The Founding Farmers' chef, Joe Goetze, has made some impressive changes to the menu since my first review of their restaurant. My main criticism was that their focus was making everything fresh in their restaurant including their breads, yet the vegan menu was largely comprised of Gardein-brand meat analogs. I ended the review stating that I wished they could develop their own vegan burger. Well, they have done that and then some.
Their new vegan menu is really extraordinary. They now offer six housemade vegan entrees that are all on the main menu. You no longer have to ask for the special vegan menu, which is nice.
On this particular occasion, I was with a group of five other coworkers and funny enough, we were seated at the same booth I had been seated at on a previous occasion. I started with a lemonade as I perused the menu. With so many choices, how is a vegan to choose? They are now offering polenta with roasted red peppers and eggplant, white bean cutlets, Farmers artichoke and chickpea gunny sack, tomato cider glazed meatloaf, gardener's pie, and a vegan bacon burger. Wow.
We started with some pickled vegetables of the day, which included green beans, fennel, and carrots. They were fine, but nothing special.
I finally decided to order the white bean cutlets. These were amazingly good. They used white beans to form cutlets, then breaded and pan-fried them and placed them atop a veggie succotash in spicy broth and topped with avocado. The succotash was made of many veggies including squash, green beans, dates, potatoes, cauliflower, and corn. It was absolutely divine!
I liked it so much that I made reservations to come back the next week to try something else. This time I ordered the polenta. This polenta was prepared with fresh rosemary and a lot of oil and roasted until browned on both sides. It was served with a ragout of chunky eggplant and red peppers. I actually would have preferred for the veggies to have been cut smaller. It was tasty, but not nearly as good as the white bean cutlets. The lemon arugula salad on the other hand was really delicious. The citrusy taste of the lemon dressing was complemented by coarse sea salt and the spiciness of the arugula. There were also chopped yellow beets, cucumbers, and grapes. This salad had some very nice flavors.
All in all, I am impressed with the new meatless menu at Founding Farmers. They have done an excellent job with improving these offerings. The service was somewhat slow both times I went as it was during their busy lunch hour and the prices are pretty high at $12-$18 per entree for lunch so this isn't a place I would go regularly eat at during lunch. That said, for dinner, I think it would be perfect. You should put this restaurant on your list of places to eat in Washington, DC.
Click here to see my first review from July 4, 2011.
1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006