Photos By Franz Mahr, Words By Kaylee Dugan
I had passed Southern Hospitality (or SoHo, if you’re into abbreviations) so many times while traveling to and from Adams Morgan, that it was basically a city landmark in my mind. I used it to orient where other bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and even bus stops were in Adams Morgan/Woodley Park. I don’t know why I’d never considered going inside, but, to be fair, the outside is rather unassuming. Which is why I was so surprised at how inviting and merry the inside was. While SoHo is certainly far from dive-y or fratty, it’s definitely unpretentious. The decor is simple, yet kind of old school, with lots of brick, wood, and a long bar (long bars are the best bars). Still, it could be the prettiest restaurant in the world and it wouldn’t matter at all if the food was horrible. Lucky for SoHo, it’s excellent.
While they’re famous for their brunch and southern comfort food, SoHo is doing their best to mix it up a little bit in the kitchen, with the help of their new chef, Leo Garcia, who previously worked at Proof and Red Hen. Even if you are all brunch all the time, I highly encourage you to stop by for at least an appetizer and a drink, because SoHo, and chef Garcia, really shine when it comes to the details. Their incredibly thin and stupidly tender beef carpaccio, topped with a spicy Hoisin and Sriracha dressing and fresh arugula was awesome. If they would sell me the sauce they drizzled on top of the carpaccio, I would put it on so many things (yes, I could probably make this at home, but I am a terrible cook and like to leave these things to the professionals).
The ahi tuna ceviche was the perfect balance of citrus and fresh fish. Plus it was topped with homemade guacamole and served with slices of delicious bread. It’s the perfect snack to pair with a cocktail (or a glass of wine). While it was, texture-wise, more like the delicious love child of ceviche and tartare, I couldn’t care less. I’m still thinking about it all these days later.
If you’re the kind of person who cares more about entrees than appetizers (I don’t understand you, but whatever), definitely go with the boneless short ribs. While they didn’t catch my attention as much as the appetizers, the mushroom sauce that accompanies the ribs is incredibly rich (in a good way) and the pureed potatoes, which are topped with fresh-grated horseradish, are outstanding. They are the fluffiest and creamiest potatoes I have ever eaten in my life. Seriously. I could probably eat my body weight in those potatoes and I wouldn’t regret a thing.
I know you’re probably a little full by now, but this is the kind of place where you definitely don’t skip out on dessert because, honestly, you need the key lime pie. I love key lime pie. I have even had key lime pie in Key West (which is basically key lime pie Disney World), but SoHo’s key lime pie is insanely good. It’s the perfect balance of tart citrus and (almost) overwhelming sweetness. Usually, when I have key lime pie, I enthuse about the crust, but this pie is all about the incredibly decadent filling. You need it. I need it. We all need it.