I am going to put this out there - I'm not a southern girl. I don't want to dress up to go to a college football game. Y'all doesn't come out of my mouth every time I am referring to a group of people. The obsession with the Confederacy baffles me. And I'm not used to the mannerisms of that part of the country. But, there is one thing I could get used to, and that is the food.
Although DC is close to the South (Virginia is basically an extension of the District), it's not so close that you can find a lot of true Southern cooking. But, if you journey over to U St, you will find Oohs & Aahs which feels as if it has been plucked out of the South and transplanted here. Everything about this place reeks of a grandmother's kitchen in Alabama or Georgia or another state in that part of the country. The staff treats you like family and wants to make sure that you are happy and leave full. Even the dining room feels like it is a dining room in a house. The chairs are mismatched and the tables are different shapes and sizes - it's not conventional, but it is part of what gives Oohs & Aahs its personality.
The menu reads like a "what's what" of Southern cuisine. You can get everything from fried catfish to rib eye steaks to fried chicken - and those are only the main dishes! The sides absolutely delicious. The mac & cheese is gooey and hot, the cornbread is extremely fresh and the yams are so rich that they may as well count for dessert. It took a long time (and lots of questions) for my friend and I to decide what to order. Ultimately we chose the "two meat" combo with two sides. I chose to get the bbq beef short ribs and she got the crab cake, and we decided on mac & cheese and yams for our sides - we each spent about $14 for a large portion of food. My short ribs were so tender that the meat was falling off the bone. The crab cake had barely any filler (a rare occurrence in these parts). And the yams may be one of the most delicious incarnations of potatoes that I have ever had.
When my friend and I left Oohs & Aahs it was as if we were going from one world to another just by stepping out the front door. The food was outstanding and filling. Was it the most healthy food ever? No way. But was it memorable and delicious and a part of the South that I could get behind? Absolutely.