Tucked away on the first floor of an 8th Street residential tower is the downtown location of Teasim. I've just elevated them to the top of my lunch list. Actually to the top of my any-meal list. More days than not, the line reaches beyond the front door and onto the sidewalk. And although I've always found a seat, looking with a group can be nerve racking. Doesn't matter. The food is worth it.
I actually first went to Teaism for tea. Years ago. And that was at the Dupont location, which I believe is the original. There are now two others; one steps away from the White House at 800 Connecticut Ave NW and of course Penn Quarter at 400 8th Street NW. These folks are very vegan and vegetarian friendly. Bento box? Sure! Vegan burger? Yes. Kebab? With seitan even. Teasim goes the extra mile and indicates on their website which meals are veggie and vegan; and how to adjust meals to fit those requirements. That's excellent.
My all time favorite crack-like addictive dish is the seitan stir fry. I don't sit by the door anymore because every other person entering the restaurant looks at my plate and has to ask what it is, because it smells soooooo good. And I know I'm not the only one who likes this dish. It's not a secret. The seitan is pan fried in a savory sauce which sadly, I can't really do justice describing here. Trust that it's freaking good. Then, they add in spinach, rice and believe it or not, macadamia nuts. A nice ball of brown rice tops it off. Heavenly dish if I ever had one. Finish it off with a ginger beer soda. Perfect lunch.
The space in the PQ restaurant is a little cramped upstairs, but opens up nicely in the downstairs seating area. Lunch is always a crush there with people standing in line, then standing waiting for food, then doing the balancing act with trays trying to find a seat. If you're in a hurry, this is one of the few places that consistently gets food out fast and prepared correctly. You can get in and out without having to watch the clock.
So, here's to this place. Keep up the good work and keep that seitan on the menu!