Saturday, November 15, 2008

Florida Avenue Grill

The Florida Avenue Grill is a classic soul-food diner, serving greasy Southern diner food since the 1940s. The small diner space is lined with autographed pictures of prominent African-Americans and Washingtonians. Janet Reno was a frequent patron when she was here. Since Florida Ave. is a small place, expect a wait for brunch. The best part about Florida Ave. is the ambiance -- the photos lining the walls, the laid back Southern charm of the waitresses, and the feeling that you're sitting at a type of restaurant that in other places including New York's Harlem neighborhood has become a sort of dying breed.

As for the food, some things are better than others, and all dishes make heavy use of butter. They are now offering an "Obama Special" which consists of two eggs, bacon or sausage, hot cakes, homefries, and grits. This enormous multi-plate offering is still only $8. The grits and hotcakes are the best parts of the special. The hotcakes are enormous frisbee-sized pancakes that are surprisingly light and airy. The grits are substantive and flavorful, especially when topped with hot sauce. One of our orders was literally swimming in butter, which made the dish all the more rich. The eggs are fried nicely in butter and are not overcooked. The bacon and homefries were, unfortunately, disappointing. The bacon was dry and the homefries were fairly mushy; both had probably been sitting around for too long.

We also tried the corn beef hash and the country ham. The hash was crispy and delicious, while the ham was stringy and disappointing. The Virginia ham, which is a large thick slice, is probably a better choice.

Obviously you should leave any sort of diet or cholesterol watching at the door when you go to Florida Ave. Nonetheless, it produces fairly good Southern diner food in an authentic atmosphere that reminds you of D.C.'s Southern roots.

Contact information after the jump. Continue reading.

Florida Avenue Grill [Washington Post]
Stick a Fork in Harlem Soul Food? It Seems Done [New York Times]

Florida Avenue Grill
1100 Florida Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20009
(202) 265-1586

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