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Best Southern Home Cooking?

Transplated Texan in NoVA missing my Southern Home Cooking, Seems I am unable to find a place that serves real Southern Food, I have been craving a Real Chicken Fried Steak with real Gravy, Or an Original Open Face Roast Beef Sandwich, smothered in Gravy.

Anyone know of a Place in NoVA or the District to get Real Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy?

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  1. One of the problems may be what you consider Southern isn't exactly what many of us consider Southern because most of us Southern transplants are from the East Coast south. That being said I know Old Hickory Grill in Loehman's plaza in Falls Church has chicken fried steak, but I haven't had it so I can't vouch for authenticity.

    Southside 815 in Alexandria has it on their menu and if anyone did it right, I would think they would, they are my go to place for authentic low country southern, when I am missing that. They have some other good things too get a side of the breadbasket or 815 biscuits, too.

    I don't know about the openface sandwich though.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      I have been to Old Hickory in Falls Church, it is in fact right near my home. I was in the mood for a Real Cheeseburger and well with a Name like Old Hickory Grill you would think they could make one....truth is The Meat wasd over cooked, it was served on a Kaiser Roll with very little in way of toppings...One bad experiance usually turns me away from visiting a place a second time. honestly I have had better burgers from Fuddruckers.

      1. re: GccTxs

        That's why I didn't vouch for authenticity. I have had a couple good things there but it was years ago and I can't remember what they were now.

        Southside 815 normally does Southern well though. They have a low country shortcake I love and their crab biscuits are good and some other stuff. I think they would know how to do real white gravy, which IMHO is the hardest part. Few places make a good brown gravy, even fewer even make a white gravy.

        1. re: GccTxs

          This is the Liability Generation. Burgers are always overcooked. Did you ask for toppings? And what's wrong with a Kaiser roll?

          You can get a good $3 cheeseburger at Five Guys, or a good $15 cheeseburger at a couple of the fancy steak houses. Old Hickory has OK ribs, but since you're from Texas (or anywhere) you'll probably be disappointed with them. This just isn't a chicken fried steak town unless you find someplace that's trying to pretend that they're a Texas roadhouse, and you can probably guess what to expect.

          Try something that we make good 'round these parts, or think Southern like North Carolina or Georgia and have some fried chicken at Flavors.

          1. re: MikeR

            My phrase to get rare hamburgers is to ask them to be "so rare it's alive," and most non-chain places will comply. Or if that sounds too bloody, tell 'em to Pittsburgh it.

        2. re: ktmoomau

          Southside 815 is inconsistent with their CFS, but when it is on, it's great. The white gravy is good too. But at times my steak has come with the breading completely burned and/or steak overcooked and one time they substituted stewed tomatoes for the green beans which sort of threw off the whole plate. I like it with the Mason-Dixon mashed potatoes (sweet and regular together) and always order the breadbasket. I'd try Colorado Kitchen - they've got great grits too.

        3. The new Jackson 20 in Old Town has a decidedly Southern menu. Colorado Kitchen in DC is well loved for Gillian Clark's southern food. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/480957

          Hank's Oyster Bar in DC and Old Town Alexandria offers terrific meat and two meals.
          Georgia Brown's in DC is very southern and well known for Sunday Brunch.

          Silver Diner is a diner chain with lots of outposts in the area. They serve chicken fried steak. I like them although they may vary from location to location-but I've always found them a nice inexpensive diner experience.

          Bob and Edith's diner in Va.


          1. I guess I should also note if you want more East Coast Southern food the U St corridor has many more options on that high end and low end. Also Levi's Port Cafe has some good southern faves. Again though most of them don't have websites though so I don't know about the chicken fried steak or open face sandwich.

            1. Jimmy's in Herndon has a good open face sandwich with gravy. I want to say that Amphora does as well, though that'll probably be pretty bland.

              I know I saw a chicken fried steak option recently but for the life of me I can't remember where (been thinking on it for about two hours now). If it comes to me I'll repost.

              1. I have no idea where you can get chicken fried steak (possibly at The Diner in Adams Morgan?) but that picture is a thing of beauty!!!

                1. Warning: most places that claim to serve CFS around DC never get the white peppercorn gravy right. They usually use something yellow and chicken-flavored that comes out of a jar. That's the case with Tastee Diner, and why I don't go to Elsie's Magic Skillet. Also, diners around DC that do serve CFS usually only do so on weekends. I know that's the case with the Tastee in Bethesda.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    What/where is Elsie's Magic Skillet (great name for a restaurant btw.)?

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      It's an old roadside place off Route 1 half way between Old Town and Mount Vernon. Been around forever, but Elsie sold it recently and the place isn't really the same. Still better than the chain fastfood joints that surround it, though.


                  2. Guess I need to maybe fire up my Cast Iron Skillet, get some Good Cube Steak and start frying huh?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: GccTxs

                      Yes. And if you serve midwestern style breaded pork tenderloin, you'll have the corner on another market (well, Corkie's had them, but they paled in comparison and I'm not sure they're still around).

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        What about that Steak & Eggs of whatever cafe on Washington Blvd. in Arlington near George Mason Road, across from the strip mall with Saran Foods and next to the old Friendly's?

                      2. re: GccTxs

                        Do you use flour and egg or Saltines for your breading?

                      3. I know this might be short notice but CF Folks in Dupont Circle is offering chicken fried steak for lunch today as part of their daily specials. http://www.cffolksrestaurant.com/Dail...

                        I've never had it but most specials at CF Folks are excellent and the real deal so it might be worth checking out.

                        1. Wait a minute- Youre in VIRGINIA. It shouldnt be that hard to find Southern food- since well, its a southern state.

                          Here I reccomend in Northern Virginia trying Kings Street Blues in Arlington. Great food there. Also there a roadhouse type place in Springfield, I cant remember the name but not only does it have great Southern cooking it has live Rockabilly and Country-Rock music. If you want more upscale Southern cuisine, try the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg, VA.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mook1

                            Calling King Street Blues "great" is overselling for sure. I think it's ok bar food, but I've never heard anyone call it great before.

                          2. Sadly, the Black-Eyed Pea has retreated to Texas (and Colorado). I loved their chicken-fried steak and chicken-fried chicken, swimming in peppery cream gravy, which I usually accompanied with fried okra, squash casserole, and green beans liberally doused with sport pepper vinegar.

                            Hope that didn't make you too homesick, pardner. 8<D

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Bob W

                              Sorry for the absence in replying to the thread I started..lol

                              Been buys destroying my Kitchen.

                              Yes the Black Eyed Pea is exactly what i would compare the food type I am seeking, How I do miss it.

                              I have also tried many recommendations from this thread and sadly nothing impresses :O(

                              So Now I cook my own, and I am Now Damn Good at it!

                              Along with Double Battered Southern Style Fried Chicken, I have recently recreated My mothers Homeade Biscuits with crumbled sausage gravy....it is to die for....

                              Pinto Beans with thick slices of Salt Pork and Cornbread

                              (Had mom send me her recipe File Box)

                            2. I forgot to mention CRACKER BARRELL. True- its a chain, but it has all that great Southern cooking. There are several locations in the DC area.

                              Maybe in NOVA they lack Southern food, but come a little further south to Richmond and you'll be right at home. Lots of BBQ, grits, and just good Southern cooking down here. Aunt Sarah's pancake house is another great place- Southern pecan pancakes with grits, virginina ham and fried apples !Northern Virginia used to be a lot more Southern but now its sadly just a bedroom community for Washington DC,

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: mook1

                                WHERE is Cracker Barrel here?? Except for Fredericksburg i can't think of any other place but i don't get to MD very often. Please share where the several locations are in the DC area! i love their grits, chicken & dumplings, collards, etc etc etc...

                                1. re: DCDOLL

                                  I think I've seen one in Dumfries. Not really the DC area, but if you're in the mood for a little road trip, you might consider it.

                                  1. re: DCDOLL

                                    I'm pretty sure there's one in Laurel, at Rt. 198 and 295. Same shopping center as Corridor Liquor. You can have your Cracker Barrel meal and buy some wine.

                                    1. re: DCDOLL

                                      There's a Cracker Barrel in Manassas and TWO in Dumfries, VA.


                                      1. re: mook1

                                        In a recent article in the Student newspaper at UVa, they compared five breakfast places including Aunt Sarah's (a regional chain with eight units), Waffle House, and IHOP. They found nothing to recommend one over the others. There is an Aunt Sarah's off 95 south of DC connected to a Marriott, and it is pretty bad.

                                      2. I forgot also- Country Fried Steak sounds more like "country" cooking to me, than southern. When I think of Southern cooking I think of Virginia Ham, Spoonbread, Brunswick Stew, etc.

                                        And its funny because I never considered Texas the South. To me it was always out west. But I guess some Texans are Southern. To me its been more like a western state than Southern. I know y'all were in the Confederacy .

                                        1. Try out the not so recent Calabash Restaurant in Alexandria down Rt 1. Let us know how you like it.


                                          1. For breakfast, you should try the Florida Avenue Grill. I just took my parents on sunday. My mom is from Kentucky and said that the grits were made the right way. I've had grits at quite a few places in the DC area that for some reason just can't get it right. The biscuits and gravy have a whole lot of flavor. And my dad said that the scapple tasted as close to how his mom made it as he's ever had. I was a little nervous about the scrapple, but it was actually much better than I expected; I might have to get that myself next time. Their virginia ham is really good too. They serve lunch and diner also, but I haven't tried it. I wouldn't be surprised if they did a good chicken fried steak.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jrsmoltz

                                              I second Florida Avenue Grill. Their beef short ribs and fried chicken are SO good. The staff is very friendly. After a few visits, I was honored to be considered a regular and not given a menu. The waitress came asked if I wanted my usual. I was just tickled!