Words by Kaylee Dugan
Photos by Nicholas Karlin
The Equitable Bank building has finally found a tenant worthy of its grandeur. Located only blocks away from the Verizon Center, the building started life as a community bank and then became a series of nightclubs when Equitable left the city in the 80s. In 2008, Platinum nightclub (which had been in the space in the early 2000s) closed down, and the building has been empty ever since. Or, at least it was empty. Now it’s home to Top Chef Edward Lee’s second location of Succotash, the Asian inspired southern restaurant he debuted at the National Harbor.
While gorgeous, the columns and facade outside aren’t enough to prepare you for what’s going on inside. A brand new mezzanine brings your eyes up to an enormous skylight, which makes the limestone floors and the bright white walls shine. All of the brightness contrasts well with the dark wood of the bar, host stand and the booths that run down the center of the restaurant. Instead of minimizing or modernizing the old school architectural details that set the space apart, Knead Hospitality and Design has gone full throttle. They’re making the tiny details pop and adding more flourishes of their own, like the lattice work that runs all along the ceiling of the bar, or the intricately styled glassware perched on every table. Without a doubt, it’s the kind of space that takes your breath away.
Likewise, the menu plays with both old and new, combining traditional Asian spices with traditional southern cuisine to create something thoroughly modern. Dishes like the roasted salmon include a southern take on Hong Kong’s XO sauce and a side of edamame grits, while the crispy blue catfish gets a dash of mint-jalapeño aioli and some lettuce slaw. When it comes to drinks, southern influences shine through more than the Asian influences, but the cocktail menu is filled with patio pounders that definitely make you feel like you should be drinking in the sunshine, even if they do tend to run a little sweet.
As of right now, Succotash is only open for dinner, but lunch, brunch and happy hour should be appearing soon. Their projected happy hour menu looks quality, featuring cocktails in the $6-$7 range, wine from $6-$8, draft and bottled beers from $5-$6, and $1 wings, $6 sliders, $9 bowls of pimento cheese and more. Not bad for the neighborhood. Not bad at all.