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My First Restaurant Review: Art and Soul (Washington D.C.)

Posted Nov 01 2010 5:00am

On Saturday night, I had the opportunity for a nice dinner with my ENTIRE family. We only have this chance a few times a year, so it was really something special. Since it was such an occasion, I chose a place that had been recommended to me by a few people:

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From the website, the restaurant is described as:

Art and Soul, located in the heart of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, offers guests a chic setting in which to meet and connect, while enjoying “food for the soul” – food made with love and special attention. With celebrated two-time James Beard-Award winning Chef Art Smith as chef/owner, this 221-seat dining destination serves modern, regional cuisine with southern accents.

Named for its nationally renowned chef and the genuine welcoming feeling guests experience when they walk through the doors, the cuisine at this DC restaurant is presented with southern-style hospitality.

This was actually a very odd restaurant choice for me. I am not a huge fan of southern food, except for cornbread and macaroni and cheese. If I I could live healthily off those two foods for my entire life, I totally would.

After looking at the menu , I was instantly intrigued and made a reservation.

We arrived about 40 minutes late, but that is normal for my family. Except for me, we have a terrible sense of time. “On time” means a few minutes late AT LEAST ;)

I will apologize in advance for the terrible photos. The lighting in the restaurant was less than ideal (for pictures at least) and I didn’t want to bust out the flash.

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Bama-dad, Bama-sister, Bama-mama, and Me

When we first arrived at the restaurant, I instantly felt that “homey” feeling. It was rich in southern decor, but it had a modern twist to it. Everyone was VERY nice, including the head chef and owner, which I will get to later.

When we first sat down, we served a basket of cornbread. The cornbread was a little cold, but other than that, it was delicious.

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We had pretty much demolished this basket before I even remembered to get a picture. It was that good!

It was crumbly, sweet, and moist. Delicious, delicious, delicious.

For my next course, I ordered the Capitol Hill Salad with goat cheese instead of bleu cheese. We all know how much I like goat cheese ;)

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Local apples, blue cheese, pecans, apple cider vinaigrette

Again, I started eating before I remembered to take a picture. This is why I am not a food blogger; I have no patience when it comes to taking pictures. I just want to eat!

No shame in that right?

It was one of the most delicious salads I have ever eaten in my life. If it had been made with an apple besides granny smith, it might have taken the number one spot. I hate granny smith apples (along with red and delicious), but that was the only downside of the salad. My dad knows me too well because he ordered extra goat cheese ;)

For my main course, I ordered the herb marinated salmon.

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Cured pork braised kale, sweet potato mash, tomato jam

This was the most delicious piece of Salmon I have ever eaten in my entire life. It was perfectly cooked; it was tender, buttery, and melted in my mouth. My sister thought it was too spicy, but I thought it was perfect. I like a little spice in my life ;)

My dad ordered the Bone-In Prime Ribeye:

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Crisp fingerlings, creamed spinach, black pepper marmalade

My dad says: My bone-in ribeye was cooked perfectly. As I cut into the meat, the juices flowed onto the plate. The presentation of the food was well done. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive.

My sister ordered the Pan Roasted Chicken:

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Confit thigh, squash puree, chard, chanterelle gravy

My sister says: The chicken was well roasted and perfectly seasoned. The squash puree was a wonderful seasonal side-dish, but was a little bland. The arugula salad that I had for my appetizer was my favorite- tart and crisp with a delicious blackberry vinaigrette.

My mom ordered the Blackened Scallops

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(She needs a photography lesson)

Buttermilk mash, collard greens, smoked bacon red eye gravy

My mom says: I had the scallops that came blackened, but I ordered them pan-seared. They were absolutely delicious and melted in my mouth. I haven’t had collard greens more than once or twice in my life, but these were excellent.

During the meal, the head chef and owner of the restaurant came around to see how our meal was going. I mentioned my blog and that I was doing a review. His face instantly lit up and he was nice enough to pose for a picture with me.
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He was seriously one of the nicest guys I have ever have the privilege of meeting. He mentioned that he was running the marathon the next day (after running Chicago two weeks ago!) and that he has recently lost 100 lbs. WOW. He really had me impressed ;)

I really wish that we had more time to talk about running and cooking, but he is a busy man and has a restaurant to run.

With our bellies stuffed and our taste buds satisfied, we headed out.

I hope you guys enjoy my review :)

If I am ever in Washington D.C. again, you better bet that I will be back!

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