Sweet Georgia Brown


I think it was Louie Armstrong that sang the song Sweet Georgia Brown. The lyrics to the music clearly identify that Sweet Georgia Brown was at the top of the leader board. The lyrics express it like this: “No gal made has got a shade On sweet Georgia Brown…”


At the end of the workday yesterday, a friend and colleague from Pennsylvania asked if we were going to dinner? I really hadn’t thought that far in advance, but I responded: “Sure, I’m open to going out for dinner as a group”.  Thus began the process of determining a suitable location for that venue.


My friend from Waco asked where I wanted to go.  Hands down, my recommendation for Mexican Food was turned down.   Of course, three of the four people who were available to go to dinner last night were from Texas. It was their consensus that we can get Mexican food anytime. The friend from Waco recommended a high dollar restaurant that has crab cakes as a specialty, but he couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant. On a previous trip, we had eaten at that restaurant. I remember that the food was both excellent and expensive. Consequently, when he couldn’t come up with the name of the restaurant, I was relieved.


Fearing that he’d eventually think of the name as he scanned a listing of restaurants on his phone, I turned to the friend from Pennsylvania and asked: “Do you have a restaurant in mind?” He replied: “I never come to Washington without having dinner at Georgia Brown’s. He added, the food is a little expensive, but well worth the price. It is Southern cooking.


I immediately had the thought of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans in my head. Sure, that sounded good, but expensive fried chicken didn’t. If I’m going to go for broke, I’d much prefer a steak. However, I kept my thoughts to myself. For better or worse, Georgia Brown’s was our destination for the evening.


The friend from Pennsylvania needed to retrieve his car from the parking garage, so three of us opted to walk while he moved his car. Consequently, we got to the restaurant before he did. To say that the place has ambience is an understatement. All you have to do is walk through the door and you intuitively know that the food is going to be good.


Some say Georgia Brown’s is an icon for Washington. The menu bills itself as a Fine Southern Cuisine. Nothing about the evening proved to be anything other than exceptional. The three of us who walked to the restaurant, were seated at a table to await the arrival of our friend.


As a first order of business, the waitress delivered a basket of cornbread and biscuits. I’m not sure that “Southern Charm” is the way I’d describe her persona, but she was delightfully memorable. Hers was a dry sense of humor and she was never out of character.


Maybe it was the luck of the draw, but she gave me more than my fair share of attention. Okay, I admit it. I was thirsty. The glass of ice water didn’t hold that much and mine was gone almost instantly. As she filled my water glass she made some comment with a cautionary word like “easy does it.”


Did I mention the cornbread was a perfect appetizer? Maybe that’s where the sound of Louie Armstrong singing Sweet Georgia Brown came to mind. The cornbread was sweet. It was also delicious. And yes, I had more than my fair share. I doubt that the waitress was my age, but she wasn’t far from it. I’d describe her as a grandmotherly. She cautioned me to slow down on the cornbread and save room for my dinner. Of course, by the time the friend from Pennsylvania arrived, there were only biscuits left in the basket.


Greeting the fourth member of our dinner party, the waitress said: “Your friend ate all the cornbread. She looked at me when she emphasized ‘your friend.’ I will bring you some, but don’t let him have any.” She then brought out a salad plate with one cornbread stick cut into four small pieces with a container of butter in the middle of the plate. He looked surprised. I guess we all did.


She returned a moment later with a full basket of cornbread and placed it in front of him. She then took a marker and drew a line on the tablecloth to serve as a barrier to keep the three of us away. She cautioned him, that he might need to watch me closely.


As we turned to the menu, the friend from Pennsylvania said, “I’d recommend the Louisiana ‘Devil’ Shrimp. I noticed that one of the highlighted features for the evening was a seafood platter. It included ‘devil shrimp’ as well as crab cakes. I don’t have the words to describe it. All I know is that in the future, Georgia Brown’s will be on my short list of places to eat in Washington. Being a creature of habit, I’ll opt for the seafood platter or ‘devil shrimp’.  Sometimes a “Little Expensive” is worth every penny your spend.


It was a splendid evening in that Nation’s Capitol.


All My Best!



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