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Monday, March 19, 2007

Thing 12: Georgia Brown's

I used to be an intern in the old Woodward building, around the corner from Georgia Brown's. I was a student, working for free three mornings a week, and I would bring my lunch every day. My boss kept saying that she would take me to Georgia Brown's at the end of the semester to reward me, but when that lunch time rolled around Georgia Brown's was booked and we ended up at Ebbitt's instead.

Now that I live up the street, I pass the place every morning on my way to the Metro. I walk under the green awning and past the windows with the honey comb and bee logo and think "I should finally go there." But it's a power lunch kind of place, in the shadow of the White House and with prices that make you wish someone else was paying, so I've held off. Until today.

Today I had a power lunch. Ok, not exactly a power lunch, but definitely lunch with friends who may someday buy something from my company, which is close enough. I met my lunch companions at the restaurant at noon. The four of us were whisked through the friendly front bar of light wood and wine storage to a table adorned with a white table cloth and a small orange and yellow orchid. The restaurant itself is crowded without feeling it, using windows and light wood to create a airy feeling. The center of the restaurant holds a sculpture of a deconstructed oak tree, inspired by the plentiful oak trees of the South. Once seated, we received a large plate of hard, sweet biscuits, corn muffins and honeyed butter. I ordered the sweet peach tea which had the strong scent and essence of peaches and studied the southern-inspired menu.

Being in DC, we sometimes flatter ourselves that we live in the South. I'm from the West Coast, so occasionally I even believe it. I'm pretty sure that this nouveau Southern doesn't actually compare to the real thing, that we are playing at the South, but in the end I just really love shrimp and grits and I'll take what I can get.

Which is exactly what I ordered -- Georgia Brown's specialty, shrimp and grits. A heaping plate arrived with a mound of grits, six or seven shrimp -- heads removed but piled high atop the large pink bodies -- and swimming in a rich broth of fish and green onions. The andouille sausage added a nice spicy bite, the shrimp was plentiful if a little over cooked. The overall dish was satisfying, though perhaps a little too salty.

My companions ordered salads -- huge, unmanageable things -- and a sampler of the veggie sides with rice, succotash, spinach and fried green tomatoes. When a small tray of desserts was brought out, three of the four involved pecans. The fourth was fresh berries -- I can eat those at home. I wanted something southern and sweet but don't care for pecans and so I passed.

Our lunch lasted two hours, a combination of business and catching up, during which time the restaurant hit its peak of plenty and then the crowds began to thin out again. Power lunch complete, we returned to the world waiting at McPherson Square.

My understanding is that Georgia Brown's is best at brunch on weekends, when a beast of a buffet is laid out and live jazz is performed. Perhaps next time I will schedule my power lunch for 11:00 on a Sunday...

Note: I finally broke down and bought a real digital camera this weekend. I'd previously been limited by my Treo, and I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures up until now. Hopefully you can tell from the above, things are getting better.


Jessica said...

I can vouch for the Sunday brunch at Georgia Browns. You may eat yourself to death but it's well worth it and the live music is good as well. Probably get the most bang for your buck this way too....or maybe I just think that because of all the rolls and biscuits I put into my purse.

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I arrived here via a comment you left on the Orangette food blog. This is great stuff; as a relative newcomer to DC (<2 yrs), I love reading about places I've never been to or things I haven't done yet. I wish you the best of luck with this blog! -- Caroline

Jenny said...

i agree with jessica, definitely a fantastic brunch spot. jazz, grits, and bloody marys at the same time? good one.