Southern Comfort is Good for the Soul

At last, I am able to delete Vidalia ($$$) from my list of "Restaurants I Want to Try" (to the right). Vidalia has graced the Washingtonion Top 100 list, among many other publications, so it would be a shame for me to leave D.C. without going. This upscale Southern restaurant satisfied my comfort food craving.
I went for D.C.'s Winter Restaurant Week, which offered a three course meal for $35. I was impressed at the start with Vidalia's bread basket, which, in my opinion, is one of the most important parts of the meal. A vidalia is a type of onion, so Vidalia aims to include vidalia onions in most of their dishes. The bread was no exception as a warm, onion focaccia was promptly delivered to our table. A sweet onion butter was served alongside it and both were simply phenomenal.

To start, I had the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, with a sweet corn salsa. I have to tip my hat off to the chef for packing so much crab meat into the appetizer. Most restaurants skimp on the meat and overcompensate with bread crumbs. The meat was combined with a savory, salty seasoning, which complemented the sweet corn salsa.
Crab Cake with Corn Salsa and Crab Butter

For my second course, I had the Beef Short Rib with a root beer jus and potato purée. Initially, I was skeptical of the root beer jus because I am not a fan of root beer. I was happily surprised because the jus was very subtle and actually went well with the tenderly cooked short ribs. The ribs themselves were not as flavorful as I hoped, but the potato purée was creamy and delicious.

I ordered the Lemon Chess Pie for dessert, even though this choice seemed a bit on the boring side. Who can hate on a classic if it is done well? Fortunately- it was excellent. The pie was tart and creamy. It went perfectly with the sweet berry compote and chantilly cream that came with it. This was definitely the highlight of my meal. I also tried Vidalia's signature Peanut Butter Crunch cake, which was incredible. Then again, you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. The cake was layered with chocolate ganache cake, chocolate cream, peanut butter cream and topped with a milk chocolate feuilletine.

The ambiance of the restaurant was very nice. The tables were spaced nicely and the decor was simple and clean. Vidalia is always changing their menu so I plan on returning soon. Some other dishes I hope to try include their Shrimp & Grits, Spiced Crusted Duck Breast with a Fig & Duck Confit Bread Pudding, and their Baked Macaroni with smoked ham. I am also excited to try Chef Buben's other restaurant, Bistro Bis.

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