New Cuban food joined the District right on time: at the beginning of the government shutdown. With a city filled with government employees, comfort food would be one of many disgruntled furloughed employees only recourses. Sophie’s has definitely done a good job at just that: offering the comfort that only plantains, Moro rice and Ropa Viejas can provide. I visited the newly opened restaurant on the first day of the shutdown and felt like I was actually sitting in a South Beach Cuban takeout versus in the middle of D.C.’s bustling Farragut North neighborhood. With temperatures in the 80’s and cubano’s piping hot from the kitchen, it was easy to see how one might be easily confused.
The tenderness of the Ropa Viejas would make you think you were visiting a white linen establishment instead of one that encourages denim apparel. The salmon is perhaps my second favorite on the menu (*especially as I each day inch closer and closer to the gym…I digress), where the staff clearly took care not to overcook and dry out the richness of the meaty fish. The empanadas are the star of the show, however, at Sophie’s. It was like a magic trick: how did they hide the amount of juice that dripped out in each bite where the empanadas showed no signs of sogginess?!? Beats me but Sophie, the owner, was not giving up the goods on this one when I pressed her for the answer.
Sophie’s roots are from New York like many restaurants that have joined the DC restaurant scene in recent years. Despite many that have joined the Districts restaurant family, I think Sophie’s will gain a DC personality all on its own and not attain the label of “New York offspring”. You know as well as I do if you live in Washington how much this city loves empanadas. Sophie’s will definitely garner the attention of these parts with the tricks they have up their sleeves with those empanadas.