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Honeysuckle, Chef-Owner Hamilton Johnson in the Former Vidalia Space at 20th and M Street Downtown - Closed Apr 6, 2019

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I know it's not really fair to judge a restaurant after one lunch, and an RW lunch at that, but since it's been open too long not to have a thread, I will anyway.

The simple description, and I apologize to the current team that may or not being trying to avoid comparisons, is that it's essentially Vidalia with slightly different decor.

And since I loved Vidalia, I mean that in a good way. Really, if you had told me I had just eaten at Vidalia after an interior makeover,  I'd have no reason to doubt you.

Started with a delicious basket of banana bread with whipped butter and a fruit compote.

First course:

Chesapeake Sugar Toads

new orleans bbq, popcorn grits, pickled okra

Essentially a poor man's shrimp and grits, except that I prefer sugar toad to shrimp any day of the week. If you've never had sugar toad (a little Chesapeake Bay puffer fish) before, you should. The only place I've had it before is, well, Vidalia. It's got a taste and texture somewhere between white fish, crab and shrimp, and was perfect with the toothy grits and sauce.

Second course:

Confit Duck Leg

corn & tasso ham maque choux, duck sausage, pickled peach jam

A perfect rainy day course. A nicely meaty leg with crisp skin...the sides had a touch of sweetness that cut through the duck really well.


Finnish Aura Blue Cheese

concord grapes, rye bread, candied walnuts, spruce tip honey

Simply a great combination of flavors and textures.

So again, I hope I'm not insulting Chef Hamilton in any way by saying, in a obviously small sample size, that this place tastes like a re-born Vidalia. I'll certainly be back.

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20 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Would you consider Honeysuckle "Fine Dining," and how much Nordic influence did you notice there?

The decor is a little more casual, but the food is certainly still what I'd consider "fine dining."

As for Nordic influence, there was nothing I saw on my plate that made me think of anything but Southern. Maybe the rye bread in the dessert?

If you look at the dinner menu, there are touches here and there that sound more Nordic.

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We enjoyed our dinner here--it was definitely "American with Southern accents", in my view, and not "Southern with Nordic accents". But still well done. The duck confit risotto was absolutely delicious, a rich and creamy dish that was extremely comforting. We also had a beef short rib with grits that was fantastic. I would happily go back here regularly, if given the opportunity. 

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