Top Spots For Vegetarian Tasting Menus

written by Amanda on 02/24/2011

Thanks to talented chefs who know flavor doesn't have to hinge on meat, vegetarian diners have more and better options than ever around DC.

And when it comes to fine dining tasting menus, the city's tops chefs have taken the vegetarian challenge and answered with elegant and satisfying meat-free meals.

Take 2941, for example, where chef Bertrand Chemel offers a nightly six-course vegetarian tasting menu for $65 featuring dishes such as pearl onion stuffed with eggplant and red peppers, and chestnut velouté with Armagnac custard. Hardly the veg plate du jour some chefs used to pass off as an adequate meal.

If you're opting out of the carnivore clan, many places are more than happy to accommodate, especially if you call ahead to let them know.

But when you haven't made that call, here's a look at some of DC's best restaurants that always offer vegetarian tasting menus.

Cafe Atlantico
At the popular Nuevo Latino dim sum brunch on Sundays, the veggie tasting menu offers 12 dishes for $25 a person.

Chef Eric Ziebold packs as much elegant whimsy and flavor into his six-course vegetarian tasting menu ($95) as the regular menu.

Since there really is no menu at Johnny Monis' intimate restaurant, a reservation involves a conversation about food preferences, and the kitchen can do a vegetarian version of the indulgent $135 degustazione menu.

At this temple of Indian cooking, vegetarians can opt for chef Vikram Sunderam's four-course menu for $50 or a six-course menu for $60. (PS - A second Rasika will open at 1177 22nd St. next year.)

Restaurant Eve tasting room
The meat-less options on chef Cathal Armstrong's tasting room menu are popular with meat-eaters as well. There's always one vegetarian choice under each of the tasting menu's courses. Tasting menus start at $110.

Restaurant Nora
At Nora Pouillon's organic cuisine pioneer restaurant, the four-course vegetarian tasting menu runs $75.

The Source
Vegetarianism takes on Asian flavors on chef Scott Drewno's nightly veggie tasting menus, featuring seven courses for $135.

Tony Chittum's four-course vegetarian tasting menus win raves even among the meat-eating set. The menu costs $55.

In Frederick, Md., vegetarians will find creative options like a "study of parsnip" with bourbon gastrique or hedgehog mushrooms in farro risotto on Bryan Voltaggio's six-course market vegetable menu ($95).

In addition to his nightly six-course vegetarian menu for $65, chef Bertrand Chemel just added "Meatless Monday" specials, priced from $8-$19, to the menu.

Had a great vegetarian tasting menu? Tell us about it in the comments.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great list -- most of these I knew of (and have enjoyed), but didn't know about 2941 or Source. It's strange that upscale places can figure this out while many midrange places offer so little for vegetarians. Some diners can only do $$$$ tasting menus every so often, if at all

3/4/2011 2:34:08 PM EST
Amanda said...

I guess it speaks to the fine dining service mantra - that they want to go out of the way to please all guests and put a lot of thought in how to do so. I love that these top-notch chefs can prove too that meat-free can be really creative.

3/4/2011 4:27:57 PM EST
Anonymous said...

and ironically, many fine dining establishments are CLOSED on Mondays, "Meatless" and otherwise. I'd never go to a place for a "special" "Meatless Monday" if I couldn't enjoy a comparable meal any other day the place operates. And really -- why can't places put a minimum of 1 (and ideally 2) meatless options in some kind regular rotation instead of some ghetoized "special" day (and while I'm griping, can it occasionally be something other than risotto, pasta, or polenta?). I think some chefs deliberately omit meatless entrees like it's a badge of honor (ie Ba Bay). end of rant :-)

3/4/2011 6:08:14 PM EST

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