Donburi is a Japanese restaurant located at 2438 18th St NW in Adams Morgan (Donburi also has a food truck). It is not a sushi restaurant; it’s a small, counter-serve restaurant that specializes in katsu bowls (breaded and fried chicken, pork, or shrimp over rice with veggies). I ordered a mixed pork katsu and shrimp katsu bowl. The service was super quick and the bowl was absolutely delicious and satisfying. At $11, it was also very reasonably-priced. This a unique place for DC and is an ideal spot to stop in for a meal that is quick, filling, delicious and inexpensive. It’s certainly the best quick bite in Adams Morgan (sorry, jumbo slice places). The people are friendly and the minimalist decor gives it an authentically Japanese vibe. Highly recommended.
The Tortilla China
China Chilcano (China rhymes with Tina in this case) is a Peruvian-Chinese-Japanese fusion restaurant located at 418 7th Street NW. China Chilcano‘s food is based on the immigration of Chinese and Japanese people to Peru; they brought their culinary traditions with them but adapted them to suit the ingredients that were available. The food is absolutely delicious and innovative. I once went for a business lunch and we ordered one of the tasting menus, which provided an amazing overview of a large portion of the menu items. Last time I went, I had brunch which was also great. The brunch menu itself is small, but involves cool fusion options as well. The regular menu is also available at
The Ceviche Clásico La Mar
lunch. I ordered the Tortilla China (Egg foo yung, Edwards smoked ham, fresh crab, scallion, jicama, bean sprout, oyster sauce), which was like a tasty Asian-influenced Spanish omelette. I also had the Ceviche Clásico La Mar, which is made with a daily selection of fresh fish- it was great. My friends ordered the Lucky 12 dim sum tower, which is an awesome combo of three different types of Peruvian-accented dumplings. China Chilcano is a bit of an off-the-beaten track choice for brunch and doesn’t have the standard chicken and waffles fare. While there were a good number of people there, it wasn’t packed, making it a great choice for a unique brunch that isn’t especially hard to get a table at. Cool, minimalist decor and super friendly staff add to the experience. Our server, a Peruvian, took great care of us and was enthusiastic about explaining the menu and offering suggestions. At the end of the meal, he gave us all samples of chicha morada, a deliciously sweet sangria-like beverage (though alcohol-free) made from purple corn and spices.
Colony Club is a coffee shop and bar located at 3118 Georgia Ave NW. It is located in a cool, sleek space and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for it’s single-origin pour over coffees. This is definitely a quality spot, but it is pretty cramped and (at least when I was there) it can be difficult to find a seat.
Roasted is a coffee shop open during the day on weekdays located inside the nightclub Capitale at 1301 K Street NW. This is one of the best coffee shops in the city and I appreciate the place’s entrepreneurial spirit; it’s located inside a nightclub next to Franklin Square in the heart of Downtown, which is bustling with business people during the day. What better use for a space that is dormant during daylight hours than to open a pop-up style coffee shop in a
neighborhood that craves caffeine but lacks options that aren’t chains. Roasted’s friendly baristas serve up a massive menu of espresso creations with clever names, many of which satirize politicians. I had “Rubio’s Razzamatazz” which was a delicious chocolate raspberry latte (chocolate and raspberry is one of my favorite combinations). Other options include “Martin O’Malley’s Mint Mocha,” “Lindsey Graham Cracker Latte,” and so many others. I steered clear of the “Santorum Shortcake Latte” as anyone who’s ever googled Santorum would do. Those who can’t decide on one from the menu can order the “Independent’s ‘Insert Here’ Latte and design their own. There is cozy seating and a calm ambiance, which makes this a great (and rather bougie-looking) escape from Downtown. I love this place, and I’m pretty glad not too many others in the Downtown office crowd have discovered it yet. It’s only a matter of time.
Grand Trunk is an Indian-inspired fast food restaurant located at 641 Indiana Avenue NW, right next to the Navy Memorial. This place serves a mixture of South Asian dishes, such as chicken tikka and dal, alongside Indian-American fast food fusion dishes, like the Grand Trunk Naan Burger, which is probably their signature item. The Naan Burger is a delicious kebab-flavored patty, topped with Indian accoutrements like cilantro and different chutneys and served in naan. My only gripe
The naan burger.
about it is that cheese is $1.50 extra (though it really doesn’t need cheese on it since there are so many other flavors in play). They also have a wide selection of dessert naans, including the cinnamon sugar naan with cardamom (my favorite spice). The cinnamon sugar naan was delicious and huge, but the amount of filling in it was inconsistent; a portion of it was loaded with filling, whereas in the rest it was just brushed on. Overall, this place gets major points for innovation and for making things that you don’t see elsewhere. The decor is also pretty cool and Disney-esque (if a little tacky). There was, however, a weird pile of cushions stacked on the side of the restaurant, which was a bit haphazard for what was otherwise
Cinnamon sugar naan.
a sleek and cool space. In addition, their website has very little information and says “coming soon.” I think this reflects their intention to grow the business as a chain, but it could confuse some into thinking that the Penn Quarter location isn’t open yet. It was also weirdly quiet when I went around 7 pm, perhaps because it’s not in a very lively evening location; one wonders why they didn’t set up shop in Adams Morgan or U Street instead. This place has lots of potential and I’ll definitely be back; it just has a bit of fine-tuning to do.
Yummy … Yum Food is a Persian food truck; for their location, check Food Truck Fiesta. In the interest of being fair, I should note that I am more inclined to be harsh when I am disappointed by a cuisine that I know and love. As a student of Farsi and a Middle East enthusiast, I happen to be a big fan of Persian food. Sadly, Yummy … Yum Food, despite having a friendly Persian owner and a really cutely decorated truck, simply didn’t make the cut. They commit what (for me at least) is a cardinal sin in pandering to the American idea that all “Mediterranean Food” is the same. Never mind that Iran is nowhere near the Mediterranean- it’s all Greek to most people. In addition to traditional Iranian kabobs, they serve falafel, gyros and Greek salad, none of which is even remotely Iranian. So, when I ordered my kabob (using its Persian name) I was not surprised that the nice Persian owner offered me tzatziki sauce and feta on it. Seriously, food truck owner joon, you and I both know better. Persians do eat yogurt sauce with kabobs, but would never call it tzatziki, and while Persians do eat feta, it does not belong on a kabob. Still, I was hoping the kabob would at least be good. Sadly, it lacked the charred on the outside and juicy on the inside texture you should expect from a good Persian kabob. For that, you’re much better off going to Moby Dick House of Kabob.
Coffy Café is a coffee shop located at 3310 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights. It is a rather average place, with a decor that is trying to be 1960s, but comes off a bit shabby and haphazard. The coffee menu is pretty standard, but it does have good WiFi and ample seating, which makes it a fairly good place to work. Overall, this place is a decent spot to stop in, but I’m still looking for a truly great coffee shop in Columbia Heights; I’m not sure if one exists.
Petworth Citizen is an American bar and restaurant located at 829 Upshur St NW. It is a cozy, dimly-lit space with hearty food options, such as the chorizo burger (which is very tasty). They offer a daily punch (mine was made with blood orange and was delicious) as well as a wide variety of other drink options. They offer a $7 drink special called “Chutes and Flutes,” which sounds dangerous- it’s a champagne flute of Miller High Life and shot of bourbon (mercifully in a separate glass). Petworth Citizen also has
The Chorizo Burger
an adorable reading room, which is basically a small library tucked away in the back of the restaurant. The books are all organized by color, which is a cool effect. I’m not entirely sure what the reading room is used for. They also told me they don’t have public WiFi, which I found odd; I think getting some work done while I enjoy some “Chutes and Flutes” sounds like a great idea!
The Reading Room
Harrar Coffee & Roastery is an Ethiopian coffee shop located at 2904 Georgia Ave NW. Harrar takes great pride in presenting a wide variety of Ethiopian coffees to customers- it even offers little cups so that customers can taste their coffees for free. They’re not about pour-overs or loose-leaf teas (they serve Tazo) and their espresso drinks menu is confined to the standards. It has WiFi, outlets, and tables, but the mood is more storefront than cozy. The vibe is pleasant, though, as a result of the friendly staff and beautiful pictures of Ethiopia. They also serve delicious, mildly spicy lentil sambusas, which are a nice change from the
So many to sample!
scones and cookies available at most other coffee shops in the city. If you are looking for a scene, you’re better off at Maketto or Colony Club. If you’re looking for pour-overs, you’re better off at Qualia Coffee. But if you want to experience a slice of Ethiopian culture (many of the customers are also Ethiopians, which means the coffee is authentic) and something a bit more interesting than the standard independent coffee shop, head to Harrar!
A tasty Ethiopian sambusa!
Astro Donuts and Fried Chicken is located at 1308 G Street NW (there is an additional location in Falls Church, VA, as well as a food truck whose location can be found on Twitter). They serve absolutely delicious donuts, as well as fried chicken and fried chicken sandwiches served on unglazed, plain donuts. I have had both their maple bacon donut, which is phenomenal, as well as their chicken BLT sandwich. The chicken blt sandwich is fried chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato served on a donut- it is an utterly delicious and satisfying lunch but I have no desire to know what its calorie count is. Ignorance is bliss. They also serve coffee but don’t really have seating, so it’s not the sort of place where you can hang out. It’s a great place, for a fattening breakfast or a comfort food lunch (which those of us who work downtown could use sometimes). It also doesn’t seem to get as jammed as other downtown spots, despite its popularity (probably because it’s not the sort of stuff you should eat everyday if you don’t want to die of a heart attack at age 40). Highly recommended (in moderation- or not, #yolo).