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 Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in Raleigh, N.C.

Here’s the dish! This past weekend, I traveled to Raleigh, N.C. for @NaturallyFashionable’s inaugural Blog with Kim Live workshop. There, I would meet up with some of my Blogger Baes from Atlanta—Kay from RunWay with Kay, Lisa from Unapologetically Lisa, and Je’Mia, who will soon be launching her blog about all the happenings in and around Atlanta. I arrived in Raleigh around 6:00 p.m. (right on schedule), and checked into the hotel to get ready for dinner. About 30 minutes into my routine, Kay texted me to let me know they were just leaving Gaffney, S.C. (about 3.5 hours away) and to proceed with dinner sans them. It turns out, they ended up taking the scenic route, which included a stop at an outlet mall (insert strong side eye).

Before we hit the road, I scoured Yelp and sent the ladies four restaurant options to choose from. Of those four options, I asked a previous co-worker, who now lives in Durham, about the choices, and he recommended Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. So I finished getting ready and hit the town for my solo exploration of the city and its food.

When I arrived at Beasley’s (located at 237 S. Wilmington Street, Raleigh, NC 27601), I asked for a table for one. There were no regular tables available, so the host asked me if the community table would be okay. I agreed and found a seat at the long table that stretched from one end of the restaurant to the other. Most would think being surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar city might be a bit overwhelming, but I reveled at the idea of enjoying my dining experience surrounded by people I didn’t know.

After I settled in, I was soon approached by my server for the night, Jeff. As he placed a mason jar full ice cold water down for me, he asked if there was anything else I would like to drink. Because I’m not a big drinker, and many of Beasley’s cocktails contained dark liquor, I opted for a good ol’ fashion Cheerwine. Now some of you might be wondering what Cheerwine is. Contrary to its name, it’s actually a non-alcoholic beverage—a cherry-flavored soda to be exact. Straight out of Salisbury, N.C. and dubbed the “Nectar of North Caroloina,” Cheerwine has been a staple in southern households since its creation in 1917. I don’t drink much sodas these days, but when there’s Cheerwine, I make an exception.

As I waited for Jeff to return with my Cheerwine, I began perusing their menu. Unlike most establishments, Beasley’s doesn’t have regular, hand-held menus. Instead its drink and food menu are etched on the chalkboard-paint-covered walls. I loved this non-traditional approach. I was beginning to notice the small details to set the atmosphere up for an evening of southern hospitality.

When Jeff returned with my Cheerwine, I took a big gulp of it before letting him know I wanted to start with the Fried Shrimp ($9.50), which include eight perfectly fried jumbo shrimp served with a delicious smoky tomato remoulade. Jeff went to put that order in while I continued to ponder over what I would order for dinner.

Beasley’s menu is a la carte—you can order chicken and other hearty entrees, individual sides for $3.50 each, or create your own veggie plate with three sides for $9.50. I ended up ordering a Quarter Fried Chicken ($7.50) with dark meat, Creamed Collard Greens ($3.50), and the Ashe Co. Pimento Mac & Cheese Custard ($3.50).

When I saw Jeff come out of the kitchen with my plate, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. Jeff was nice enough to indulge me and all my questions about my dinner. It turns out that Beasley’s double fries its chicken. They marinate the chicken in a special brine overnight. Then it spends some time hanging out in buttermilk before being dredged in mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. The initial fry is done beforehand in a pressure cooker. Once ordered, they fry it until it’s perfectly crispy and golden brown. Then they drizzle it with Be Blessed Pure Honey, a local honey purveyor. The Ashe Co. Pimento Mac & Cheese was gluttonously delicious. The cheddar used was from yet another purveyor local to North Carolina, and the pimentos added just enough sweetness to take this traditional southern dish to the next level in flavor. And I felt extra special because I was served a corner piece; we all know corner pieces are the best! The meatless Creamed Collard Greens were an interesting twist on one of my favorite southern staples. Braised in apple cider vinegar, Beasley’s adds a béchamel sauce to the greens. It reminded me of the broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole we all grew up with—just with collards. After I asked a few times, Jeff assured me there was no cheese added to the sauce, which was incredible to me because it had such a rich and creamy flavor. Again, putting a special touch on the experience with the little details, Beasley’s served this delicious meal in an aluminum pie tin. I smiled when I realized it because it reminded me of my maternal grandmother, who was one of my first culinary influences.

It turned out that a solo night on the town was just what I needed. I’m glad I ended up at Beasley’s because, even though I was a party of one, I never felt alone. Thanks for showing me your southern hospitality!

Until next time, folks. Keep dishing!