Dishing on Succotash at the National Harbor

Here’s the dish! Earlier this month, I visited Succotash at the National Harbor (located at 186 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745). I’ve lived in Southeast D.C. for a little over a year, and I’ll admit that I don’t frequent the National Harbor as often as I should. A MeetUp.com group I’m a member of sent out a meet up for lunch there on Veteran’s Day (since so many federal workers have the day off), so when a friend from college who recently relocated back to the area wanted to catch up, I suggested Succotash. A collaboration between five-time James Beard Award nominee Edward Lee (from Bravo’s Top Chef and PBS’s The Mind of a Chef) and Knead Hospitality + Design, Succotash is fairly new to the National Harbor, opening only a few months ago. I was pleased to learn from the hostess, Deborah, that the weekend we visited was the first time they seated for brunch. As their website describes, “[Chef] Lee brings his Korean roots and Southern repertoire to a soulful Southern menu,” so I was excited see what culinary creations were in store for us.

My first impression of the restaurant was a good one; I loved the atmosphere they set the moment you walk in the door. It’s beautifully decorated with detailed wood work and some of the most beautiful wrought iron work I’ve ever seen. I would best describe it as Restoration Hardware meets Bourbon Street. I was ecstatic to find out from the bartender that all of the lighting in the restaurant was actually from Restoration Hardware, so I was spot on. The open-concept coffered ceiling is spectacular and features a floral design in the middle of the restaurant, highlighting a Medieval-inspired chandelier. Breathtakingly beautiful would be the words I’d use to describe it. Our party of five was seated in a cozy circular booth along the back wall of the restaurant, and as a self-proclaimed Southern Belle, I immediately smiled when I spotted the stemless, amber water goblets that reminded me of pieces from my grandmother’s China cabinet.

SuccotashStarters
Clockwise: Weisenberger Mills Skillet Cornbread, Smoked Chicken Wings & Fried Green Tomatoes

We didn’t hesitate jumping into order. After reading the description (simply “Deliciousness”) for the Sticky Bun ($10), we definitely knew we wanted to start our meal off with one. We were a bit disappointed when our server returned to the table to let us know that the Sticky Bun was not actually being served that day, but we didn’t let us get it down for too long. We proceeded to order the Smoked Chicken Wings ($10), which are served with celery slaw and a white barbecue sauce; the Fried Green Tomatoes ($9), served with goat cheese, arugula, and a buttermilk dressing; and the Weisenberger Mills Skillet Cornbread ($9). We went in on those starters like a bunch of savage beasts! I regularly order Fried Green Tomatoes when they’re on a menu, and these are some of the best I’ve ever had. They were fried to perfection, and the accompaniment of the goat cheese and arugula salad took the flavor to a new level. We may or may not have been fork jousting for the last bite. The wings were equally delicious; they had a great smoky flavor, and I had never tried white barbecue sauce before, and it was quite tasty (check out a recipe for it here). I’m generally not a fan of cornbread (I know, revoke my southern card immediately) unless it’s really sweet (like Jiffy sweet), and the skillet cornbread from Succotash is unsweetened. At first bite, I didn’t fancy it, but then we ordered a side of honey and the sopping commenced. If you prefer your cornbread on the sweeter side, I would highly recommend ordering honey with yours.

Our entrees did not disappoint either. I have a thing for a tasty Pimento Cheese Burger ($15), so when I saw it on their menu, I knew immediately I would order it. Succotash serves theirs with some very delicious bacon jam; I could seriously eat it out of a jar with nothing but a spoon and a smile. The pimento cheese itself packed a punch, but it wasn’t overpowering. I wish we would’ve had an extra friend green tomato left over, because that’s the only thing I could think of that would make that burger even more delicious than it already was.  Two people in our party ordered the Fried Chicken & Waffles ($16), an absolute staple in southern cuisine. I love that Succotash serves only dark meat with this dish; dark meat is just more flavorful and juicy, in my opinion, especially when fried. They serve theirs with bourbon maple syrup and top it with shaved Manchego cheese and pickled okra. My friends did mention that the fried chicken could use a bit more seasoning, but it was nothing a little salt couldn’t fix. Overall, they both enjoyed the dish. If you prefer to eat clean, the Dirty Cobb Salad ($15) is absolutely what you shouldn’t order at Succotash (lol). The fried chicken breast is covered in the most delicious spicy and smoky sauce and served alongside bacon, avocado, egg, cornbread croutons, green beans, grape tomatoes, and buttermilk dressing. If you’re going to eat your veggies, this is most certainly the way to go! Baby steps, right?! Lastly, the Pulled Pork Sandwich ($13), served with collard greens and house pickles, was a hit, as well. The pork is dressed with a vinegar-based sauce, so if you fancy a more traditional barbecue sauce (like me), I would recommend ordering a side of the spicy, smoky sauce they use on the Dirty Cobb Salad. It might be a bit more messy, but definitely worth it.

SuccotashFriendsIt’s always great to catch up with friends over a good meal, and Succotash provides the perfect ambiance for a reunion or special event such as an anniversary or birthday. I will definitely be back at lunch or dinner to continue to taste my way through their menu. I’m ecstatic to have found a unique and delicious restaurant so close to my house!

Until next time, folks. Keep dishing!

Dishing on Founding Farmers D.C.

Here’s the dish! Since moving back to D.C. just over two years ago, there are a few restaurants that repeatedly come up when I ask for brunch recommendations. One of those restaurants is Founding Farmers. With more and more people being more conscious about the food they put into their bodies, the farm-to-table concepts have taken off. Founding Farmers is no exception. When a friend invited me to brunch this past Sunday, I happily accepted, but when I found out we were going to Founding Farmers, I flipped!

While we had a 2:00 p.m. reservation, we thought we’d head over to the D.C. location (1924 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006) early to see if we could get a table before then. As we exited the car on 20th Street and rounded the corner, we saw them—the crowd of approximately 20 people waiting for a table (it was worth a shot)!  As we made our way through the revolving door, we entered another crowd of people in the restaurant waiting for a table. This is a great sign of what was to come.

I normally like to explore the decor of the restaurant while I wait to be seated, but there was an overwhelming amount of people waiting, so I just found a seat in the back corner of the lobby and waited patiently with my friend until our table was ready at 2:00 sharp. After being escorted to our cozy upstairs table, we were greeted by our cheerful server, Madison. She immediately informed us that we were dining at the perfect time because we had the option to order from both the brunch and lunch menu.

We took a few moments to peruse the menu and ordered drinks. The Scratch Soda ($5) from the “Farmacy” immediately caught my eye, but I couldn’t decide between the grapefruit and hibiscus flavors (it also comes in orange, lemon-lime, ginger, vanilla, and a seasonal offering), so I asked Madison for a recommendation. She recommended the hibiscus flavor, so I ordered it because I have grown fond of hibiscus thanks to the Spiked Augua Fresca at El Centro D.F.’s bottomless brunch. My friend ordered the Corpse Reviver ($12) with Bombay gin, Kubler absinthe, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and lemon. Neither disappointed. The refreshing Scratch Soda was a nice contrast of sweet and tart, and the Corpse Reviver was “tasty and provided a good balance of Cointreau and gin,” according to my friend.

Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes with herb goat cheese and avocado green goddess

My friend already knew he wanted to start the meal off with some Fried Green Tomatoes ($8) from the lunch menu, so who was I to object? The perfectly fried southern delicacy was served with herb goat cheese and an avocado green goddess for dipping. Then we did something I wouldn’t normally recommend doing when dining with someone—we ordered the same thing—Chicken & Waffles. Now, before you get your panties all in a bunch, there’s a catch—I ordered the lunch version, and he ordered the breakfast version.

The Breakfast Chicken & Waffles ($12) comes with a full waffle, three boneless fried tenders, and eggs cooked any way you like them; white gravy is served on the side. The signature Chicken & Waffles ($16) on the lunch menu is a boneless, batter-dipped thigh and breast, half of a waffle, macaroni and cheese, and choice of a crop side; I ordered the Mint Watermelon with sea salt. Fried chicken and watermelon?! (I know!) They were two very different takes on the same meal, and we enjoyed them both. I was skeptical about the macaroni and cheese at first glance, but was immediately blown away from the blend of seven different cheeses, including white and yellow Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan, Swiss, and Muenster.

At the end of the day, I’m glad I went with the lunch version of the Chicken & Waffles. While I always prefer bone-in over boneless chicken, the serving size of the lunch version was much more generous than the breakfast version, enough to share in fact. I also didn’t mind the smaller version of the waffle. I liked the fact that I could have two other sides with the lunch portion instead.

After all the hype, Founding Farmers did not disappoint. I’ll definitely be back to taste more of what they have to offer.

Until next time, folks. Keep dishing!