Photos By Nicholas Karlin, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Best for: downtown lunchgoers that want a healthy meal while avoiding all human interaction
We’re moving. BYT is going from Shaw to downtown. Goodbye, The Royal. Hello, food trucks. And hello, machines.
The food at eatsa seems like it would encourage the most amount of customer interaction. It’s healthy fast food. The space is bright and welcoming. It feels more Swedish than American. It could be the fast food of the future. It could also be assumed that the people behind eatsa maybe thought a different administration would be occupying The White House. When I think of healthy, vegan friendly, affordable downtown lunch options, I don’t think of Trump.
We visited eatsa the same day some folks took over a crane and hung a RESIST banner. Restaurants aren’t inherently political but it’s difficult not to think about the Oval Office when you can see The White House from your table.
The experience at the fast casual (it’s not fast food because your order isn’t as quick as McDonald’s but it’s presented in a box not unlike hospital vending machines, but it’s made to order so it’s casual?) establishment is as friendly as an experience with no humans can be in 2017. You slide a credit card, pick what you want, pay for what you want and your food is presented from a box. It is odd but not cold. If you’ve ever ordered food from a screen at an airport, you’ll understand. If you have questions, one of two human workers not making food can assist.
The food is not what you’d expect from a box. It’s fresh and warm and vegetarian. Food from boxes is typically stale and lukewarm and made from mystery meats. We tried three bowls: Aloha Bowl, No Worry Curry and Toscana Bowl.
We were most excited to try the No Worry Curry. We were most let down by the No Worry Curry. The curry flavor was barely present. No flavor was overwhelming or well seasoned. It was lacking in nearly every aspect. The bowl is big so if you’re willing to doctor it up back at the office, it may be worth the cost. It looked much better than it tasted.
The Aloha Bowl is eatsa’s version of a vegetarian poke bowl. If you like ginger, give it a try. If you dislike ginger, why are you ordering poke bowls?
The Toscana Bowl was good and I will order it again. Warm, hearty and a deal at under $7, the cauliflower, quinua, squash and more concoction features minestrone at the bottom of the bowl. It’s unexpected and great for chilly afternoons. If you’ve just worked out (and I have a feeling a lot of eatsa diners work out and count calories because calories and protein is listed with every dish) and need a hearty lunch, this is for you.
Eatsa is a downtown lunch destination targeted towards the kind of people that read BYT. Will it succeed at 1701 Pennsylvania Ave NW? Probably. Does the eatsa management wish someone else was at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave NW? Probably.