"You have been warned, right?" This was the question I was asked as we approached Khepra's Raw Food Juice Bar. Located in the slightly sketchy H Street NE area, I was expecting a bit of a dive, but the answer to the question was that I had not been warned about this place before.
As we stepped inside the Dynamic Wellness Center, I was intrigued by what I saw -- on the left was a beauty salon, in the center there were tables and seating, and on the right was African garb. Along the wall, there were supplements and unusual items for sale like Irish moss. Where the heck was I really? As we continued to walk through the randomness, we eventually found the cafe in the back of the building. Here we found a deli-style offering of salads that you could choose from as well as a couple people prepping food.
Luckily, my friends had been here many times before so they knew what to order. There were three entrees offered that day: Nut Hemp Burgers, Coconut Crab Cake, and something else that I can't recall. In addition, there were many, many sides. I went with the small plate that consists of one entree and two sides for $12 while my friends went with a large plate that consisted of one entree and a little bit of all of the sides for $15. I also ordered one of the fresh juices.
After we got our food, we sat down at one of the tables in the middle of the store. Surrounded by African masks and sculptures, we dug in. I ordered the Nut Hemp Burger, which was on a flat flaxseed bun piled high with some sort of nut sauce and fresh sprouts. It was very tasty and filling. Additionally, I had the seaweed spinach salad that was marinated in oil with red onions and olives. Despite being very oily, it was very good. I also got the cauliflower nuggets, which were spicy raw cauliflower nuggets. I enjoyed these as well.
While we dined, we talked a little about Khepra Anu and his origins (since he wasn't there). He is a self-trained raw foods chef who used to work as the chef at Senbeb Cafe, an old-school, vegan soul food cafe in DC. He recently opened this cafe in the up-and-coming H Street area. From what I've heard and read, he is very passionate about raw foods and fresh juices. Interestingly enough, he does not use a juicer there. Rather he mixes all of the fruits and vegetables in a Vitamix, then strains out the fiber creating juice. I ordered his gooseberry blend, which was an unusual, rich blend of juice with an interesting aftertaste.
I'm happy to see yet another place to find prepared raw foods in the city. While the juices at $9 per bottle, are pretty expensive, I think the small plate at $12 is appropriately priced. I think they could definitely improve on the decor inside the cafe/wellness center, but the food is pretty good. So, after you get your raw food and juice, buy some irish moss and popcorn, and don't forget to pick up some incense and a condom on your way out. You can find it all here at Khepra's.
Khepra's Raw Food Juice Bar
402 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002