Woodley Park’s first Black-owned restaurant is the place to be for Instagrammable cocktails, celebratory ambiance and upscale soul food.
With a flair for extravagance and a passion for elevated Southern cuisine, co-owner Chefs Lew McAlister and Pinkey Reddick were joined by the Bowser Administration to cut the ribbon at Flavorture’s historic opening ceremony in February. The restaurant specializes in five signature cocktails, hearty bottomless brunch offerings and soul food classics like collard greens, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and cornbread.
While a covered outdoor patio frames the front of the restaurant, immediately upon entering the shop, the center of attention is on the wall-to-wall, fluorescent bar. The bar spans the entirety of the left side of the room, while the right side of the room is filled with seating options adorned with green velvet chairs. Inside, the restaurant’s black walls accentuate the space’s dim lighting and draw attention to the luminous bar.
We arrived at 3 p.m. on a Sunday and bottomless brunch was in full swing. A DJ blasted music from the front corner of the restaurant, playing a mix of songs from 2000s hits to gospel music as patrons belted out the lyrics while dancing at their tables as they ate. Flavorture was at nearly full capacity when we entered, but the friendly owner helped us squeeze together seats at the bar and brought us a complimentary mimosa jug, an opening act to the true stars of the show – their signature cocktails.
Before diving into our cocktail drink orders, we mused over the menu. The brunch menu – which includes bottomless mimosas – is an all-you-can-eat buffet, priced at $85 per person, that features 17 items ranging from breakfast staples like deviled eggs, Belgian waffles and scrambled eggs to country classics like buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp and grits and a fried green tomato BLT.
The all-day menu offers more Southern comfort food with smaller dishes like honey butter cornbread ($3) and collard greens with smoked turkey ($9). For your entreé, select from hearty options, like the bone-in pork chop with a peach bourbon glaze ($34) or some Hawaiian crab fried rice with asparagus ($32).
We came to Flavorture for one thing and one thing only, their five decorated signature cocktails, worthy of a post on your Instagram story. Of their five cocktails – three are bourbon-based, the Orange Line, Red Line and DC Mule, while the 24th Street is tequila-based and The Woodley features white rum. We opted to share three of the cocktail selections in order to enhance our collective experience.
The first cocktail we sipped was the Orange Line, a blend of bourbon, orange, cranberry, rosemary syrup and peach bitters. The stunning and delicious drink did not skip out on presentation – garnished with a thick clove of cinnamon, an orange slice and a sprig of rosemary. But the cocktail’s flare did not end with its eye-catching garnishes and equally enticing flavors.
The real shock value came when the bartender placed the drink in a glass box on the bar in front of us and smoked it with a torch connected to the box. The box filled with smoke, and once the bartender was done, we opened the glass box to watch the grey haze pour out of its glass enclosure, filling the air with the aromas of each ingredient. The torching added a smokiness to the drink’s fruity flavor profile, burning the orange slice garnish. And the strong-yet-fruity notes blended harmoniously to create an impeccable experience.
Next, we sampled The Woodley, a combination of white rum, overproof rum, orange liqueur almond, cherry, lime and cinnamon. Filled with crushed ice, the sweetest drink of the three provides a sugary taste to contrast the savory dishes on Flavorture’s menu.
The hints of almond, cherry and lime subtly emerge and are equally balanced in the drink. Mixed all together, the fresh flavors and cold temperature offer a crisp sip that will make you want to order seconds after guzzling down your first.
Finally, we ended with the Red Line, made of bourbon, black walnut bitters, chocolate bitters and sugar. Served on the rocks, the balance of smoothness from the bourbon and the light hints of chocolate from the bitters cut through the strong drink. The combination feels almost reminiscent of dark chocolate, bitter and slightly nutty, with a touch of sweetness.
Prepared using the same smoking process as the Orange Line, the smokey notes complemented the body of the cocktail, elevating the drink to a new realm – almost mirroring the flavor of s’mores fresh off the fire. For bourbon lovers, this sugary option revolutionizes the typical bourbon on the rocks.
Flavorture elevates the brunch experience with its visually stunning, full-bodied cocktails and luxurious take on comfort food, ideal for rewarding yourself for making it through another semester.
This article appeared in the April 27, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.