On a cold, windy Friday night, I headed to Boss Sheperd’s in downtown DC for some comfort food with some girlfriends. Boss Sheperd opened in July 2014, next door to the Warner Theater. I had not heard much about the restaurant, until Tom Sietsema’s Fall Dining Guide was released at the end of summer and rewarded Boss Sheperd’s with a glowing review. I put it on my list of places to try, and when I heard they were celebrating “Boss Sheperd’s birthday” by offering their signature fried chicken for $18.73 at the end of January, decided to finally make my way over there.
When we arrived at 7pm, the bar was a surprisingly packed. Granted, this is an area of DC that I normally avoid due to the number of tourists who take over the entire sidewalk (why do people think it is acceptable to walk four across?), completely oblivious to runners and idea that people could possibly be trying to get to their destination in a timely manner. We posted up at the bar and ordered a round of drinks while waiting for one of the tables in the large lounge area to open up. The restaurant, which is located underground, has a warm, cozy ambiance to it with a old school vibe and the crowd ranged from large, loud groups of coworkers enjoying end-of-the-week-drinks, to couples on dates.
After about twenty minutes, the four of us were seated in the lounge area and served a complimentary plate of pimento cheese spread with homemade crackers to start. We all loved the pimento cheese spread and devoured the crackers within a few minutes. Our first appetizer was the pot pie fritters, which were fried balls of panko crusted chicken pot pie with a gravy sauce. They were warm and filling without being too heavy, although that may have been because we only had one each. I’m sure if I had eaten the entire plate alone (not unheard of) I would have had a different opinion about that. The sage sausage gravy was so creamy and flavorful that I wished I had a spoon instead of a fork to make sure not a single drop was left on the plate. And since I did not want to completely embarrass my friends, I resisted the urge to pick up the plate and lick it. Yeah, I’m a lady like that. Our second appetizer was the hamburger sliders (from the bar menu). I always love caramelized onions with my burger, and cheddar cheese makes me appreciate not being lactose intolerant, so these sliders were a solid choice.
Of course, we had to order the fried chicken (two orders). Each order is half of a chicken, served with fingerling potatoes and a buttermilk biscuit. The three large pieces of chicken (one breast, thigh and leg) for each order are brought to you on a wooden butcher’s board with three different sauces: honey, smoked egg yolk sauce (similar to a hollandaise), and hot sauce. The waiter recommended dipping the chicken in the egg yolk sauce first, followed by the hot sauce and honey. This chicken is phenomenal! The meat is brined and fried to perfection, with the flavor going all the way to the bone. Each bite filled my mouth with such succulent flavor and I savored every drop of juice coming out of the moist meat (if that sounds sexual to you, it’s because it’s supposed to). The skin was so crunchy and I picked up the pieces that had flaked off and ate them like chips (I am not kind of person is going to let fried animal skin go to waste). I wished instead of one buttermilk biscuit, there were 12 with each order because these carby nuggets were so buttery and fluffy. I slathered each bite with the egg yolk sauce and honey. We also ordered a side of roasted cauliflower, which made us feel slightly less guilty about inhaling so much rich food.
For dessert, we decided to split the sweet potato cheesecake and also got an order of the salted caramel ice cream..
The sweet potato cheesecake was so rich and fudgy but wasn’t overly sweet. I really liked the light and flaky crust, and the caramelized pecans which added some crunch to the dish. And of course, what is there not to like about salted caramel ice cream? It went perfectly with the cheesecake and was a great note to end our meal on.