With vegan dining options exploding around D.C., it only seemed right that your favorite vegetarian food writer bring you a series of updates on new restaurant openings, vegan menu changes, and new vegan dishes available in the city. Read on to find out where to get your veg on.
Fancy Radish brings a fully vegan fine dining option to the city
When the team behind Vedge, the renowned vegan fine dining restaurant in Philly, decided to open a spot in DC I knew we had made it as a national culinary destination. Fancy Radish is basically a foodie dream come true – whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or a full-on carnivore. Its wildly creative – everything from elegant rice-stuffed avocado to noodles swirled in a miso carbonara sauce and mushrooms cooked so delicately they melt in your mouth is a hit. I went with two friends and we ordered everything on the menu and everything was amazing. I’m totally serious. And contrary to popular belief, even though it was vegan there was no salad, no “rabbit food,” nothing raw and no granola. It was just damn good food – which even my meat eating friends agreed to. Just be sure to make a reservation – this place has been packed since its opening this past spring.
Pow Pow goes totally vegan
When Pow Pow first opened two years ago, I chalked it up to yet another average fast casual dining venue. The menu featured a host of Asian-inspired veggie and non-veggie rolls and bowls, none of which seemed particularly interesting. Then, in May 2018 this small venue made a radical change: it eliminated all meat and dairy items from its menu. For one month only, the venue decided to offer a entirely vegan menu and lo and behold, the menu was so wildly popular owner Shaun Sharkey decided to keep the vegan-only menu permanently. As soon as I heard that I went running, and gorged myself on fries smothered in kimchi and nori-infused ketchup, fried “chicken,” fingers, egg rolls, and sweet and sour seitan. You should gorge on this food too.
Shouk opens second location
I knew Shouk was going to be a wild success from day one. The first time I tasted their cashew labneh, their fresh pita bread and their polenta fries I was sold. When they added their veggie burger – literally a veggie burger as its made only with vegetables, no soy or tofu – and their vegan omelet, I went from fan to groupie. Clearly, DC agrees with me, as the place has become so popular that owner Ran Nussbacher has opened up a second location near Union Market in May.
Melting Pot adds vegan fondue
So I never thought I would live to see this happen but the unthinkable has actually occurred. The Melting Pot, the national fondue chain that has locations in Arlington and Gaithersburg, now has a vegan fondue option. You can get vegan cheese fondue (made with daiya cheese), a veggie fondue entree, and vegan chocolate fondue for dessert. Veganism is officially mainstream people.
Little Sesame relocates
It’s kind of hard to imagine that a bowl of hummus would be life changing. But the lines out the door at Little Sesame for the last two years said otherwise. The tiny basement shop churned out the creamiest hummus in town, with vegan toppings like summer corn, salt roasted celery, preserved lemon, pomegranate molasses, roasted squash, crispy chickpeas, and more. Having developed almost a cult following, many locals were understandably pissed when the shop closed last year. Looks like the owners heard the distress call, because the venue is about to re-open at 1828 L St. this summer.
Beefsteak introduces the beyond meat burger
You know Jose Andres’ only fast casual chain, Beefsteak, is my jam from its motto: vegetables unleashed. In addition to a series of soups and salads, the popular chain is known for its tomato burger and beet burger, which are actually made with whole slices of tomatoes and beets. Just this week they are also introducing the faux joe burger: made with beyond meat (if you don’t know what beyond meat is, the most popular meat substitute ever, then I can’t help you), tomatoes, avocado, and vegan chipotle mayo. Sold.
Equinox serves vegan eggs
And they don’t taste like fake eggs. They taste like real chicken eggs. Chef Gray is using the Just Egg in a scramble with mozzarella on a mini-English muffin and huevos rancheros with pico de gallo and if you didn’t know you were eating mung bean, you’d think you were eating eggs, which is the point. -Brandon Wetherbee
Toki Underground’s new menu is very vegan friendly
We recently sampled some of Toki’s new summer menu. While it’s highlights include smoked salmon steam buns and yaki soba with bacon, cabbage, scallions, fried egg, the best thing we ate was the shiitake dan dan mien. It also happens to be vegan, something we didn’t notice until after we ate it. Consisting of pan fired shiitakes, miso chili paste, sesame, roasted cashews, cilantro, beni shoga, and scallions, the shiitake dan dan mien is the dish we asked for again. -Brandon Wetherbee
All words by Priya Konings unless noted