I mentioned in a post a few weeks back that I went to dinner with Rabia at Boss Shepherd's. She wanted to treat me to a celebratory dinner to bring in the week of my 30th birthday. Yes, "the week", because it really ended up being an on-and-off celebratory week. She told me I could pick any restaurant. Well, I have a huge list of restaurants that are ones I've heard good things about or merely wanted to check out. This was on my list of new restaurants in D.C. to check out. Southern, stick to your ribs kind of meals!
Their website seems so unassuming, but when you head down into this restaurant, and yes, down, because you walk in the doors and there are a set of steps immediately to your right that you head down. And, you're thinking "where are we going?," and when you reemerge, it's actually into a pretty and much fancier than expected restaurant. I mean now don't go pulling out your evening gowns and tuxes, I'm just saying it was a lot prettier than I anticipated, and the food options just sounded amazing.
As always, I had already scoured and read every detail of every dish on Boss Shepherd's dinner menu. But, I was stuck between the fried chicken and the steak. So, we ordered both to share. Before our meals even arrived, we were given a snack of pimento cheese and crisp flatbread. Pimento cheese is this quintessential southern dish of this creamy yellow cheese with pimentos (aka cherry peppers) mixed in - it's usually some processed cheese and mayo that forms the base, and different regions of the south have their own ideas of what to mix-in, from hot sauce to cream cheese to onions and garlic. But, this one seemed fairly simple, with a bit of onion, pimentos and the cheesy base. I enjoyed myself snacking away until the dinner arrived.
The star of the show was the fried chicken. I mean I have never had fried chicken outside of a soul food restaurant, that was this good. Usually restaurants of this caliber can't hold a flame to the delicious fried chicken that comes out of so many 'hole in the wall' style restaurants. But, this one was so crunchy on the outside and perfectly juicy on the inside. Phenomenal! The plate comes to you on a cutting board with three pieces (breast, thigh and leg), three different dipping sauces (egg yolk based, hot sauce, and honey mustard), and a delicious (and large) biscuit. We inhaled this chicken.
Boss Shepherd's Fried Chicken is a 12-hour brined half chicken, which probably accounts for why it's incredibly juicy.
Then we dove into the Bavette Steak, having no idea what a 'bavette' is. Apparently the bavette steak is an extension of T-bone and Porterhouse on the short loin. It was tender and almost like a flank steak. Boss Shepherd's version comes with a horseradish mixture and cauliflower puree, along with grilled romaine and preserved lemon buttermilk. I would have to say as much as I love the idea of 'preserved lemon buttermilk,' I thought it could be excluded from this dish, and in its place perhaps a more savory warm sauce. But, all in all a different and delicious dish.