a bit of outdoor seating - perfect for that gorgeous sunday (gawd, i'm turning into a washingtonian as i look forward to (and maybe excitedly freak out about) the nice days where outdoor seating is desirable. that hardly used to be the case in the past. oh well~).
we were seated outside (by a sort of rude hostess who was condescending and not at all friendly - not good characteristics for people in the service industry) and we quickly began to scan the menu with what we wanted to eat. what to have, what to have! i had heard about their hoecakes, but was pleasantly surprised with all of the other options presented to me for brunch. ines chose a hoecake for herself and i proceeded to order 3 dishes (a hoecake for me, crabcakes, and salad, the last two for sharing, of course). i just couldn't decide!
once we put in our order, the food began to come out, in a pretty quick manner. first was a delightful cinnamon roll, of sorts. it was baked in a sort of cast iron and placed onto a plate (for consumption and presentation, i guess?) at our table. the soft and warm bread/bun, the flavorful but not overwhelming tastes of cinnamon, and just a bit of sweetness (from some fruit ... maybe apples?) instead of the more popularly appearing slather of frosting/sugar was a great way to begin the meal (and totally unexpected! that is, i didn't know that it was going to enjoy it. additionally, as one who is less of a fan of sweet things and bread, i would totally go back for this, among other things of course). along with the roll, we enjoyed some salad (so fresh! sweet and savory at the same time. the blue cheese was a bit much, but that's also because i prefer other crumbly cheeses on my salads) and crab cakes (the crab cakes were small, but i'm a sucker for them. the cakes with the eggs benedict? one of my favorite brunch menu options. i'm not a fan of hollandaise (i know, i know), so i could've done without it. no matter - delicious). oh, and the skillet potatoes that came with the crab cakes were really yummy - country fried style sauteed with other vegetables, seasoned well. no need for ketchup (though, there is hardly ever a reason for ketchup, imo - haha). yum yum yum yum yum!
the hoecakes, though, were definitely the highlight of the meal. hoecakes are these flat, 2"x4"-ish corn meal cakes that come in different "flavors" that get its name because they, supposedly, were cooked on the blades of hoes in times past - point is, SO delicious. i ordered the hoecake version of an oyster po' boy - delicious and lightly fried oysters, crispy lettuce, and a special dressing (i probably would get the dressing on the side and while that would probably take away from the "integrity" of the dish, i just don't like that much dressing. but that's just me). ines ordered the "picnic basket" hoecake with pulled pork, cole slaw, and beans on top of the hoecake. but when you cut into the hoecake and place all of the flavors in your mouth, it will remind you of a southern-style bbq cook-out. DELICIOUS.
writing about the food is (per usual) making my stomach growl. grrrrr~~~
if there was a downside to the dining experience, i'd have to say that i had a hard time getting the attention of my server (oh, and the hostess, which was mentioned earlier). when he was around, he was great! but then he would disappear. i was thinking it was because there were a lot of people, but that wasn't the case (on top of that, there were quite a few individuals "on staff" bussing tables, running food, etc.). i admit, though, that i was in a bit of a hurry towards the end of the meal, so my thoughts were probably heightened. but still! no matter - this is not going to deter me from making efforts to visit around and soul again and telling people to try it out (hopefully with me! can't wait ^_^). YUM.

No comments: