Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Eatonville Food Review

Eatonville Po' Boy with Cajun Fries

It's hard to fake southern hospitality: Either you have it, or you don't. U Street Corridor favorite Eatonville certainly looks the part; but upon closer inspection, fails to capture the charm and magic of the real McCoy.

Don't get me wrong: There's still fun to be had at the seven-year-old institution (yes, it's that popular.) Few local restaurants can replicate Eatonville's incredible interior, one of the coolest (perhaps grandest) dining rooms in all of DC. It's hard not to be impressed, once you walk in. Unfortunately, good looks fade without impressive food and service. The latter was hardly in question, despite a less than enthusiastic greeting and complete lack of a farewell. That's because we were lucky enough to have Lydia as a server.

Honey-Cornbread Muffins

Lydia's kindness and professionalism spoke volumes, loud enough to drown out a surprisingly disappointing meal. The menu reads delicious; but there appears to be a disconnect between words and implementation. It starts with flat Ginger Ale, served in a cutesy mason jar for added effect. Word to the wise: Carbonization trumps style each and every time. Color me impressed however with Eatonville's Honey-Cornbread Muffins, a steal of a deal at just $3 for four generous muffins. Perfect for sharing, they beat the stuffing out of most breads. Flavor & texture was good, not great; but you simply can't beat the price/value.

Ginger Ale

Where Eatonville failed most, was in its Po' Boy with Cajun Fries (12 bucks.) Day-old bread, cold, flavorless fries and an indistinguishable pairing of oyster and shrimp. Granted, you get lots of fries, but most were flimsy and far from "Cajun-spiced." The best part? Plenty of fresh, diced tomatoes on the sandwich. The worst? It took forever to arrive (and we had a theatre opening to get to.)

Looking back, without Lydia... this could have been a real disaster. Tables are way too close to each other (at least in the middle of the room) which makes intimate dinners a definite no-no. The aforementioned lack of a good-bye really stun as well: Literally three employees watched us leave, without uttering a word. Keep in mind, I make a point of noticing; and they weren't busy with other customers, etc. By the by, Lydia couldn't have been nicer when she wished us well. My advice? More Lydia. More attention to detail in the kitchen (stale bread? For shame) and a bit more "southern hospitality." Perhaps another go for Brunch? I've got both eyes fixed on Biscuits and Jams, not to mention Red Velvet Pancakes.