9 Rib-Sticking Comfort Foods in DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  November 25, 2013

With cold weather setting in, it’s tough to resist the powerful urge to hunker down with a blanket, a book and a bowl of soup. But on those nights when you do decide to venture out into the blustery winter air to forage for food, here’s where you can find rewarding, comforting, soul-satisfying dishes that are sure to stave off hunger - or even the blues.

  • When satisfying one addiction just isn’t enough...

    No list of rib-sticking comfort foods is complete without a mac 'n' cheese, so let’s just get that over with up front. We chose the version at Co Co. Sala since it not only delivers on cheesy high-carb goodness but also throws in a few extra vices in the form of chocolate-dipped bacon. This is the cure for any bad day.

    929 F St. NW; 202-347-4265

  • When you need everything but the fork to be fried...

    When your dog is sick and your shoe broke on the way to the Metro and you spilled coffee on your new white shirt - that’s when you’re likely most vulnerable to the Eamonn’s fry-everything philosophy. They don’t just batter-fry the fish; they give the same treatment to hamburgers, sausages, chicken bites, candy bars, bananas and dough. And of course there are hand-cut fries, which can also be ordered as the filling of a sandwich called the chip butty (yes, you read that right: a french-fry sandwich).

    728 King St., Alexandria, 703-299-8384; and 2413 Columbia Pike, Arlington, 703-920-0315

  • When you're looking for some heat from the Scoville scale…

    Since cravings for spicy foods tend to pop up during cold weather, why not opt for a bowl of chili that’s about as stick-to-your-ribs as it gets? Red Apron adds chili to its Mosaic District menu this Friday, a concoction that employs beef and pork shoulder rubbed with smoked paprika, chipotle, brown sugar, coffee and coriander. Additional layers of smoke and spice are introduced with rendered bacon fat. 

    8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax; 703-676-3550

  • When you’re missing Mama’s kitchen table...

    Founding Farmers’ grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup is a favorite at both lunch and dinner, when plates of the sandwiches filled with Gruyère, white cheddar and muenster cheeses fly out of the kitchen. It’s served on bread baked just down the street at the restaurant’s sibling eatery, Farmers Fishers Bakers, and flanked by fries or chips and the comforting soup.

    1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-822-8783; and 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, MD, 301-340-8783

  • When Theraflu isn't enough...

    Craving carbohydrates laden with simmered meats, melted cheese and fried bits is fairly universal. But you know you’re officially a Washingtonian when you wake up with a cold (or a hangover) and head straight for the pho shop. While there are many soothing bowls to be had in this area, Pho 75 has stood the test of time with its rich, aromatic, restorative broth.

    Arlington, 703-525-7355; Falls Church, 703-204-1490; Herndon, 703-471-4115; Langley Park, 301-434-7844; Rockville, 301-309-8873

  • Credit: Scott Suchman

    When you need to retreat to your cave…

    Pearl Dive Oyster Palace has you covered when nothing but a bucket of chicken to-go will do. With six dark-meat pieces of fried chicken, four scallion-corn muffins, and containers of spicy slaw and bacon-braised greens thrown in, there’s enough comfort to go around - if you’re inclined to share.

    1612 14th St. NW; 202-319-1612

  • Credit: Chris Granger

    When you're craving a taste of the South…

    New Orleans transplants need their occasional fix, and Acadiana is the perfect place for them to lick their wounds - and their fingers - when a Saints game doesn’t go their way. Then again, who wouldn’t feel comforted by a basket of biscuits with red-pepper jelly followed by a steaming bowl of New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp, drowning in garlic butter, black pepper and Worcestershire and served with a mini loaf of warm bread?

    901 New York Ave. NW; 202-408-8848

  • When bulky-sweater season is in full swing...

    One of Cava Mezze’s most popular dishes is a base of french fries topped with a ragu of short rib braised with tomato, cinnamon and a burgundy reduction - all topped with feta and kafelograviera cheese. It’s called kokkinisto on the menu, but we’ve dubbed it the Greek poutine.

    Capitol Hill, 202-543-9090; Rockville, 301-309-9090; Arlington, 703-276-9090

  • Credit: Rina Rapuano

    When nothing will do but buttery meat...

    Granted, it’s no Katz’s Delicatessen when it comes to height - but we’re not in New York, and the hot pastrami sandwich at Stachowski’s Market is probably the best you’ll find anywhere close to here. To be clear, we don’t consider this to be settling. Owner and charcuterie magician Jamie Stachowski has proven time and again that he is the meat master, and his gigantic, buttery pastrami sandwich is no exception - only exceptional.

    1425 28th St. NW; 202-506-3125