One of the best things about moving to a new DC neighborhood is exploring all of the area’s restaurants. Navy Yard is far from the most popular area for Washingtonians to hit for a night on the town unless heading to a baseball game, but there are still a number of great spots worth checking out.
While we were in Brazil, I kept tabs on the new restaurants that would be opening in our ‘hood and it just so happened that the two I was most excited about opened right around the time we moved back. The newest is Due South, from the people behind Bayou in Foggy Bottom, which is so new they’re still in their soft opening phase.
They’ll be fully open starting September 8th, when they’ll serve lunch as well as their full dinner menu and brunch on weekends. But after seeing their menu online, I simply couldn’t wait that long.
I loved the vibe and atmosphere at this place, with lots of wrought iron (watch your toes!), reclaimed wood and fun light fixtures. Yes, it’s the general decor that all new DC restaurants seem to be gravitating toward, but it’s popular for a reason.
There’s a big bar at the front of the restaurant with televisions for sports (once baseball season is over, they’ll be focusing on SEC college football, which as a Big XII girl is a bit disappointing), a cozy yet spacious dining room (tables aren’t squished together) and a good amount of scenic outdoor seating (it’s been a bit too hot for that lately, but it will be wonderful in the early fall).
Due South offers classic southern food, with a bit of a Cajun twist and although we entered hoping to keep our food consumption on a level, there really was no hope. They have a nice selection of craft beers on tap as well as a good list of bottles and cans. I started with a Due South Lager (made by Blue Point Brewing Company), which was light and easy with subtle hoppiness, and Tom had a can of Heritage Brewing Co. Freedom Isn’t Free IPA. The wine list isn’t extensive, but covers all of the bases.
For appetizers, we chose the squash puppies with a roasted jalapeno aoli and the kale farro salad with pumpkin seeds and green goddess dressing.
The squash puppies were really good, although I would have liked a little (or a lot) more spice, but I think people with normal palate’s who don’t want every meal to burn off their taste buds would find the spice level quite adequate. The outer crunch was perfect with a soft, almost sweet interior.
The kale salad was great also, the perfect mix of salty, tangy and sweet. It also made me feel a little bit better for the entrees we were about to devour. At least we got our fiber in?
I wished we had another couple of eaters with us, because deciding on our entrees was impossible! Obsessed as I am with pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw, I knew that was a must. But we were torn between the Nashville hot fried chicken thigh sandwich and an off-menu item for the night, brisket with grits smothered in a tomato and okra stew, which would up being the winner.
The pulled pork was great. I felt that the coleslaw was a little underrepresented, and I wouldn’t have minded a barbecue sauce on the side, but the meat was flavorful and tender and the bun was soft and buttery. The BBQ Joint still has my all-time favorite pulled pork sandwich, but this one comes in second. I forgot to order the side salad instead of the fries, a delicious mistake.
But you guys, this brisket… I don’t even know what to say. It was dreamy. The stew, which had a barbecue saucy essence with just a little bit of Cajun flair, stole the show and made the entire dish taste simply sumptuous.
I gave Tom half of my sandwich and proceeded to shovel as much of his brisket into my face as I could. I am already trying to come up with an excuse to go back and eat it again. So, so good.
After the indulgent nature of our dinner, we debated whether or not to order dessert for about ten minutes. Seriously. Finally we decided that end of summer peach goodness could not be passed up, so ordered this delightful peach crumble and agreed to take a long walk on the river afterward.
I was all about the peaches and vanilla ice cream, such a classic combination in my book, while Tom became enamored with the crumble. In fact, his exact words were “I wish every bit of food was covered in this.” He had a point, as the sugar cookie crumble was soft and perfectly sweet with hints of almond flavor.
And that final, sugary sweet bite, concluded one of the best and most relaxed meals I’ve had in a long time.
I am incredibly happy to live so close to this place, though it will likely result in my purchasing more stretchy pants in the near future.
But Due South is definitely worth the trip from near or far, game day or no. And if you need someone to share that brisket with, I’d be happy to help.