EATONVILLE

In DC,  this past weekend  was a celebration of  a brand of music known for strong bass and percussion – Funk Parade.   Parliament, James Brown,  EWF and many others musicians all played funk music. People born and raised around the 60’s or 70’s grew up in the most popular days of funk music.    A lot of people know DC for its political scene but actually funk music has its roots in DC too – legendary musician “Godfather of Go-go (a subgenre of funk)”, Chuck Brown,  developed his music in DC.  It was so much fun to see thousands of smiling faces, enjoying good music outdoors on a nice sunny Saturday.  There were cool marching band battles at the end of the parade and after that we enjoyed more funk music at almost every corner of U street before we headed down to 14th Street and U.

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After walking for an hour in the parade, we continued our African American culture experience and went for some Southern cuisine at Eatonville. It is named for Zora Neale Hurston’s Florida hometown and the country’s first, post-Civil War, African American incorporated town and the focal point in her most famous work, Their Eyes Were Watching God.  Eatonville owner, Andy Shallal also owns a DC local favorite Bus Boys and Poets. In 2009, Andy opened this Hurston-inspired restaurant at a strategic location  to mend a decade-old literary rift between author and her contemporary, Langston Hughes, whom  Busboys and Poets is named in honor of. The two Harlem Renaissance writers collaborated on a comedic play, Mule Bone, but the friendship turned sour when they fought over copyright privileges. Since the restaurants are directly across the street from each other, the owner sees it as a chance to reunite the two writers.    It has been almost more than five years since I first visited this restaurant and so I was excited to be back.

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Eatonville’s high ceiling makes the restaurant feel spacious.  The pretty chandelier adds an elegant feel to the wall art murals that surrounded the interior of the restaurant.  The overall decor gives off a renaissance feel and  somehow blends very well altogether.

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The meal started with  a complimentary cornbread which was on point.  The thin crust outside was nice and crispy while the inside was moist and soft. It tasted freshly baked and yummy! It was so good I wish I could make my own cornbread.

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We decided to try Hush Puppy $10 for appetizers.   The presentation was nice. But the taste was just okay.  The crust on the outer shell tasted slightly burnt.  To be honest, the shrimp didn’t taste that fresh and it was overpowered by the creamy ramoulade sauce inside. My hubby said traditional hush puppies do not have ramoulade sauce, so this must be Eatonville’s own take on the classic.  I did like the fried onion toppings though.

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Fried catfish,  cajun fries and jalapeno-buttered grits $21  Hubby ordered  this classic dish and enjoyed it. It was lightly breaded and not greasy at all! It was perfectly crispy and tasty.  Cajun fries was equally delicious while the jalapeno-buttered grits was super creamy. If you like creamy, you’ll love this grits.  To me,  it tasted like a spoonful of milky flavored cream.

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From their tradition menu selection, I ordered the pecan crusted rainbow trout and chose dirty rice and cajun fries as sides – $19.  I enjoyed my order a lot. The pecan flavor was not overpowering but it gave a nice crispy crust to the fish which was quite moist inside.  Dirty rice was flavorful and it was obviously cooked in flavorful broth.  Mixed with the dirty rice is sausage.

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Eatonville Restaurant
2121 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-9672

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