If you ever needed proof that José Andrés is a genius, here it is. With Beefsteak (opening now at 800 22nd St. NW, with a second Dupont location coming in the summer), Andrés has done what all other chefs are afraid they cannot do: create a healthy, veggie-centric dining venue that is, and I am not exaggerating when I say this, off-the-charts, lines-out-the-door, crazy popular. Andrés’ success is the result of developing a restaurant that is not vegetarian, but veggie-centric, thereby not scaring off the meat-eating masses, by making the food customized and made to order, but still fast food, and most importantly by serving unbelievably delicious fare. Hold on to your hats my friends, but its true: vegetables can taste good!
Beefsteak is the witty name of this new restaurant, located at 800 22nd St. NW in Foggy Bottom. The restaurant is fairly small, with casual wood tabletops for those not taking their food to go. The menu features “composed and customizable bowls” where you either choose from the bowls they have put together, or you make your own, choosing from dozens of veggies which are cooked for you before your eyes, tossed over your choice of rice, quinoa, or bulgur, and doused with a whole host of sauces, dressings, and garnishes. The array of vegetables and toppings is so diverse, everything from avocado to corn to broccoli to potatoes to crispy fried onions, that there is something to please even the pickiest eater, or the diners with food allergies (vegans, gluten-free consumers, and those with nut allergies are easily accommodated).
To give you an idea of the dishes that can be created are the four composed bowls which include Eden, made with quinoa, snow peas, edamame, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cilantro, roasted garlic yogurt sauce, romaine and topped with cucumber salad, scallions, sprouts, toasted sesame seeds and lemon honey dressing; Frida Kale, made with rice, kale, black bean sauce, spicy tomato sauce and topped with cherry tomato, scallions, corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and lemon honey dressing; Kimchi-wa, made with rice, corn, carrot, cabbage, edamame, bok choy, roasted garlic yogurt sauce, and topped with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, roasted chickpeas, kimchi and soy ginger dressing; and finally Naked, made with yellow squash, potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, broccoli, roasted garlic yogurt sauce and topped with romaine, almonds, cherry tomato, radish and extra virgin olive oil.
Prices are reasonable, beer, wine, and fresh juices are available, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. Be prepared to wait in line: Beefsteak became more popular than every burger joint in the city the day it opened its doors.