Enter Hill Country Barbecue and you leave both hip D.C. and official Washington at the door. It’s just not possible to cleave to lofty attitudes and politicking when the Red Dirt Rangers or some such band are playing up a storm, as you make your way through a mess of dry-rubbed Texas barbecued ribs ("smoked low and slow over Texas oak"), skillet corn bread, and sweet potato bourbon mash. Upstairs is where you place your order in the cafeteria/kitchen, and then carry it to your seat, either in the large dining room adjoining the cafeteria, or to your table downstairs. I recommend the downstairs. That’s where the bands play and where the lively Boots Bar is. Families, however, will want to stay upstairs, and you should know about the Kids 10 & Under Combo deal: $7 for 1/8 chicken, mac and cheese or green bean casserole, and a chocolate chunk cookie.
- Elise Hartman Ford