Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Flavors

flavorSome say that soul food earns its name because it is nourishing not only to the body, but to our very being because it offers up warm, delicious and familiar foods that remind us of home. If that’s the case, then Flavors is undoubtedly a second home to many diners for its excellent take on comfort food favorites.

flavorSome say that soul food earns its name because it is nourishing not only to the body, but to our very being because it offers up warm, delicious and familiar foods that remind us of home. If that’s the case, then Flavors is undoubtedly a second home to many diners for its excellent take on comfort food favorites.

The restaurant is located on a hard-to-find side street off of Columbia Pike, in a shack set back from a very small parking lot. As in its cuisine, the dining room is without frills – dated red vinyl chairs pushed beneath nondescript tables within the small space. But somehow, between the chair rail wood paneling and the smell of fried food wafting from behind the counter, memories of bars and hometown restaurants past make customers feel right at home. That comfort carries over into the meal.

The dinner menu comprises several meat-and-two-sides deals for around $13 each. The main courses include fried and barbecue delights in pork, chicken and fish, and the sides bring in all the home-style favorites. Rounded out with the choice of rolls or incredibly moist cornbread, the meal is hefty, and even the healthiest of appetites can be satisfied by this spread.

Diners shouldn’t come too hungry, though, because some dishes – including the must-have fried chicken – come at a 20-minute delay. But the wait time is a small price to pay for made-to-order food, and when the food finally makes its way to the table, patience is rewarded.

The meat and sides are piled high atop a disposable plate and served with flimsy disposable utensils, which poses a bit of a challenge when digging into the large portions of meat.

The restaurant is at its best when it comes to cooking up fried foods. The fried chicken, in particular, hides well-cooked meat beneath a layer of impossibly crispy, flavorful breading that isn’t so thick, mealy, or doughy that it overwhelms the flavor of the meat. But their barbecued meats are also commendable, especially in the hickory smoked barbecue ribs. A wonderful smoky flavor runs through the ribs, and the meat pulls away from the bone, begging diners to dig their teeth in.

The side dishes support the all-star main courses, and some – the collard greens and macaroni and cheese – nearly steal the show. The greens are not soupy, but stacked firm, leaf on top of leaf, in a peel-apart pile of delicious, smoky, savory forkfuls. In the macaroni and cheese, tender noodles are pulled together in a rich, creamy, stringy mound of melted cheese that defies diners to leave a single bite uneaten. There is nothing instant about this mac and cheese – this dish took time, and it shows.

For those who won’t be content without having a bit of something sweet to end the meal, the restaurant also serves homemade pies and cobblers, but diners should resolve beforehand to save some room for dessert before digging into their gigantic meals.

With wine, beer and the almighty sweet tea at the ready, Flavors is a great casual dining option for hungry patrons who want all the charm and caring of a home-cooked meal without lifting a finger.

Flavors is located at 3420 Carlyn Hill Drive, Falls Church.  For more information, call 703-379-4411 or visit flavorssoulfood.com. Restaurant hours are  Tuesday – Friday: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 5:30 – 9 p.m.; Saturday: 2 – 9 p.m.; and Sunday: 1 – 7 p.m.