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May 1, 2012 05:59 AM

Oval Room, Vidalia, Proof, Blue Duck Tavern, Acadiana, or somewhere else?

Hi all,

Agenda for DC is 90% set, save for a Friday lunch. Taking my 70+ year old aunt who I've not seen in ~5 years out for lunch and while she would likely be okay with a 'nicer' chain place like Red Lobster, etc. I would not be.

She notably lived relatively close to NOLA prior to her husband's passing a number of years back it as it seems American and 'southern' are the two styles she gravitates to, at least from my limited knowledge, all the spots above came to mind.

From my perusal of the menu I like Oval Room and Vidalia a lot, and the desserts at Blue Duck (plus, obviously the duck confit.) I've been told though that Blue Duck is a better dinner spot and that it is better with a group. Also been told that Vidalia is just 'heavy' these days and lacks some of the finesse it once had.

Thoughts are appreciated.

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  1. You did not mention what area you are in which can be helpful in suggesting. Does she live in the city, or one of the surrounding areas? I ask this because there are so many good Restaurants in the area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: msfrench

      We'll have a car. She lives somewhere near Dupont Circle. The area is irrelevant to me and I'm aware of the DC dining scene having been there before and having a rather detailed agenda for this trip including Birch and Barley, The Source, Palena, Rogue24, Fiola, Elisir, and others.

    2. Vidalia has a really good 3 course pre-fix menu during lunch hours, so that might be something to consider.

      But I really love the food at Acadiana. Your Grandma might like to reminisce about her time in the South with some delicious Cajun cuisine. Also, make sure not to miss their deviled eggs!

      1. Acadiana is good but pales in comparison to what you get in NOLA. Creole cuisine done well is just not something that's easy to find in DC. With that said, if I have a hankering for BBQ Shrimp, Acadiana's version works in a pinch. If you've been to NOLA, you'll notice that everything lacks just a little bit of "oomph" compared to the real thing. They work if you're craving it but you won't mistake it for the real thing.

        I haven't been to Vidalia in years but my understanding is they always do a good job with their classics. You might struggle though since you had RJ Cooper's Vidalia blowout IIRC. In short, if your aunt really knows her Creole cuisine, then Acadiana is an option only if she's craving it and doesn't plan to go to NOLA in the foreseeable future. I'd pick Vidalia over Acadiana. Can't recommend Oval Room (always seemed boring to me although again, I haven't been), Proof (gets decent marks on chowhound) or Blue Duck Tavern (reviews say it has gone downhill) since I haven't been there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: miltronix

          I haven't been to Vidalia since RJ left, but I used to lunch regularly at Acadiana. It's definitely a good lunch spot, but Oval Room and Proof are miles better. I've had some fantastic lunches (and dinners) at Oval Room. I can't say I've had lunch at Proof before, but it's one of my favorite dinner spots in the city. BDT I also don't have recent experience with.

          I don't think you can miss with Oval Room or Proof.

          1. re: DanielK

            In all honesty I went to Vidalia for lunch right before RJ left and though it really changed (for the worse) since the last time I was there. I wasn't planning to go back but a few months after that a friend invited me back for lunch and it was very good. Whoever the new chef is has found his groove and they are putting out some nice dishes.

            1. re: DanielK

              Yea, but this lady would be ok with Red Lobster, so Oval Room or Blue Duck it sounds like she would not appreciate it and frankly might consider $50 for lunch a bit of a waste. That said, Georgia Browns is also quite good (though there is a wide variety of opinion on that) and they have good southern style food. Just a thought.

          2. I am surprised no one mentioned Sou'Wester which has some of the best Southern food in the city right now, and amazing desserts by Matthew Peterson.

            1. georgia browns, and ART AND SOUL! great southern cooking, but pricey, its like fine Southern Cooking.

              for NOLA food, i always thought Louisiana Kitchen in Bethesda was ok

              3 Replies
              1. re: saxman930

                ...has Art Smith ever even walked into Art and Soul?


                1. re: uhockey

                  Yes. I saw him there 2 months ago.

                2. re: saxman930

                  I'm sorry I normally try to not do this anymore, but for some reason my resolve is weak this morning. Neither Art and Soul or Georgia Brown's to me are fine Southern cooking. Georgia Brown is good food, a huge abundance of food. But it's not fine Southern cooking, it's the typical food you could get in the South at most any casual place for much lower prices.

                  Art and Soul is ok, as well. But it isn't outstanding and is very inconsistent. To me there is no art in their food and very little soul. It is fine and there are some good dishes, but it's not on par with Sou'Wester.

                  Sou'Wester is like eating in an upscale restaurant in Charleston. It is modern and inventive while still being excellent and having items that are fun and comforting. Like the only decent hush puppies in the DC Metro area. (Also right now CityZen actually has a lot of Southern Ingedients on the menu.) And you get to have Eddie Moran with the aid of Eric Ziebold and Matthew Peterson. A truly fantastic team of chefs. And the service is what someone of 70 would expect from a nice restaurant.