Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Hour Gems: Vidalia

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Vidalia - Washington, DC
Image Courtesy of: Vidalia Facebook Page
Here at fooDCrave, not only do we enjoy going out for a delicious dinner, but we also love imbibing in a great happy hour around the neighborhood.  A few weeks ago, Liz and I had planned to meet for a drink before she escaped to New Jersey for the weekend.  We decided to go a bit swankier than normal and try out Smith & Wollensky, but when we arrived were told that they actually don't have specials anymore.  As many of you know, I strongly believe in the restaurant gods, and I definitely consider this another occasion where they were looking out for us!  A minute later, I realized we were right around the corner from Vidalia and suggested we try it out.  

Vidalia is a local southern-inspired restaurant by Jeffrey Buben that has been on my list of places to try for a while.  DC already has a good number of Southern themed restaurants (Georgia BrownsEatonville, etc), so I am happy to report that they did not disappoint! Everything we ate and drank off the happy hour menu was delicious. 

Though the restaurant has been around for some time, they are constantly updating their menu.  For example, in February, the bar added an interactive element to their happy hour; they added burners to the bar area for chefs to create custom bites in front of patrons.  We really enjoyed getting to see our food being made and were even offered a free appetizer from the chef!  Score!  Also, the drink specials were awesome.  We didn't try out the cocktails, but there were plenty of affordable beer and wine choices.  Liz and I each opted for my favorite beer, Allagash White, which was only $3 during happy hour!  

We didn't plan to order food, but when we saw the food coming out, we could not resist.  By the end of hour happy hour, we had ordered practically the whole menu!  On the menu there were about 8 small bite options.  We started with a pulled pork slider, a cheese plate - which actually contained one type of cheese and two accompaniments - and bbq shrimp served over cornbread.  Each of the dishes were bite sized, but were appropriately portioned for the price (each bite ran about $3-$6). We shared all of the plates, dividing them up and savoring  every delectable bite.  The pulled pork was tender and incredibly flavorful -we were licking our fingers with the tangy sauce!  The bbq shrimp, however, was probably my favorite of the night.  The shrimp and cornbread were swimming in this delicious tangy sauce that I wanted to pick up and drink at the end.  Luckily, Liz stopped me. 


Although we hadn't even planned to eat in the first place, after sampling a few of the options, we decided to go back in for more!  Next, we ordered the deviled crab salad with "vegetable chow chow", and the crawfish hush puppies. The hush puppies were probably our least favorite sampling of the evening.  They were deep fried balls with a somewhat tasteless filling.  The crab salad, however, was delicious.  It tasted extremely fresh, was not too heavy on the mayonnaise, and was served atop a crunchy johnnycake

The service at the bar was impeccable. They didn't lose patience with us for our constant stream of questions - like asking what johnnycakes and chow chow are!  We're Yankees, can you tell? Even when a large party entered the bar area, we still received constant attention from the bartenders.  The bar area also had a more relaxed seating area with couches that were filled with young professionals.  Based on the food and the service, I will definitely be back soon!  

Have you guys been to Vidalia for dinner recently? What do you recommend? 

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