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Apr 20, 2010 10:37 PM

Responsible and Innovative Food??

Hey! Thanks to all the posts I've read over the past few days, I have a list of places I'd like to try while in DC in May for a conference. But despite my board searches, I have yet to find much information about 'responsible' restaurants - those that use responsibly raised and grown ingredients in their meals. Perhaps they just don't promote themselves as such? I try to cook with those type ingredients when I am home in Seattle; and although I will probably make a trip to Ben's (and maybe even to Ray's!), I don't want to have to base my diet for the week on overly processed menus. Any suggestions? I'll be staying close to the White House and am not afraid of the Metro!

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  1. If you are going to make a trip to the neighborhood of Ben's Chili Bowl, it's too bad you won't be going to one of the really great places to eat nearby.

    Oohhs and Aahhs for Soul Food: Grilled shrimp, lemon pepper wings, broiled crabcakes. Coastal Carolina cookin'.

    Etete or Queen Makeda for Ethiopian.

    Thai X-ing for dinner. A tiny, tiny two-table place. More like going to someone's home to eat. Red Curry Salmon. They now reserve the tables, so call in advance.

    1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Ben's Chili Bowl
    1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    Queen Makeda
    1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I seriously soubt that any of these places source their food locally, susutainably etc.

      1. re: fudizgud

        Yes, I was not addressing the sustainable issue, just the OP's plans of going out of the way for Ben's Chili Bowl - might as well hit a place that serves really good food in the same 'hood.

        Ben's Chili Bowl
        1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

      2. re: Steve

        Thanks, Steve. I hadn't heard of Oohhs and Aahs - sounds tasty. I was considering Ben's because it is a Dc 'Institution' . . . good to know of other places in the area!

      3. Someone recently asked a simular question. Here is the link to the discussion.

        1. If you wanted to take a train ride up to Baltimore ($7 on the MARC) for a visit to Woodberry Kitchen, we could show you the real thing . . .

          Woodberry Kitchen
          2010 Clipper Park Rd # 126, Baltimore, MD

          1. We have tons of locally sourced restaurants in Washington, but I am not sure that we have restaurants that promote themselves as responsible.

            For locally sourced you might try:
            Equinox- reopening in May after a major renovation, wonderful and very seasonal. Very close to the White House.
            Palena- in Cleaveland Park, an ex White House chef. They have a formal back room and an informal cafe where you can order off both menus.
            Restaurant Eve- In Old Town Alexandria, very good.
            Corduroy normally uses local ingredients.
            Cafe Atlantico tends to use a lot of locally sourced ingredients, but probably not all.
            Ray's actually uses local beef due to the huge quantities of beef and sirloin he goes through.
            Also in Virginia Liberty Tavern in Clarendon uses locally sourced and many homemade ingredients in their food.
            Also in Cleaveland Park- Dino tends to use locally sourced product.
            And Nora was the first certified organic restaurant and is very big on that subject. Uses local sustainable organic.

            I believe Farmers and Fishers in Georgetown also uses local sustainable product and maybe its sister Founding Farmers. Although I don't think they are as good as the above places mentioned.

            A lot of places just don't advertise exactly where each ingredient comes from, or go on and on about it because it doesn't tend to be a huge thing here. And being Mid-Atlantic East Coasters our growing season is more prohibitive of that sort of thing.

            Cafe Atlantico
            405 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

            Restaurant Eve
            110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

            Founding Farmers
            1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006

            The Liberty Tavern
            3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

            4 Replies
            1. re: ktmoomau

              Thanks, ktmoomau. This is exactly the sort of information I am looking for!

              1. re: ktmoomau

                Yes, very helpful for a locavore visiting DC!

                For future reference, other potentially local/responsible/ethical/seasonal restaurants mentioned were Hook, Blue Duck, Bar Pilar, Firefly, and Vermillion. Can't confirm validity though.

                Bar Pilar
                1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                1. re: globalgourmand

                  Blue Duck isn't all local, but it is sustainable food. And it's absolutely delicious - one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

                  1. re: kathleen440

                    Yeah, I would say our area is particularly hard to find all local. Considering growing seasons, weather patterns, traffic and the price of land for development vs. farming anywhere close to our area. I mean people commute to work in DC all the way from Frederick and Hagerstown and WV and the Eastern Shore of MD.

                    More and more artisan farms are popping up here and there which is good, but I am sure it is difficult for those who would like to do it. Especially considering the odd weather patterns we have had the past couple years which has not made for great growing even in our best season.

              2. Hook in Georgetown is a 100% sustainable seafood restaurant. I really like it. Next door is the more casual Tackle Box, also sustainable and a great lunch spot.

                A number of chef's in the city focus on locally sourced and seasonal cuisine. This includes the high end and delicious Equinox (also right next to the White House), West End Bistro, Bread and Brew (a certified green restaurant, good for breakfast, brunch or lunch), Restaurant Eve in Old Town, VA, PS7 (they use seasonal, local products in their cocktails!), and Darlington House.

                PS7 Restaurant
                777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

                Restaurant Eve
                110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

                Darlington House
                Washington, DC, Washington, DC