Everyone knows that the deep south is the true home of soul food, but some of those roots spread to Washington, DC?
Soul food is always on my mind. It’s more than holiday dinners and Sunday suppers at my favorite relative’s house. Soul food is a huge part of my culture as a black American, so having proper culinary experiences are important. Soul food is magical, spiritual even, because its origins are rooted in dark history. Enslaved and marginalized people, black Americans, had to create meals out of the scraps that were left from their oppressors. It was in these dark moments, that the will and genius of black American people that created nourishment which would be later appreciated, many times appropriated, in food and culture spaces.
….here we are.
Because I love soul food dearly, I seek it out in all cities that I’m in.
….here we are.
soul food in Washington, DC at Carolina Kitchen.
My siblings love all things socialite and fancies themselves budding social experts of her beloved city. With them understanding my likes, specifically love of soul food, Carolina Kitchen came recommended on a few occasions. I’m not sure why I put off visiting for so long, but let me tell you early on it was definitely worth the wait as well as worth a trip back.
let me tell you about my first visit.
Each patron is greeted with such theatrics; it’s inviting, it’s humorous, and it creates a time to be had. It’s akin to the town’s cryer making an announcement.
We visited mid Sunday afternoon and expected huge church crowds but we were taken to our table right away.
These beauties above are brought to the table when the server takes your drink order.
Enjoy them then or save for later.
My suggestion, grab a taste and save the rest for later.
By the time I get to most restaurants, I’m really hungry so I want something fast. Also, in order to get the full scope of the levels of culinary satisfaction, I order a few things to test the waters. My dining companions didn’t want an appetizer really, so I ordered something small but enough just in case they changed their minds. I settled on the mini-cheeseburgers, sliders as others call them; easily sharable, can be heated to perfection, and just enough to not feel stuffed before the main entree arrives.
I could do without ordering these again. Maybe it was the day, maybe the cook was rushed, but the cold-sh bread and cheese that had not been melted, didn’t lend itself for flavorful bites. The beef patties were crisp which reduced the flavor too. I believe these have potential if attention is given to the details mentioned.
Fried Catfish with Collard Greens and Baked Beans
My dining partners said that the fried catfish is among their favorite from Carolina Kitchen. They’ve been to a few of the locations around the DMV and holds to their recommendation for the fried catfish. They said it’s very close to Louisiana Southern Fried Catfish and you will not be disappointed.
Because I too ordered the collard greens, I’ll put the recommendation below. The baked beans were nice; gives a familiar feel like being at a summer BBQ. I’ll add that a little thickness would have made them perfect.
Smothered Chicken with Collard Greens and Black-eyed Peas
Now this dish….
….is the winner.
Whew, I loved this entree so much, it will be hard for me to select something else when I visit again. The leg quarter was seasoned perfectly, rice fluffy, gravy creamy, black-eyed peas tender, and collard greens OK. They could have been firmer but it didn’t take away from the entree though. If you’re heading to Carolina Kitchen, definitely consider ordering the smothered chicken with your favorite sides.
Shared Side – Mac ‘n Cheese
My dining partners and I gave the mac ‘n cheese thumbs down. The texture was far too soft, it lacked flavor, and the abundance of cheese was overwhelming. I believe if they undercooked the pasta, added more salt, and removed the cheddar cheese, this side would be mimic that of our southern, blessed grandmothers.
Overall, Carolina Kitchen was a win for us. It is definitely high on the list of places to frequent often while in The District.