The way CityZen chef Eric Ziebold describes a sou’wester — a "quick change in direction and the burst of new energy" brought on by winds hailing from the southwest — pretty much sums up how different his new restaurant of the same name will be from the elegant CityZen. And for that matter, the Mandarin Oriental's Cafe MoZu, which Sou'Wester is replacing in September at 1330 Maryland Ave. SW.
Forget tasting menus and Asian motifs. To get your mouth watering on this Monday morning, here's a peek at what will be on Sou'Wester's homey Southern-inspired menu: blackened bluefish with Cajun rice, fried chicken with coleslaw, chicken and dumplings, sautéed perch with Old Bay chowder, poached egg with creamed grits and sweetbreads (um, yum) and sides like beer-battered onion rings, hush puppies with honey butter and tater tots.
Ziebold is leveraging the talent at CityZen for the new venture. His chef de cuisine Rachael Harriman will head the kitchen, pastry chef Amanda Cook will create desserts like fried apple pie, and former CityZen captain Carlton McCoy will head up the beverage program.
The new restaurant will serve breakfast (yay!), lunch and dinner daily. They're going after a casual lunch crowd with soup, salad and sandwich combinations and dishes such as shoat rillette with pickled green tomatoes, and sautéed pork belly and pickled watermelon rind. Breakfast, served daily from 6:30-11 a.m., will feature omelettes, pancakes and waffles.
The major concept overhaul also includes the decor. Out will go MoZu's sleek Asian-inspired look in favor of earthy colors and a farmhouse feel.
Bring on the hush puppies.