Six ways to eat like a boss along Washington D.C.'s U Street CorridorFrom its legendary beginnings as "Black Broadway" thanks to the jazz that emanated from nearly all of its buildings to today's status as a cultural mixing pot and entertainment hub, the U Street Corridor has been at the heart of Washington, D.C. for years, even if it doesn't always draw the attention of other tourist hot spots in the city.
U Street has grown into a food-lover's paradise, with a variety of drool-worthy dishes from top-shelf restaurants (and dives) that span the globe. If calories don't matter and you're ready to treat yourself to some of the best U Street has to offer, dig in to these over-the-top dishes on this food run that will leave you staggering, but sated, when it's all said and done.
Ben's Chili Bowl — Chili half-smoke
Look, D.C. law says that if you're on U Street, you must stop at Ben's Chili Bowl, or else. And why wouldn't you drop in to this landmark restaurant, where everyone from presidents to pop stars has pulled up to the counter for one of the city's most iconic dishes. The half-smoke, created in 1958 by the restaurant's namesake, is a blend of pork and beef sausage topped with mustard and onions, and slathered with Ben's signature chili. You will order one and want two, so stop messing around and double up from the start.
Compass Rose – Khachapuri
This street food restaurant incorporates cuisines from around the world, including Peru, Lebanon and India. But the star of the show at Compass Rose comes from Georgia (think Eastern Europe, not the ATL) in the form of khachapuri, a deviously simple, but addictive dish. Quite simply, it's a pizza boat. A pizza boat, people! Made with dough, cheese, an organic egg and a slab of butter, it's all mixed table-side by your server and then left for you to devour.
Doi Moi — Salad
This seems to defeat the purpose of our high-octane food tour, but the salads at this cool Vietnamese spot will leave you in tears. Not because they are so beautifully composed, which they are, but because they're so damn hot. You might not think of salad as a heat conveyor, but Doi Moi's salads are no joke. From the green papaya to the mushroom-herb, every bite is filled with punch-you-in-the-mouth combinations of spices and flavors. The menu rotates frequently, but keep an eye on things labeled "phet mak" for off-the-chart spiciness.
Dukem — Doro Wat
D.C. has a huge Ethiopian population and U Street has been dotted with a collection of restaurants serving that cuisine for decades. As one of the original and best, Dukem has been serving flavors of home for expats and introducing Americans to the zesty flavors of Ethiopian food for years. One of the best aspects of this cuisine is you eat with your hands, and the spicy, savory doro wat is a great example. Comprised of braised chicken and hardboiled eggs served on injera, you'll get messy while eating and love it.
The Fainting Goat — Goat Po Boy
You can't go to a restaurant with "goat" in the title and not have said protein. There are several tasty options on the menu at this bustling spot, but our choice is inspired by the way folks in New Orleans eat everything (we're guessing): the po' boy. Bursting with shredded, jerk-accented goat, breaded shrimp, crème-fraiche coleslaw and piled on a semolina roll with pickles, this Big Easy-inspired dish is a mouthful that will make you rethink the way you consider goat. Actually, probably not, but it's still really good.
Ted's Bulletin — Boozy Milkshakes
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This new twist on old diners is oozing with comfort food favorites, but there's no better way to wrap up this gluttonous food tour with a drink: specifically, one of Ted's boozy milkshakes. They have an array of spiked flavors, including Bananas Foster (with rum), Peppermint Junior (peppermint schnapps), Nutty Professor (hazelnut liqueur) and Irish Caramel Coffee (Irish cream). But Mocha, with its coffee-Kahlua mix, is the tastiest milkshake on the menu.
Elliott Smith is a freelance writer/editor who lives in the D.C. suburbs but gets into the city quite often. His work has appeared locally in the Washington Post Express, the Washington Times, MLB.com and PressBox DC.