Monday, April 19, 2010

All Vegan Cafe Green Opens in Dupont

Cafe Green is open. The Java Green-related, totally vegan restaurant quietly opened about 10 days ago and has been serving up meals in a nicely appointed 17th Street NW location. I can't believe they already have a Yelp page. (Aside: I really dislike that website. It's being sued for extortion and the "reviewers" are often unfair, nonfactual, or don't give new places like Cafe Green a chance to get their act together.) Anywaaaaay... moving on.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but at this moment, I believe Cafe Green is DC's only table service, all vegan restaurant. I went for lunch, but they serve dinner as well.

The menu is heavy on raw items and is not identical to, but very much influenced by Java Green's menu. For example, there are veganized Korean appetizers, like mondoo (dumplings). The rest of the menu is composed of hot and cold soups, sandwiches and various entrées. I am not a huge raw food fan, but most items are fairly conventional, like the raw kale and mango salad. Obvious, but you just don't think about it; most salad is raw. So, raw dishes based on whole vegetables, I can do that. Raw lasagna and such, that's a stretch for me.

For all the soy or gluten free people, there are plenty of dishes for you and even one (or actually I think two or three) that are vegan AND soy free AND gluten free. I will be curious to see how much of the Java Green menu they end up bringing over. Cafe Green is supposed to be a little more upscale and have its own identity, so expect the dishes to be a little more nuanced and complex. The menu is a bit jumbled and the kitchen is still ironing out the kinks and seeing what dishes work better than others. They are very open to your feedback and suggestions.

The restaurant consumes two floors of a three story row house, plus a patio on the ground level out front. The first floor has a bar and the second floor is more expansive with a mix of 2 tops, 4 tops and a large, round communal table in the middle. There is a fire place as well, but not sure if it will ever hold a fire. The location is great. The address is 1517 17th Street NW, right along restaurant-club row in Dupont. Cafe Green is located between P and Church Streets, bordered by a Dunkin Donuts and Mr. Yogato. The location can't be beat. If the food is good, they will make it. And if the lunch lines streaming out of the door at Java Green are any indication, Cafe Green will be a success as well. Good luck guys!