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Grits?

I'm a sucker for good grits. The best I've yet encountered were at a brunch spot called Sunday's in Midlothian, south of Richmond. They served up some mean cheese grits when I went (mildly garlicky with a blend of cheeses and heavy cream, spiced up with black pepper and a touch of cayenne). Looking for a good source a little closer to home, though; Arlington/DC/PG/Montgomery/Southern MD. I get around.

Can anybody suggest a breakfast joint known for good grits? Or any other spot known for creative execution?

As reference, I've had decent cheese grits at Luna Grill in Shirlington (very smooth & cream cheesy) and locavore vogue grits at Food Matters in Alexandria (very coarse yellow meal grits with a mild bite of pepper, though a touch bland). Carlyle, near Luna, also served up some tasty grits as part of a dinner plate (creamy grits formed into a brick and given a pan-seared crust; tasty, though a little too pricey for a frequent fix).

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  1. Blue Duck Tavern has the best I have had in this area, not a cheap restaurant, but if you go the grits are great, I don't know if they have them for brunch, I have them as a side with dinner. The grits at Tallula/Eat Bar are good cheese grits too, they have them for brunch at Tallula, and dinner at Eat Bar.

    1. Georgia Brown's popular brunch buffet offers up some delicious grits....among other yummy and fattening Southern foods.

      1. Del Merei Grille on the outskirts of Del Ray have fantastic garlic cheese grits. They are available in both the bar and restaurant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sam21479

          Finally tried Del Merei for the first time. I agree. Their garlic cheese grits are delicious, with just enough bite to make them interesting. The tastes of shrimp & grits I stole off my girlfriend's plate were excellent. Though without the shrimp dish's sauce my own side dish of grits was a bit too firm for my taste.

          I'll certainly be back.

          A note on Food Matters: Their simple grits aren't as mouth-watering a notion as Miss Shirley's (time to travel), but I think I might be a convert to the larger grain coarse yellow cornmeal. On one return trip the grits were a perfectly salt-and-pepper seasoned approximation of risotto, and even the less accomplished batches have made for great Georgia ice cream.

          1. re: Scriever

            just got some bob's red mill yellow polenta -- also billed on the label as grits. may fit your craving for the coarser, yellow ice cream. got it at harris teeter.

        2. Southside 815 has cheese grits that are usually very good.

          Burger Delite, a small breakfast and lunch spot on Picket St. in Alexandria, has good basic grits.

          And I've actually had good grits at IHOP, I kid you not. But of course I butter and salt them to my taste.

          6 Replies
          1. re: EatOrGoToYourRoom

            Well, that's most of the fun of grits, isn't it? If you can't doctor them up to your liking, whether they be of the sweet or savory variety, it's no fun for me. While I appreciate a great grits dish straight from the kitchen, I much prefer to get a breakfast plate with eggs over easy, bacon & grits and make my own delicious mashed up plate. I could recommend some great jalapeno, smoked gouda & bacon grits here in Baltimore, but I don't know of anywhere down in DC.

            1. re: rpb

              Wow. Please tell me more. I like Baltimore.

              Sweet grits? Sounds like anathema, though I've heard rumor that northeasterners take 'em sweet. The closest I've tried was a pretty horrible grit-like experience in Ohio. Apparently "fried mush" is the thing there. It's some strange corn log that's basically veggie scrapple, squeezed out of a sausage tube and fried in what is presumably its own grease then served with maple syrup.

              Bleah.

              I can see the appeal of IHOP. Well-made diner grits dolled up with a little salt, pepper and butter and topped with an over easy egg makes for happy road food.

              1. re: Scriever

                In Baltimore I recommend either Paper Moon Diner, which is up around 29th St, or Metropolitan, which is on S. Charles St and should be re-opening very soon.

                1. re: igrowveggies

                  For the best grits in Baltimore, I vote for Miss Shirley's on Cold Spring Lane. Their Savory Grits with heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, chives, applewood-smoked bacon & tomatoes is to die for. Which, incidentally, you probably would if you ate it on a regular basis.

                  1. re: ILoveBacon

                    My DH would definitely second this recommendation! he loves the grists at Miss Shirley's - we just have to make sure we don't go there too often ;)

            2. You might try Old Hickory Grille in Loehman's Plaza on Arlington Blvd in Falls Church. A friend who grew up in Charleston S.C. swears by them. I think they're good, but then I'm from Indiana.

              I don't think they are open for breakfast, though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bacchante

                I second Old Hickory Grille. Great stoneground grits.

              2. You can get a plate of em with vanilla molasses and Benton bacon bits for $12 at Art and Soul. I've never tried them and probably never will.

                http://www.artandsouldc.com/breakfast...

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                Art & Soul
                225 Pennsylvania Ave SE # 1, Washington, DC

                1. I like the grits at OpenCity in Cleveland Park. They have a great breakfast/brunch menu!

                  Although, the best grits I've ever had is at a place called 'Egg' in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yes, Brooklyn...they also have great candied bacon!

                  1. I like my grits plain and un-adorned. I usually have good luck with Waffle House. Any Waffle House. I like the shrimp grits at Georgia Brown, but 15 bucks is a little steep for a dab of grits and a few shrimp.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      I agree. For me, the gussied up stuff with cheese and garlic is overkill.

                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                        I'm always seeing shrimp and grits being sold as a dab of grits and a few shrimp, maybe some pretentious sauce as well. Does anybody around here just take cold grits, cut them into triangles, and deep fry them? That's how I've always had shrimp and grits; I love the crispy grit crust and the smooth warm center. It's the same way I like my scrapple.

                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          Closest I've seen to that is at Coastal Flats. I don't know that I've ever had "authentic" shrimp and grits, but the Coastal Flats version is amazing.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            Sounds like how I like my polenta, which is basically the same thing [mamaliga, mmm]

                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              my mom does that, but uses a glass to form the cold grits so the roll can be sliced in rounds, then pan-fried in bacon grease. the fried grits patties are even better than the hot grits the first time around, fo-shizzle!

                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                You bet. Fried in bacon or ham grease. Another excellent variation on the shrimp-for-breakfast theme is the shrimp and scrambled eggs at Joe's Noodle House. Not sure what they might do with grits, but I bet it would be delicious.

                              2. re: flavrmeistr

                                waffle house does have good grits -- with texture. tried to buy some in bulk from a wh once -- they wouldn't sell me any. ;-(

                                too bad there aren't any waffle houses close by. it is always a little head trip to go in any one of them. for a chain, i have never seen so much "local color" in each unique location. each is a little microcosm of the community -- quite interesting as you travel south on 95 from here to florida!

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  We are blessed with 3 Waffle Houses in Frederick, MD. One features a burly transvestite night manager named Charlene, who keeps the kids at the grill on their toes. Charlene hails from (where else?) Baltimore.

                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                    that is too funny. you know, i am going to start a thread about the waffle house "characters"!!