Open Wednesday through Sunday from 6:30 p.m.; kitchen open until 1 or 2 a.m., bar until 2 or 3 a.m. AE,DC,CB. Food: Excellent home cooking, but avoid the seafood platter Style: Informal jazz club Price: Food reasonable, drinks expensive
If home cooking to you means fried chicken, corn muffins, potato salad or barbecued ribs, Pigfoot could be your mecca. The chicken is not just good - it is the best I have had in Washington: four pieces of lightly floured and crisply fried chicken, neither greasy nor dry. With it comes memorable potato salad, rich with eggs, zippy with onion and green peppers and sometimes pickle. The corn muffins, too, are delicious, crunchy around the edges and rich with shortening - lard, perhaps? There is more to recommend: large, smoky spareribs with a tangy sauce. And butterflied fresh fish fried crisp in cornmeal coating, cooked just through. What they do from scratch they do very well, but when Pigfoot fails, it fails dismally. The seafood platter, for instance, is the most leaden this side of the wharf. There is, indeed, a pig foot on the menu, but as such things go, it is hardly worth plowing through all the fat for the meat unless you know what you are doing. And as for the chitterlings, that is a dish that separates the tourists from the locals, and I am a tourist. Pigfoot keeps promising to have homemade crab cakes and sweet potato pie, but I have tracked them down in vain.
What they do have is lively jazz (with a $5 minimum during shows), and waitresses who are handling too many tables but doing it with incredible good cheer and capability. The room is too small for the number of tables, which are in turn too small for the food, but that is a jazz club for you. It is festive, with red tablecloths and walls covered with jazz paintings and prints and photos. Most platters run $5, and there are sandwiches for $1.85 to $2.85. drinks, on the other hand, range from $1.25 for coffee to $2.25 for cocktails. No appetizers, and only sometimes a desert. But you have to appreciate a menu that lists, "Bessie Smith special, Pig foot and bottle of beer" - only $3.25, at that.