A recent weekend of much brunching included a visit to the Art & Soul, suggested after a friend watched this WETA hour long documentary of Washington metropolitan area breakfast restaurants. Located in the Capitol Liaison Hotel, not far from Union Station, Art & Soul, a southern influenced restaurant has a chic, polished atmosphere. Chef-owner of Art & Soul, Art Smith, has served as personal chef to Oprah, and to former Florida governors Bob Graham and Jeb Bush. *For fans of Top Chef, Art Smith participated in Top Chef Masters. The décor of his restaurant is a mix of red and black and the walls have large modern red and black portraits. There are four-top and two-top tables and a row of cosy white leather cube like booths along the wall with room for three people.
The menu tracks chef-owner Art Smith’s specialty in southern cooking with one special flare, not seen often on southern menus, a health section (only at breakfast). You can expect to see staples of southern brunch, such as Chicken and Waffles, served classically with chicken gravy or kicked up with a maple syrup. There are omelet and frittata options served with mixed vegetables and goat cheese, delicious sounding lemon yogurt pancakes and smoke salmon hoe-cakes on the menu. The “Art Start” menu includes quinoa granola, oatmeal, a breakfast bar and an egg white omelet with cucumber tomato salsa and avocado cream.
At the start of the meal, you are presented with a warm basket of freshly baked cinnamon biscuits with a drizzle of white icing. I ordered the egg white omelet with salsa and avocado cream. This was my first (in now what might be a long line) of egg white omlets. The eggs were fluffy and flavorful and the fresh salsa was delicious. My fellow brunchers ordered the chicken and waffles (with classic chicken gravy, as recommended by the server) and the Chesapeake Benedict. Both loved the flavors of their dishes and agreed that Art & Soul is worth a revisit.
My tips – make a reservation if you are going after 11:00 AM as this is when the restaurant appears to start reaching capacity for Sunday brunch. As for the “Art Start” menu at brunch, while its online for breakfast, they apparently don’t offer it unless you request it for brunch.