By Priya Konings
As the world becomes more vegetarian-friendly, there is a lot to choose from in the realm of fine dining. Here are seven vegetarian tasting menus, one for each night of the week. The restaurants featured were selected for offering vegetarians menus that go way beyond typical vegetarian fare like salads, a collection of sides, or an overload of carbs. These meals elevate vegetables and prove that vegetarian dining can be fine dining. Meat-eaters, these menus are so good you may even way to give them a try. Don’t worry. We won’t tell anyone.
We recently sampled Table’s Meatless Monday menu and loved it. The food is above and beyond in flavor, and Chef de Pue utilizes vegetables, rather than fillers like bread and pasta, as a highlight of his dishes. The menu changes often, but right now he is featuring a buttery cauliflower menuire, served with capers and hazelnuts, as the main course. The four course menu is available for $45.
Chef Todd Gray’s vegan tasting menu was created at the request of his wife, who is vegan and who noted the dearth of upscale vegetarian dining in the D.C. area. Chef Gray’s innovative skills are put to good use in the development of his vegan menus, which change with the seasons. This winter he is offering treats like a cider glazed carrot salad, a fingerling poutine with leek fondue, and a sweet potato rosti. A wine pairing is offered for $45.
WEDNESDAY: Restaurant Nora
Restaurant Nora is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, and the comfy atmosphere is perfect for enjoying her three course vegetarian menu, which includes dishes such as a hearts of palm salad, black and white truffle pasta, and her famous molten chocolate cake. The menu is $59.
THURSDAY: The Source
The Source offers one of the most expensive vegetarian tasting menus in town, but the food is well worth it. Vegetarians will enjoy an upscale version of drunken noodles, wok roasted squash, pumpkin-miso soup, wok fired rice cakes, tofu and vegetables served in a mustard-yogurt sauce, and more. The menu is seven courses and costs $125, or $190 with wine pairings.
FRIDAY: Elizabeth’s Gone Raw
Elizabeth’s only serves dinner one night of the week, you guessed it, Fridays. The menu is raw and vegan, and unbelievably good. The food is innovative and unusual, but the use of fresh, seasonal vegetables and Elizabeth’s remarkable knack for creating beautiful dishes means that you will be satisfied by your meal from beginning to end. The menu is $75 with an optional wine pairing for $50.
Rasika is one of DC’s most popular, and most heavily reserved, restaurants so there is no better way to have the best Saturday night ever than to go to Rasika and try their six course vegetarian tasting menu. Rasika’s innovative Indian cuisine is a treat for the eyes and the palate; you will adore the crispy palak (spinach) chaat, you won’t be able to get enough of the matter (pea) tikki (patties), and you will marvel at the array of dishes in the fifth course, which includes okra, spicy lentils, and a wild mushroom coconut milk curry. The menu is $60 dollars, with an optional $45 wine pairing. A four course menu is also available for $50 with wine for $35.
SUNDAY: G By Mike Isabella
Most people think of G as a sandwich shop, not realizing that in the evenings the restaurant offers a decadent Italian tasting menu. On Sundays they offer a Sunday Gravy dinner that is served family-style for just $40. Even better? It is super vegetarian friendly. The menu is three courses, and includes a lavish first course with seasonally cooked vegetables and fresh buffalo mozzarella. The main course includes your choice of hand-cut spaghetti with a sweet tomato sauce or cacio e pepe pasta. The main course comes with garlic bread and veggies for sharing as well. Dessert options change often, but are always classic, like ice cream sundaes and tiramisu. The optional wine pairing is also recommended.