Imagine Y&H’s surprise when, just two hours after posting this item, chef Eric Ziebold was on the phone defending the decision to rename Cafe MoZU and identify it by the restaurant’s location within the District.

Ziebold was not at all defensive. He even agreed with my basic premise: that MoZU’s new name, South by Southwest, said more about the hotel where the restaurant is housed than the cuisine itself, which presumably will funnel Eastern Shore flavors. But he wanted me to understand where he was coming from. His concept, as you might expect from the City Paper‘s top toque, was pretty well thought out.

If you walk outside the hotel, he says, and into the D.C. neighborhood that is SW, you start to get a sense the slower pace that once marked this sleepy Southern town. You might feel it down at the Maine Avenue Fish Market, where folks still haggle over the price of rockfish, or along the Tidal Basin, where you can still take a leisurely walk.

South by Southwest will capture, in part, “this mindset of Southern hospitality and Southern ease and comfort, but in Southwest Washington,” Ziebold says.

Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental

More from WCP