Restaurant review: Boss Shepherd’s, near the Warner Theatre

Opening over the summer, Boss Shepherd’s has fast charmed its way to the top of the D.C. food scene. Diners and critics have warmed to Shepherd’s menu of stylized comfort food, including Tom Sietsema who recently knighted the restaurant as one of his top 10 in the Washington Post’s Fall Dining Guide.

Photo courtesy of Boss Shepherd's

Photo courtesy of Boss Shepherd’s

Located next-door to the Warner Theater, Boss Shepherd’s sits at basement level without a window to its name. While Shepherd’s may not have the best view in town, or any, the restaurant provides a subterranean, private club atmosphere that is self-contained and confident in its offerings. The dining area flows into a lively bar space, stocked with choice whiskey, a layout that turns Boss Shepherd’s into a convivial capsule and gives patrons the feeling they are right where they need to be.

Chef Jeremy Waybright, former executive chef at Union Street Public House in Alexandria, further balances Boss Shepherd’s welcoming exclusivity with a Come-on-in-Y’all menu of down-home American classics that also know their business. Whether you like it or not, you will leave Boss Shepherd’s having eaten something fried, and you will like it.

The appetizer menu demands attention. Fried oysters come on the half-shell sitting in a thin, delicious layer of caper mayonnaise with a bed of sea salt underneath. With a local emphasis – the restaurant’s name refers to a D.C. political boss from the Gilded Age – Boss Shepherd’s sources their oysters from the Rappahannock. The raw bar menu features clams, pickled shrimp and Maryland crab cocktail that go for a deal during happy hour. The chicken potpie fritters, fried ovals of warm home-cooking, also warrant an order as an app highlight.

If you somehow make it to entrées without ordering anything breaded, now is the time to break your streak. Chef Waybright’s Fried Chicken will change your opinion on the subject. Waybright’s preparation of the southern cooking staple doesn’t come in a bucket, but on a wooden butcher’s board with dipping sauces of egg-yoke hollandaise and hot sauce and honey for the biscuit. Often times the most appealing part of fried chicken is the skin’s crisp and flake, and while Shepherd’s version certainly scores on these points, the whole piece is also moist and flavored down to the bone.

The Heritage Pork Chops are a well-seasoned delight. The pork’s sides come with just enough char to give the pink meat a welcomed smoke. Caramelized cauliflower and baked apples dip well into the pork jus.

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Boss Shepherd’s
Open Monday – Friday 11AM – 1AM; Saturday 5PM – 1AM
Reservations strongly encouraged.
Price $30 and under
513 13th. Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Before bundling up to head out into the cold, make sure to fortify yourself with some liquid courage. Finish the meal with an adult Hot Chocolate, whipped and frothy, with a shot of your favorite after-dinner liquor. The warm cookies that come with the drink you will not hate.

Boss Shepherd’s sits too close to the Warner Theater not to visit on show night and is too good to ignore any other night. Their spruced-up comfort cooking is finger-licking good served on a white table cloth. When ready to eat like a boss, you’ll know where to go.

Richard Barry About Richard Barry

Richard Barry. I’m doing the twenty something thing in DC enjoying live entertainment, food and writing about it when I find the time



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