Restaurant – Live Oak

Picture from Live Oak

Apologies for the delayed post this morning.  I was being very productive.  I had my safety inspection done on my car, and I remembered having it done the year before at the same service center in my neighborhood just before we closed on the house.  Which means we’ve been there for nearly a year.  I also remember when there was a new restaurant that would be opening up nearby that we thought would be fun to visit – Live Oak.

Live Oak is a “Charleston inspired southern cuisine” restaurant, and that was appealing since we’d only recently returned from a trip to the “low country” that inspires so much of the food.  But somehow, life got in the way.  We had the girls, we didn’t have time, we were in DC and not in the neighborhood.  In any case, a couple weeks ago, the Boy said, “We haven’t been out to dinner in a while, let’s make a reservation”.  So we looked at what was available on Open Table, and I went, “Ooh – we still haven’t visited Live Oak”, and he said, “Done.”  Reservations were made, we were set.  I like when a plan comes together.

Picture from Live Oak

We ended up street parking a few blocks up, only to discover later that there is a small parking lot behind the shopping center at which Live Oak sits on the corner.  So that’s my first tip.  The interior is gorgeous – all cozy booths and well-spaced tables in the dining area, and a lively bar that was showing basketball tournaments with quite a few people hanging out.  I loved the wrought-iron “fence” that separated the two areas without making things too “separate”.

There was a terrific beer menu, and the Boy and I both managed to try new brews that we haven’t had before.  I don’t think there are quite as many breweries in South Carolina that distribute up to the DC area, but I had a tasty witbier from Right Proper in DC, and the Boy had one from one of our favorite breweries in Vermont – Long Trail.  After looking over the menu we decided that we were suddenly more interested in the special “for two” dinner that evening – two servings of scallops with turnips 3 ways (roasted, mashed, and… I’m drawing a blank) and peas.  This was definitely a good choice.  The scallops were so smooth and creamy, and the turnips were surprisingly delicious.  Who thinks about turnips and goes, “Yes – that’s a vegetable that calls to my soul”.  But the mashed turnips were so buttery, and the roasted ones crispy.  Definitely a good choice.

We got the dessert menu thinking that we wouldn’t order anything, and then we relented.  The Boy couldn’t decide on anything, so I made an executive decision that we’d split an order of chess pie.  He’d never had one before, so the opportunity to try something new and decidedly southern was fun.  It didn’t hurt that the two fruit sauces were lemon curd (his favorite) and blackberry coulis (my fave).  A perfect end to our meal.

While we were eating, the Boy told me that the previous restaurant in this space was called Monroe’s.  It was a much more casual space than the dining room we were in, and I think it’s nice that there was something different.  So many of the restaurants in Del Ray focus on being cute, family-friendly places.  Live Oak is decidedly adult without being unwelcoming towards children.  But it’s nice that there’s another more “upscale” (though not super-expensive) place in the neighborhood where we can indulge every once in a while.  And I know we’ll be back – hopefully it won’t take another full year to return.

Details: Live Oak, 1603 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA; Reservations online.

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