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Mulebone (Formerly Eatonville), Chef Joseph Paire Departs From the U-Street Corridor Restaurant - Closed


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A friend sent me this squib from Daily Candy:

Eat Your Fill
Eatonville Restaurant Opens

You tear through books voraciously. Too bad reading also makes you voracious.

Settle your literal and literary appetites at Eatonville.

The new restaurant from the owner of Busboys and Poets (named for Langston Hughes) is an homage to the Florida hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston, Hughes's female contemporary in the Harlem Renaissance.

The menu is filled with regional Southern flavors: hush puppies stuffed with rock shrimp and leeks, crab burgers with pickled onions, vegetarian mushroom loaf. The sweeping space brims with chandeliers and Hurston-themed murals created by local graffiti and street artists, including Decoy and Kelly Towles.

Order a julep for the front patio or take in live jazz while sipping sweet tea on the picket-fenced porch inside.

It's a novel idea.

Eatonville, 2121 14th Street NW, between V and W Streets (202-332-9672 or eatonvillerestaurant.com).

Looks excellent!

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A friend sent me this squib from Daily Candy:

Looks excellent!

My husband and I went last night. They seem to be doing interpretations of classic dishes. For instance, the hushpuppies were as light as a puff pastry shell .. and flavorful. The gumbo soup was not thickened much but had good flavor and etouffie (their spelling) was NOT classic and more of a rice stew or a soupy risotto than a sauce over rice ...but delicious. Service was friendly but slow. Liked the space a lot. We will definitely go back.

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not sure if anyone saw the city paper today...

Chris Newsome was the focus of the "top chef-esque" hiring business... won and got fired...

It's too bad, I worked with him at Colvin Run Tavern when he was the chef, one of the best cooks and motivators I ever worked for. He has a passion for the craft that is extremely hard to find... Chris just moved back to the area and has yet to find a job; A great talent with no where to go and I feel that this article might make his job search next to impossible... It painted a picture of a condescending jerk which is far from the truth...

He's a great cook, great chef, great leader... hope someone picks this guy up! They won't regret it.

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not sure if anyone saw the city paper today...
Chris Newsome was the focus of the "top chef-esque" hiring business... won and got fired...
It's too bad, I worked with him at Colvin Run Tavern when he was the chef, one of the best cooks and motivators I ever worked for. He has a passion for the craft that is extremely hard to find... Chris just moved back to the area and has yet to find a job; A great talent with no where to go and I feel that this article might make his job search next to impossible... It painted a picture of a condescending jerk which is far from the truth...
He's a great cook, great chef, great leader... hope someone picks this guy up! They won't regret it.

 
Hmmm, comparatively, not sure Newsome comes off so bad in this article.

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I think it comes off as a blind date between two people who are both delightful in their own right, but who are utterly unsuited to one another.

I wish they'd given Carman another thousand words to go into the philosophical differences that drove them apart.

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I strolled in with a friend close to 830 on Saturday and the place was jammed. We got a pager and headed to the less-crowded upstairs bar, where we waited it out with a draft Dogfishhead 90 minute (is this really an IPA?) followed by Boont Amber. The guy next to me was quite pleased with the scotch selection, but I don't know from scotch.

We were seated around 915 and lingered past 11. The dining room is an enormous, open room with a beautiful copper tile ceiling and large, bright murals on the walls. The place was buzzing, packed with folks gearing up for a night out on U St. Great energy.

We split the "Cheddar Tart" ($7) to start. The dish was presented under a huge mound of microgreens. The pastry was thick, flaky, buttery and, for me, entirely dominated the dish. I understand the appeal of simple and rustic and that Eatonville's tart is an entirely different animal from the onion tart at Central... but I couldn't help but wish for the latter as I was eating the former.

Our entrees were the "Fried Catfish with Jalapeno-Cheddar Grits, Collard Greens and Tomato Butter" ($16) and the "Shrimp and Crawfish Etoufee

with Long Grain Rice and Fried Okra" ($15). The generous slab of catfish had a thin, crispy, shell-like crust -- must have been cornmeal, now that I think about it. The grits, though not very spicy, were creamy and delicious, and the collards weren't soupy or mushy or flat, or any of the other things that can go wrong with collard greens. Like the rest of the dish, they were simple and good.

The etoufee was not as well-received. Marketfan nailed it up thread, calling it a "soupy risotto". The dish was rich, creamy and pale yellow, the color of a light corn chowder. I expected something far darker and nuttier, with more significant spice and complexity. Still, pushing aside my expectations of an etoufee, it wasn't a bad dish, just kinda blah. The seafood wasn't overcooked, and I liked that the okra had been cut into strips and fried without breading.

For dessert we drank bourbon. Our waiter was pleasant and the service was simple and efficient, unnoticed like a good left tackle. Though I really dug the atmosphere, I wouldn't race back for the food, even though the low prices make it more tempting.

Alex

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I think it comes off as a blind date between two people who are both delightful in their own right, but who are utterly unsuited to one another.

I wish they'd given Carman another thousand words to go into the philosophical differences that drove them apart.

I thought Carman did. Shallal wants to cater to middle-aged black women and don't think they eat pork. Newsome thought middle-aged black women love pork. I'm with Newsome on this one. There's plenty of pork in soul food.

Disclaimer: I'm not a middle aged black woman but I did spend the night at Holiday Inn Express.

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Three of us had dinner and drinks at Eatonville last night, and I'm not quite sure how to think about it. I certainly enjoyed myself, but I have a sense that much of what I ate was tasty but lacking some finesse, the sort of extra care and ability that would make the food exceptional. We got there around 6:30 to take advantage of the happy hour specials, and tried five of the cocktail specials. The bartender was a friendly guy, and each showed some creativity, but each one of them trended way too much to the too-sweet side. The Blue Lemon Drop in particular tasted more of the simple syrup than of the tartness of lemon that one would expect. (We also tasted the Muck, the Debutante, the Georgia Peach, and the Eatonville Sunset, the latter perhaps the best of the bunch.)

On the menu, I was more impressed with the appetizers and the side dishes than with the entrees. The hollowed-out hush puppy with tiny rock shrimp, creole sauce, and onion straws is one of the better starters I've had anywhere lately. The fried green tomatoes were firm, ungreasy, and nicely presented. We also had a creamy mac 'n' cheese and a sweet potato and andouille hash with nicely spicy sausage. I'd order all those again.

My pecan-crusted trout was the second plate-sized fish I've had this week, but not the best. The crust is sort of mushy, not crisp, and it buries the too-fluffy rice pilaf beneath and the totally hidden asparagus spears. It tasted fine, but wasn't as good as it could have been with different presentation and care with the components. Bob had the Oyster Po'Boy, which he liked, and my quick taste suggested was good, and our other dining companion liked his Baby Back Ribs, but I didn't taste them. The herbed fries with their dishes reminded me of fast-food fare.

But, excluding drinks, we got a huge amount of food for under $80.00, which strikes me as a very good deal. I'd like to go back and try more at Eatonville, perhaps at lunch, but I don't think that this is the destination for great Southern cooking D.C. has needed; for now, I think it's more like a hipper Georgia Brown's.

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We split the "Cheddar Tart" ($7) to start. The dish was presented under a huge mound of microgreens. The pastry was thick, flaky, buttery and, for me, entirely dominated the dish. I understand the appeal of simple and rustic and that Eatonville's tart is an entirely different animal from the onion tart at Central... but I couldn't help but wish for the latter as I was eating the former.

My pecan-crusted trout was the second plate-sized fish I've had this week, but not the best. The crust is sort of mushy, not crisp, and it buries the too-fluffy rice pilaf beneath and the totally hidden asparagus spears. It tasted fine, but wasn't as good as it could have been with different presentation and care with the components. Bob had the Oyster Po'Boy, which he liked, and my quick taste suggested was good, and our other dining companion liked his Baby Back Ribs, but I didn't taste them. The herbed fries with their dishes reminded me of fast-food fare.

I had both the Cheddar Tart ($7) and the Pecan-Crusted Trout ($16) last night, with mixed results. Unlike Alex's, my pastry seemed thin, very uniform, and if it wasn't Eatonville, I'd think it might have been purchased. This tart was dominated by the cheddar and the wad of microgreens sitting on top, and while looking back, I can't think of anything technically wrong with it, but I remember at the time wishing I was having the homey Ratatouille Tart I had down the street at Policy three weeks before.

The crust of the trout is indeed mushy, and yes, the double-wide fish buries the rice pilaf and asparagus. Also, the sauce around the plate is overtly moutarded, but I have to say that for $16, I really liked this dish, and it was an excellent value. Yes, it was not the typical, firm, flaky trout I'm used to, but it sure satisfied me in a down-home way, and I would order it again for $16.

Bar service started off slowly, but the second bartender soon took notice that I was ordering dinner and had an interest in their decent beer program (their wine program isn't very good). He took care of me, and left me with an extremely favorable impression of both him and the service in general. It takes so little effort to make the difference between an average dining experience and a memorable one, and this is exactly what happened last night; I wish I knew his name so I could thank him publicly, but that will have to wait for next time.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Really very good dinner at Eatonville, and in my opinion an extremely good value for a DC restaurant.

Fried green tomatoes as an appetizer split among us - the tomatoes battered somewhat more thickly than I am used to, but still they didn't turn out too heavy, and they have a nice corn salsa that complements them well.

A salad with added fried oysters makes a very reasonably priced, substantial, and tasty entree.

Catfish with grits and collards - yum, and nice to see the avoidance of the "shrimp and grits" that is everyone's only idea around here of what you're supposed to do with grits.

Vegetarian 'meat'-loaf made of mushrooms, with mashed potatoes, tomatoes, beans.

Really all very good, recognizably southern but none of it cliched or too simplistic.

Totally amazing challah bread pudding.

And an extremely nice waiter and other staff.

I know that there are those who think that the Busboys empire isn't made of delicious food and good service. But really, this was a very nice dinner, in a welcoming environment at a very reasonable price. I hope that next time is this good too.

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Agreed it's a good value. Went for teh first time last night after a show at Studio. I had Gumbo which was spicy and packed full of shrimp and sausage along with a salad w/ fried oysters. She had a vegetarian mushroom "meat" loaf and said was very good (I took her word for it). Perfect after theatre meal.

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Had a nice dinner at Eatonville last night. We ordered the fried green tomatoes, which were maybe a bit thickly cut for my taste, but the corn salsa and red pepper sauce complemented it well, as did the greens and goat cheese accompanying the dish.

My friend had the Oyster Po'Boy and thought it was quite good. Her only comment was that she would have preferred regular french fries rather than the inch and a half stubs it came with. For only $9, it seemed like a pretty generous portion to me.

I had the catfish and grits. The fish was lightly breaded in cornmeal, and served with a "tomato butter," which had more flavor than I expected from the description. It was more like a roasted tomato sauce. The greens were good too; unfortunately the jalapeno-cheddar grits didn't taste like much of either. The texture and creaminess was good, but the lack of punch lent an overall bland quality to a dish that I think otherwise would have been very good.

We also had a side of mac and cheese, which was excellent, with a nice cheesy crust on top.

For dessert, my friend really liked her pecan pie (with ginger, I think?). I had a lovely moist almond-y pound cake, served with strawberry rhubarb sauce and ice cream. The entire check including two cocktails was under $90 including tip.

Service was efficient and friendly but non-intrusive. The place was hopping at the beginning of the evening with a nice mix of families, couples and groups of friends, but it was pretty quiet by the time we left at 9. (With the high ceilings and open layout it's on the noisy side, but then I find most restaurants too noisy lately.) I felt it was a good value; IMO it can be hard to find restaurants in this price range that serve reliably good- to-really-good food.

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Made it to Eatonville last night for the first time with 4 of my girlfriends. We were all big fans of the decor. The high ceilings and bright murals I really liked, and especially the little "patio" area behind a picket fence with rocking chairs.

A couple of us met for a HH drink before dinner, and it's hard to beat the price of $5 signature cocktails until 7pm (my "Grown and Sexy" was a normally $10 Grey Goose, Pomegranate and Lemonade, and was pleasantly not-too-sweet).

As for the food, we were of more mixed opinions. I think the final consensus was that it was good, but not great, and there were better places to get southern/soul food in the city. The few that tried more New Orleans-type dishes proclaimed Acadiana the winner in that category (although Eatonville is significantly less expensive). One friend who had just returned from NO had a hard time with the etouffee, but the gumbo was pronounced satisfactorily spicy and roux-ey (I know I made that word up, but it is the best description). My catfish, greens and grits were definitely good, but nothing out of this world. I would echo the poster above that said they lacked in flavor of jalapeno or cheese. A few splashes of Texas Pete helped out both the grits and greens. The side of mac and cheese was also just so-so...certainly cheesy, greasy and tasty, but nothing to make it great (or really worth $5 for the side I would say).

The portion sizes are fairly large, especially for the price, and I'd give it another try to taste a few more things on the menu (I'm really intrigued by the Cajun Mushroom Loaf for some reason), but I'm not necessarily going to be hurrying back. Nothing necessarily bad...just nothing to make me sing.

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Myself and two friends ate dinner last night at Eatonville. Sunday night a little before 7pm, no wait. I love that they did not cram as many tables in as they could, the space adds to the atmosphere, which is already great due to the high ceilings and art. We split the hush puppy - it was just OK. The mac & cheese was spectacular - two of us had it because it came with our fried chicken. I loved my fried chicken because the white meat was super-tender and while the two pieces were juicy it didn't feel greasy at all. I'm not a big fan of greens but I liked these, maybe because they were salty. Our 3rd person had the burger, which looked good and was huge. Not a bad price - $118 for the of us before tip, and we all had a couple of drinks. I'll be back to try the rest of the appetizers. I was there during happy hour once and had one of their specialty cocktails, which I enjoyed quite a bit - they are 1/2 off during happy hour (regular price ranges from $8-$11).

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I am note sure why there have been no posts in 3 years. Must be that the food obsessed bloggers don't go here. We had brunch today and it rocked. Great atmosphere and space, lively and airy destination and very good food coming out of what seemed like a small kitchen.

We Ron had fried chicken, wife had a wild mushroom and spinach omelet and I had a Benedict variation with spinach. All taken to then next level with Cajun sides and lively spices. Drinks were great as was services.

I would go back again in a heartbeat. It helps that my son moved to Adams Morgan and it is much more interesting going to see him them in Our neck of the woods, Rockville, Bethesda and north Potomac.

icing on the cake was our ability to score a parking spot right outside. I had hip replacement surgery last Monday so walks are measured by the block for now.

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Celebrity chef.  She is from Nashville but went to Howard and then stayed in DC.  She's involved in a lot of projects.  I know, for instance, that Capital Teas sells her cookies.  I have no personal knowledge other than that her recipe for "green eggs and ham" is really good.  I think that was originally something she made on Top Chef.  I don't watch The Chew.

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Celebrity chef.  She is from Nashville but went to Howard and then stayed in DC.  She's involved in a lot of projects.  I know, for instance, that Capital Teas sells her cookies.  I have no personal knowledge other than that her recipe for "green eggs and ham" is really good.  I think that was originally something she made on Top Chef.  I don't watch The Chew.

It just seems she went from being non-existent to insta-celebrity, and I don't even know her background. I did meet her once, and she was very pleasant, but I don't understand the celebrity aspect (although you basically just answered me by saying "TV").

One of these days I'm going to form "The Rockwell Team" of non-celebrity chefs, and take on all comers. I'm expecting a result like the 92 Dream Team had in Barcelona.

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Eatonville left me with a great memory from 2014.  About 4 days after hip surgery we went to Eatonville as my son was living close by.  I took it like a trooper as this was my first long car ride and I was off painkillers and hadn’t had a drink.  I remember ordering a drink and they brought me a pitcher on the House.  They told me I needed it from the expressions I was making.

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