Last night, almost a dozen of us joined at National Harbor which Top Chef contestant Edward Lee set up shop last year with Succotash (www.succotashrestaurant.com) under the helm of Chef Lisa Odom and a top notch staff that offers superb service. Our server Manny was on his toes all night and never seemed to fail. He, along with our gracious hosts, said the best deal is the "Taste of the South" served family style for the whole table and available only for tables of 6 or more. At $39 per person this monster meal offers so many dishes with still plenty left to take home. We each seemed to want an extra little dish or so, but that went swimmingly well as we tasted the additional Deviled Eggs with Dijon Mustard & Liverwurst; the awesome Fried Oyster "Rich Boy" is a twist not to be missed with Trout Roe, Duke's "Remoulade" and Pear Slaw adorning the juicy fried oyster sandwich!
The meal was served with two wines, Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2014, superb with the oysters, eggs and starters and Avalon California Cabernet 2013, which I really enjoyed with the heavier meat dishes.
The "Taste of the South" started with Smoked Chicken Wings in the most delightful of White BBQ sauces and Celery Slaw on the side that was irresistible. Next came the miniature iron pan filled with Pimento Fundido, sizzling cheese laced with Caramelized Onions, Corn Relish and served with tasty Seed Crackers to mop up the melted cheesy goo, that could benefit from a little less greasiness. I even tried a bit of the Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce on every table for some spice! Fried Green Tomatoes could be the best in town, battered and fried perfectly with no hint of greasiness and served on a huge plate covered with Arugula, Goat Cheese and a superb drizzle of Buttermilk Dressing; their crunch was divine. The Weisenberger Mills Skillet Cornbread could win a prize, also served in a skillet it is an unsweetened bread with scallions, but topped with a knob of Sorghum Butter that you can't get enough of. Every piece was gone and we mopped up every last dribble of the butter.
The starters ended here, but the deluge of food did not. Baby Back Ribs are cooked with dry House Rub in an Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce that will have you licking your fingers. Oh, I forgot to mention the napkins have button holes like back in the days of first class airline travel, so your napkin won't fall and you can protect your shirt front from all the amazing sauces! Crispy Local Blue Catfish was another award winning dish and didn't have any of that usual sliminess catfish can often have. Frying here is indeed a perfected art and the Jalapeno-Mint Aioli with large Burnt Lemon pieces to squeeze over the crunchy fish pieces make it truly worthy. The Dirty Fried Chicken (dark meat with Spicy Gochujang Honey, Blue Cheese & Pickles) was the last main to arrive, so we all divided it up to take home for dinner tonight, as we were nearing the satiated level.
Sides are also included in the deal with creamy rich Bacon Mac'n'Cheese & the amazing Collards & Kim-Chi, another brilliant Asian influence from Chef Lee. We could not resist ordering the excellent daily vegetable special: Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Fried Pecans in Vinegar Sauce. The Creamed Onions & Cabbage also followed along suit, as did the wow your palate Succotash Curry (some had it without the curry, but that seemed silly to me!).
The "Taste of the South" includes two desserts as well and while I tried to resist I managed to taste the very rich and sweet Chocolate Bourbon Pie with Orange Whipped Cream and eat a bite of the superb Nutter Pecan Sandies served with Chocolate Puddin' & Vanilla Whipped Cream, which was creamy yummy.
Alas, our host mourned the departure from the menu of the Hummingbird Cake! We missed nothing though as we were full to the brim and rolled home happy to know that Southern cooking, albeit with a terrific twist is alive just minutes from DC!