Sunday, October 19, 2014

Art and Soul

Art and Soul is located in the Liaison Hotel on New Jersey Ave NW near Union Station in Capitol Hill. This chic restaurant offers guests a 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 up fresh and 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 will be presented with southern-style hospitality. Closest Metro is Union Station.

August 2009: It is Restaurant Week again in the city again and I was very excited to try this place after watching Chef Art on the latest Top Chef Masters series. Our first impression of the décor was that is was way more swanky and modern than expected for a southern/soul food restaurant. They seemed to fit a lot of seats into the rather small dining area and the bar area was also open with room for lounge seating. Our server was very friendly and a great saleswoman (we ordered extra cocktails and side dishes because of her recommendations). 

Fresh skillet biscuits were served - first batch we had was cold but we asked for another and it was piping hot and fresh. Very tasty! The pitcher of Sun Daze – was a light summer drink mixture of citrus vodka, passion fruit juice, lemon juice and fresh blueberries. My only slight criticism was that my salad needed more apples and my dessert was not cheesecake, rather a mousse – yet both still tasty. 

An interesting note was the subdued motif of pickled products, a southern tradition, throughout the restaurant ranging from the “put ups” cocktail and salad to the pickled vegetables and peaches as garnishes in our entrees to the decorative glass jars filled with various pickled goodies that sat on high shelves above the tables. All in all, I really enjoyed my meal and left fully satisfied and happy. Another note is that this restaurant has private dining areas – a possible option for wedding reception venues perhaps? Overall, this celebrity chef did not disappoint and I would definitely recommend it to others and come back again myself.

October 2014:  We finally returned to Art and Soul for Brunch on this chilly Fall day.  The dining room has had a makeover since our first visit 5 years ago, with a more masculine and modern décor.  We ordered mimosas to start, and at $12 a pop, I only had one.  After placing our orders, we nibbled on the complimentary apricot ginger scones, which were amazingly crispy and sweet and addictive.  I must recreate these at home some day.

To share as a starter, we ordered the famed Deviled Eggs.  These can also be found on the Happy Hour menu, and were classic and delicious.  Just the right amount of protein for me to round out all the carbs.

Due to a back-up in the kitchen, our main meals were taking pretty long to come out.  But our server replenished our scones and then treated us to a House Salad.  The mixed greens were fresh and I liked the pretty pink, thinly sliced radish on top.  it gave an extra peppery bite to the greens.

Eventually, a large plate of Lemon Pancakes came out.  I was really craving these fluffy cakes, and though I did not taste any lemon flavor, they were hot and served with maple syrup and whipped butter.  A side of fresh fruit was also on the plate.

Keith ordered the Chicken & Waffles. Buttermilk brined boneless thighs were seasoned with some spicy maple glaze, served over fresh waffles, and topped with pickled peppers.  Naturally, I asked for a bite or two, and loved the crispy crunchy texture of the outside of the chicken, while the inside dark meat was tender and juicy.  I could taste the subtle heat from the peppers, that really jumped on my tongue.  This plate was not only nice to look at, but incredibly flavorful and easy to polish off. 

We had a nice brunch at Art and Soul.  While, the crowd can be a crowded mix mostly of hotel patrons, the decor was pleasant and the staff courteous.  The sound decibel level is quite high, which was a bit offputting at first.  Though our food took a while to come out, I did not mind the wait as everything tasted worthwhile.

Total Rating: 4.33
Food: 4.5, Price: 4 Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5
What Micky Eats...

What I ate:

Capitol Hill Salad
local apples, blue cheese, pecans, apple cider vinaigrette

served with goat cheese drop biscuit, roasted vegetables, chicken gravy

Macaroni Casserole

Chocolate Cheesecake
Served with chocolate sauce and raspberries
Deviled Eggs

House Salad

Lemon Pancakes
maple syrup and whipped butter
fresh fruit

Plus Keith ate:
Baked Potato Soup
Creamy with chunks of bacon

Country Pork Chop

Peach Pecan Crumble
Chicken & Waffles
buttermilk brined boneless thighs, hot maple glaze

Art and Soul on Urbanspoon

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