The DC “DCocktail” Series highlights the food, ambiance, and most especially the cocktails at restaurants in and around the District of Columbia. We find out about the background of the cocktail menu and how the restaurant uses it to make its mark on the nation’s capital.
Serving Washington D.C. for over 20 years, Vidalia (1990 M St NW, 20036) is nestled at the corner of 19th and M near Dupont Circle. Vidalia specializes in American food delivered with ‘southern hospitality’ and they do so effortlessly.
What I loved about Vidalia’s cocktails was that each cocktail had a corresponding southern anecdote and history lesson. For example, their “Sherman’s Necktie” (bulleit rye, cocchi vermouth di torino, r & w peach, bittermens hellfire habanero shrub) is named after a railway-destruction tactic used in the American Civil War.
Fighting for the Union, William Sherman burned railways by heating them until they were hot enough to twist into loops resembling neckties, often around trees so they were no longer usable. Quite the historical tidbit!
I tried 3 cocktails: “Sherman’s Necktie,” “Department of the Navy” and the “Ben Baker.” Each was so different and equally delicious.
The prices are on par with other DC bars with prices ranging from $10-$15, but go during happy hour, which ends at 7, to get cocktails at a discounted price.
Each dish I ate had the perfect hint of southern flair. Priced at $6.50 each, I tried their Barbecue Shrimp (served with cornbread) and Chesapeake Sugar Toads.
What are sugar toads, you ask? (Don’t worry, I asked myself the same thing!) They’re simply fried fish! I had never heard of them but I thought they were so cute…and delicious too. The sauce they’re paired with…yum!
I wish I could have tried more of their dishes but I’ve vowed to come back for a full dinner experience soon.
The ambiance was so old school DC yet felt modern and I loved it. I sat alone at the bar and felt perfectly comfortable but I must admit, the mood lighting and intimacy made it feel like the perfect place for a date.
I love how the southern theme flows throughout the restaurant, right down to the cocktail names. While I loved everything about Vidalia, I’m not sure it gets as much recognition as the ever growing population of newer restaurants in DC, and that should change. The food and drinks were classically American but with a southern accent done right.
Picture Credit: Ashlee Tuck and Vidaliadc.com