Friday, June 1, 2012

Eatonville, DC #2

The last time I wrote about Eatonville was during restaurant week many months ago (see my review here). At that time, they had a new chef named "Oji" who was rocking the menu. He offered some vegan options that week that were absolutely delicious, but I never tried the ones he added to the regular menu.

So me and my friend, Pam, headed over to the U Street Corridor restaurant on a Thursday night to check out the menu. Eatonville is a large Southern restaurant owned by Andy Shallal who also owns Busboys and Poets.  It was named for the Florida hometown of a poet, Zora Neale Hurston, which was the country’s first, post-Civil War, African American incorporated town and the focal point in her most famous work, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I've always loved the decor and ambiance at Eatonville. At night, they keep the lighting low, which makes the murals on the wall really jump out. It had been a long week for both of us so we started with some alcoholic drinks -- the Grown and Sexy, which our waiter kindly remarked described us very well. Cute. It was made with Grey Goose Le Poire, pomegranate juice and lemonade. It was very sweet and really hit the spot.

For my first course, I ordered a simple Eatonville mixed greens salad. It was a large salad with cucumber and yellow and red tomatoes tossed in a citrus dressing. It was nice, but nothing special. I wouldn't have eaten it all had the service not been so slow. But, they took so long bringing my entree out that I eventually ate the entire salad.

I asked my waiter if Chef Oji was there and he told me that Oji had left the restaurant to start his own catering business. When I asked who the new chef was, he said they were training a sous chef to take over, but at the moment there was no executive chef. Hmmm...I wonder how the menu will evolve in the near future. The manager, Michael, also recently left so it seems they've seen a lot of turnover.

When they finally served my entree, it was well worth waiting for. I ordered the jerk-marinated tofu, which was served with broccolini and mushroom ragout. The tofu was marinated in a jerk sauce and grilled to perfection. Although it was a tad bit dry, the spicy jerk flavor was perfect. It went well with the broccolini, which I should mention was a bit too salty. The mushroom ragout, on the other hand, could have been a dish of its own -- it was spicy yet creamy with a strong garlic taste. The tofu, broccolini, and mushroom ragout went together quite well.

We spent more time there than we probably should have due to the slow service, but it was a good experience. The food is a bit pricey for what it is thought with the salad at $7 and the tofu dish at $14. As I mentioned before though, I really like the ambiance. I'm interested to see how this menu will evolve once they appoint the new chef. I'll be back soon.

2121 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-9672

Eatonville on Urbanspoon

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