Chickpea and black-eyed pea fritters at Art & Soul. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)


The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Spring Dining Guide.

The Art in the billing is celebrity chef Art Smith. The soul comes courtesy of Douglas Alexander, executive chef for the past two years. Lucky diners. Alexander’s affection for Middle Eastern food translates into Southern falafel, nubby fritters shaped with chickpeas and black-eyed peas and offered with two dips, one a bright yogurt, the other racy with chilies. Meanwhile, a surplus of quinoa in the pantry makes itself useful in a cilantro-laced, lime-ignited black bean salad, a super support for sea bass. I like the way the chef thinks. And I love his pot pie, rethought with braised rabbit, a light herbed gravy and a crisp puff pastry shell. Vegetarians can get in on the collards here; their depth comes from smoked paprika rather than pork. Not every dish soars — the lobster bisque is muddled, and the lemon tart is a miss — but given the many crowd-pleasers on the table, you can overlook some flaws in this hotel dining room. They do not extend to the personable service, by the way. Kenya Bailey, in particular, is an attendant worth cloning.

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Braised rabbit pot pie at Art & Soul. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Chocolate and salted caramel cheesecake at Art & Soul. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

2 stars

→415 New Jersey Ave. NW. 202-393-7777. .

Open: Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner daily, brunch Saturday and Sunday.

Prices: Lunch entrees $15 to $29, dinner entrees $24 to $43, brunch entrees $12 to $18.

Sound check : 69 decibels / Conversation is easy.

Previously (2008): 2 stars