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best soul food in DC?

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  • Mike Oct 10, 2005 09:00 PM
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I've lived here for a year and have yet to find great soul food. Any recommendations?

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  1. So we can cut to the chase, what have you tried?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      And what did you not like about what you tried?
      Is their something specific you are comparing it to?What dishes are you looking for?
      Does it need to be in DC proper, or are you driving?

      1. re: foodgeek

        . . . and have you oohed and aahed?

        1. re: Marty L.

          Or tasted Flavors?

    2. On 8th Street near the Navy Yard. Fried fish and chicken, smothered pork chops, collards. And the best macaroni and cheese in town. Very reasonable prices and the people who work there are really nice.

      Horace & Dickies on H street NE just does takeout, but their 4-piece fish deal is pretty good. Good fried chicken as well. The sides are nothing to talk about.

      I've been to B Smith's and the other upscale soul food place downtown and wouldn't recommend either: unimaginative, oversalted, and overpriced.

      1 Reply
      1. re: WG

        While I have a lot of respect for Johhny Kersey and what he does at Levi's Port Cafe (and I'll continue to eat there when its convenient), I still have to say that Oohs and Aahs is by far the best. My recs are the shrimp, turkey chop, and the beef short ribs. Sit at the counter.

        Fried chicken at Horace and Dickie's is excellent. Tastes like pan-fried.

      2. Torrie's at Wilson's across from Howard U Hospital is a great soul food diner. I like it for breakfast, the fried chicken livers in gravy are delicious. Gets a good post-Church crowd.

        Flavors in Arlington is good, the food is always fresh.

        Levi's Port Cafe in Cap Hill is okay. The real gem is Levi's NC BBQ on Oxon Hill Road. Same owners, but it's a larger cafeteria style place and they're food is sensational. Seriously.

        Ooh and Aah's on U Street is very very very good. That woman can cook. Seems pricey, but you're getting food for days when you eat there. Good greens, good yams.

        1. Has anyone been to Ellington's on Eighth recently? I went quite some time ago, I think not too long after they opened, and also right before they closed for the night. Got a pulled pork sandwich with some mac and cheese and green beans. I knew I wasn't there at the right time (for food anyway) but it held promise.

          1. OK, I'm reviving this thread--what's new? Will be in DC in March.

            10 Replies
            1. re: whs

              For me the only choice is Oohs and Aahs. Four stools in front of a kitchen. A few tables hidden upstairs. The proprietress is from down coast, and her specialties are the grilled shrimp, lemon pepper wings,and broiled crabcake. Sides of greens and rice with gravy. All served in humongous portions in styrofoam clam shell containers. A true hole-in-the-wall but not cheap either. And all of the above will take time as it is cooked to order.

              1. re: Steve

                Thanks Steve. We're staying at the Sofitel on Lafayette Square--how is Georgia Browns? Also, Central Michel Richard got a shout out in DC Chefs magazine for best fried chicken--any thoughts?

                1. re: whs

                  Georgia Brown's is a nice spot. Upscale. You'll eat well without eating great.

                  Central is one heckuva place, one of the best kitchens in DC. Almost all the food there is VERY filling, especially the fried chicken. Great to share. The combo 'faux' gras and duck rillettes are a MUST ORDER. Also very heavy. be careful not to over order here. The mac and cheese is completely sinful. More calories than one should consume in a week. Food here is meant to be shared. One of the few places in DC where it is hard to order wrong, except maybe for the lobster burger.

                  1. re: Steve

                    and in the spirit of update (I did check the dates of posts) Ellington's is no more, Levi's is still here, Central's fried chicken, not Soul food by some definitions, but VERY comforting and good. which works for me. not much right around the Sofitel. Georgia B's has been good, ex SF Mayor Willie Brown used to always go and I loved their she-crab soup, but haven't been in awhile.

                    WHS: are you looking for Southern or Soul? (trying to narrow it down)

                    people are still saying great things about Ooh's and Marvin's (need.to.go.)

                    WHS: where are you coming from? regional perspective can mean so much.

                    1. re: hill food

                      Thanks for the update!

                      I need to get by Flavors for my own update on the place.

                      1. re: hill food

                        Coming from New Hampshire, I'm not too clear on the differences between Southern and Soul... though I have enjoyed Jestine's in Charleston, anything in New Orleans and Edna Lewis' stint at Gage and Tollner in Brooklyn!

                        1. re: whs

                          I should be clearer - lots of places near the Sofitel, just not in the requested category.

                          any opinions out there on Acadiana for Creole/Cajun?

                          1. re: hill food

                            Acadiana is one of the few places that still makes turtle soup, and they make it well. The place is a better deal for lunch. They have a tasty roast beef "debris" po boy and an oyster peacemaker that's cheaper than Johnny's Half Shell and almost as good.

                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              mm debris.

                              1. re: hill food

                                While it is in it's own right a tasty sandwich, please be aware that Acadiana's "debris" is NOT like the original debris from Mother's. It is, rather, a roast beef po boy with a "debris" gravy that doesn't have very much debris in it. Tasty, but nothing like the original.

              2. 15 replies, and NO mention of the Florida Ave Grill !?!?!?

                Horace & Dickies has the best fried fish, IMHO.

                4 Replies
                1. re: baldwinwood

                  Florida Avenue has been hit or miss for me.

                  Now, Wilson's on V Street by Howard University has been bulletproof, particularly the pigs feet ,chitterlings, and liver and onions. And unlike Oohs and Aaahs, their prices are still pretty cheap.

                  1. re: baldwinwood

                    I am a longtime fan of Fla Ave Grill but haven't been back in a while. My last couple of visits were really bad. Many downhill reports. But if you have some recent good news, please share it with us.

                    1. re: Steve

                      I have not been to the Florida Ave Grill in a few years. That really sucks its gone downhill.....

                      1. re: baldwinwood

                        Florida Avenue Grill for the ham hocks, greens and sweet potatoes. I was there summer of 2008. As good as ever. Oohs and Ahhs doesn't have pork. How can you have soul food without pork?

                        I like Bubba Mascogee's on Rhode Island Ave. for the fried chicken and desserts...

                  2. Go to the church on 6th NW- daddy grace's church - the cafeteria has the best soul food. Take the Mt Vernon metro. When you get there, you will will understand.

                    And go to Suitland, MD - Food for Life 4929 Suitland Road. Get the fish, the lemon cake, the greens, the navy bean soup (OMG), etc.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: 2cooks5eaters

                      is that the basement joint near Judiciary Square? found that place on jury duty once.

                      1. re: hill food

                        I do not believe it is that close to JS. Here is the formal name and address. I always take the metro to Mt Vernon Square and it's about 1/2 block over.
                        Saint's Paradise Cafeteria
                        601 M St NW #A, Washington 20001
                        (At 6th St NW)
                        Let me know what you think.

                        1. re: 2cooks5eaters

                          Saint's Paradise is cafeteria-style steam table stuff. Fairly institutional in quality. I used to like it, but the more things I tried the worse it go. if you go, I recommend the turkey wings.

                          1. re: Steve

                            There's a great feel to institutionalized food, too. Looking forward to trying the place out.

                          2. re: 2cooks5eaters

                            yeah I don't think that's the same place I think the one I'm thinking of is more around H.