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Hey y'all!

I love southern food. Get weak in the knees over it. Give me a crispy, juicy piece of fried chicken with milk gravy, mashed potatoes, and cornbread (or a buttermilk biscuit), and I'm in heaven. Oh, and musn't forget the sweet tea. And hush puppies. And my mom is southern (and her family's from the south), so I know what good southern food tastes like.

My dear, well-intentioned friend (who regularly frequents Chili's, Olive Garden, and Cheesecake Factory) has been insisting for at least a year that I go to Georgia Brown's. She thinks it's the bees knees (it's her absolute favorite restaurant in the city), and is convinced that, given my love for southern food, this is THE PLACE for me.

She's finally managed to plan a dinner there for us on Sat. (for a friend's birthday). She's so excited to show it off to me.

A religious egullet lurker and Tom Sietsema reader, Georgia Brown's utter rejection by Tom and absence on this board has not gone unnoticed by me. But since I want badly to be able to like this place for my friend's sake, can anyone steer me to a reliably good dish or two? Anything to avoid?

Or am I doomed?

Do they even offer sweet tea?

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Georgia Brown's isn't bad, it's just not great. The fried chicken's acceptable, and the frogmore stew and Charleston perlau are both worth ordering. The portions border on psychotically huge - expect to take at least half of whatever you order home unless you've been fasting for a couple of days. Desserts were good - slightly froufrou interpretations of classics like red velvet cake and peach cobbler. Unfortunately, you might be out of luck on sweet tea, unless they've seen the error of their ways.

Let us know how it goes.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Don't know if you saw the article in the Post last week. But if you love fried chicken you have to check out Flavors in Falls Church. Added bonus- they've got sweet tea. I've only been to GA Brown's once- got the pork chop, it was juicy and flavorful but nothing spectacular.

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Don't know if you saw the article in the Post last week. But if you love fried chicken you have to check out Flavors in Falls Church. Added bonus- they've got sweet tea. I've only been to GA Brown's once- got the pork chop, it was juicy and flavorful but nothing spectacular.

I did! That was encouraging. Is it worth the trip out from DC?

Heck, who am I kidding, I'd drive hours for serious fried chicken and sweet tea. Thanks for the reminder!

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I've only been for brunch, but the best thing to recommend the brunch is the sheer quantity. Huge buffet, desserts and a full, huge entree. The food was fine, but not great.

If I was looking for upscale Southern food around here I would problably look to Vidalia. Although Vidalia may be more "upscale" than "southern".

Bill Russell

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I'd think of Southside 815 as being more Cajun than southern - jumbalaya, gumbo, etc.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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If I was looking for upscale Southern food around here I would problably look to Vidalia. Although Vidalia may be more "upscale" than "southern".

I tried Vidalia a few months ago and loved it (and have pictures I keep meaning to scan) (is it horribly gauche that I took pictures in Vidalia? I'm new to it).

The scallop special I ordered was brilliant, but what stands out months later as the highlight of the meal may be the cornbread. Excellent. Hush puppies were good (no more so than those I've eaten all over the Carolinas) and plentiful (as a side order).

Still, I can't with a straight face call any restaurant "southern" that doesn't offer sweet tea. Who are they kidding?

(am I being obsessive?)

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Here's a link to the website of Georgia Brown's owner, Capital Restaurant Concepts, LTD.

An example of their southern flare, found on the website:

High Perceived Value - The innovative presentation of Exceptional Food in ample portions, with Quality Service in appealing Design Layouts creates a lasting impression of guest value within the broadest demographic and market segments.

With 2002 sales approaching $32 million, and a corporate infrastructure solidly in place to support restaurant operations, Capital Restaurant Concepts is ready to build on its success.

So I was thinking of forming my own All-Star team - I've recruited Gillian Clark, Michael Landrum, Frank Ruta, Jamison Blankenship and Tom Power. Does anyone have a contact at Capital Restaurant Concepts that I can begin negotiations with as my sixth man?

Not.

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Frankly, while I never had a "bad" meal there, I never felt the need to go back. Someone else always paid. If the check is on me, I would not think of Georgia Browns.

My thoughts exactly. I've been there a few times and have enjoyed my meals but not enough to suggest it as an option. I'm drawing a complete blank on what I've eaten there.

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Ha! I was just thinking the same thing. I ate there about 18 months ago with a friend, thought it was "okay" at the time, and never went back. I can't remember what either of us ate but it seems to me that I liked my salad.... :huh:

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Unaquainted with Georgia Brown's but having heard that the brunch was popularly acclaimed in surveys by magazines such as Washingtonian, I went to their website. There was a recipe for their peach cobbler, which happens to be one of my favorite desserts. When I saw, however, that they make peach cobbler with a crumb topping instead of a proper Southern crust (either pastry crust or biscuits), I got skeptical and never did go to Georgia Brown's.

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Update-

Thanks for the tips, y'all. Saturday night at GB's began well with a killer peach martini as we waited for the group to arrive. Then came the bread- the cornbread, with it's accompanying honey butter, was actually pretty good; unfortunately, the honey butter could not save the dry, hard biscuits, which tasted like flour hockey pucks. I skipped a starter and went straight to the entree- the fried chicken. It came out as two well fried breasts with gravy, mashed potatoes, and collard greens. The chicken itself was pretty good, but the gravy was rather bland (which was such a disappontment, as I LOVE a good gravy). Bottom line- momma can do better. And at almost $20, I expected a bit better.

Mashed potatoes were fine (but could have been improved with some good gravy!) and collards seemed pretty good, but as I always steered clear of them growing up, I'm not a good judge.

What is it with people that don't know how to tip? I ended up paying a third of the check (for our party of 7) just so our server would have 20%. And I felt he really deserved more. He was great- kept us in plenty of bread and drinks, food came out quickly, and we never felt rushed. As it was our friend's birthday, I had candles out to put into whatever desert she ordered. He discretely swept them away and reappeared with a sampler platter of five desserts (which we had ordered), all on a long rectangular platter, each with a candle in it. Nice touch, I thought.

(edited to add- sorry there's no comment on the wine list- I stuck with peach martinis throughout the meal)

Edited by littlechinagirl (log)
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  • 11 months later...

First let me start off by saying, I don't really like to talk bad about restaurants, so I will restrain myself; partely that is. I also would like to hear from anyone else who has dined here recently.

I made reservations through Open Table for 7:15, we arrived at 7:10 and let them know we were there and had a drink in the bar, I was with a party of 3. At 7:30 I went back to the hostess and cinfirmed that they knew we were here and they assured me that "Oh sir, we are just putting your table together, it will be ready shortly", now I work in restaurants and I know it doesnt' take 20 minutes to put a 3 top together, so please dont lie to me just tell me you will seat me as soon as possible. At 8:00 she returns to the bar and asks do you still want to dine with us this evening, it will be a bit longer. So I asked what is the point of making a reservation? She replies, "Well making a reservation doesn't guarantee you a seat it just puts your name above people that just walk in". Hmmm, ok well whatever, the bartender was friendly and the people I were with wanted to eat here, so I said ok, restraining myself as much as I could. 8:15 rolls around and we are asked to come to be seated, after waiting another 5 minutes at the hostess stand listening to the hostess argue over what table to take us too they seat us, reluctantly.

The biscuits and corn bread arrive cold as we are sitting down, now I dont know if they were intended this way or not, but the "butter or whatever they put on top of the biscuits" had developed a film that was consistent with celophane wrap. Granted the biscuits were still decent, they were cold.

The two I were with ordered She Crab soup for there apps and I made the mistake of ordering the scallops. 3 small poorly seared scallops with a huge handful of watcress sitting on top covering the scallop that was charred in the pan and overcooked, smothered by a poor attempt at best on a "sweet corn sauce" that was inconsistent in texture and cold. Whether or not the sauce was intended to be cold or not, which I doubt; it was very bland and well it just wasn't good.

Now as I thought about how all the food that had come out was cold it occured to me why they were doing this. The damn restaurant was so hot inside because of there poor designed "open kitchen" that everyone in the restaurant was sweating profusely. I asked the server is it always this hot in here? He replied "yes it is, the kitchen pushes out heat and it gets hotter as the day goes on, we've had a few people quit already!". I coudn't help but laugh. It honestly must have been at least 85 degrees in the restaurant, it was dreadful.

The only thing I can say good about the entire expereience was that my pork chop had a decent flavor and was not overcooked, but that is about all I can say.

I've dined at other restaurants that are owned by this company around town, you know which they are, and I've always had good experiences. I know that this restaurant is not considreed by any means a "great restaurant" but with all the hype surrounding this place, I expected 10x better. I won't ever return to this place, and the saddest part about it is, because of how I was treated the first 45 minutes by the hostess while I was there waiting.

I'll give more details later, back to work

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  I know that this restaurant is not considreed by any means a "great restaurant" but with all the hype surrounding this place, I expected 10x better. 

What hype?

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

—George W. Bush in Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

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not really "hype" but its was listed in Gourmet as a Top 10 place for southern "low country" dining a month or 2 ago and on Open Table its is 1 of the Top 5 of most requested recomendations, so I would perceieve that as some kind of "hype" or that alot of people are going there.

Just my two cents

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  I know that this restaurant is not considreed by any means a "great restaurant" but with all the hype surrounding this place, I expected 10x better. 

What hype?

According to the Food Network, Georgia Brown's is one of DC's "Power Houses".

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/ck_gc_wash...3880947,00.html

Then again, the Food Network lists La Madeleine as a one of DC's best "Cheap Eats". :hmmm:

"My cat's breath smells like cat food."

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Georgia Brown's has four things going for it.

1 A good location

2 A brunch that overwhelms with quantity, rather than quality

3 A reputation built during the 1st Clinton administration

4 A damn good publicist

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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not really "hype" but its was listed in Gourmet as a Top 10 place for southern "low country" dining a month or 2 ago and on Open Table its is 1 of the Top 5 of most requested recomendations, so I would perceieve that as some kind of "hype" or that alot of people are going there.

Just my two cents

My mother's side of the family hails not that far from South Carolina "low country" and she was a damn fine Southern cook. After dining there a few times JCPTX IMHO, it's citified Southern food. Some dishes were okay, but just okay; others fell a little short of the mark for me, not just in taste but in price as well. And bilrus you nailed it as to why they are so popular.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Adding to Bilrus' list of particulars, GB has always struck a chord with me as one of the few really integrated dining rooms I see in town. B Smiths - and the bar more than the main dining room - is another in a pathetically short list of places where a K Street foodie could feel they are living in a diverse city. I eat out a lot at linen tablecloth joints and it says something that you would never believe that the city is 30% anglo and 60% afro american. :huh:

"Food is an essential part of a balanced diet."

Fran Lebowitz

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Had one of the most disappointing meals of my life a couple of years back at B Smith's.

Too much time has passed to remember particulars, but I remember leaving thinking "mediocre country club food."

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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GB was also featured in at least one episode of The Wire. McNulty was humiliated by his lobbyist girlfriend there. All inside shots but it was portrayed as a DC hotspot. Since this episode was filmed in 2002, I would say they do have a good publicist.

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