Over time, they have gone through a few raw vegan chefs and the kitchen is currently occupied by Jonathan Seningen, Executive Chef. Best known for his stints at Hook and SAX in DC, he joined Elizabeth in 2012 to learn an entirely different way of thinking about food preparation. As his first position preparing raw foods, I'd say what he is doing here is extremely impressive. And for my first visit in over a year, I'd say he continues to improve his craft.
On this Friday night, as me and my date awaited the arrival of another couple we were meeting, we started with the Spice Quest cocktail -- one of my favorites. Soon, we were seated, then greeted by the Sommelier, Philip Heyser. As an eccentric, enthusiastic service director, Phillip Heyser brings an air of confidence as he promptly introduced the wine pairings of the evening. Phil really knows his stuff and is happy to take the time to discuss the different wines they offer and how they would best fit each person's palate as well as the menu for the evening. After hearing his spiel, Chris and I chose the full wine pairing with dinner.
At Elizabeth's Gone Raw, the drinks are the only choice you'll need to make. After that, it is smooth sailing as the prix fixe menu is presented course by course. This evening started off their famous kale chips at which point I was reminded that I hadn't purchased a bag of these in a really long time. I still think these are the best kale chips in the city.
The first course, the amuse, was a small bite of Black Truffle "Fried" Cauliflower served with a sun-dried tomato sauce, marjoram, and cashew cream. Who would have thought that black truffles and cauliflower could be so good? Wine pairing: NV Celine & Laurent Tripoz, Cremant de Bourgogne (2010).
Next up was a Sweet Potato Vichyssoise -- a cold potato soup made with sweet potatoes, carrots, carrot juice, avocados, and maple syrup with parsnip cappuchino foam on top. The entire table was raving about this one. There was a sweetness to it that was tempered by the parsnip foam in a way that is almost indescribably good. Wine pairing: Bedell Cellars "Taste White," Long Island, NY (2010).
Next was the Beet Tartare. This was shredded beets with sweet onions, capers, and cucumber atop a zucchini crackers made with flaxseed and a cashew cream with nutritional yeast. Excellent. Wine pairing: Clos Cibonne "Tibouren" Rose, Provence, France (2012).
The intermezzo was a sweet lemon and rosemary sorbet with sel gris and olive oil.
The entree was culinary art at its best. We are talking a Coq Au Vin -- traditionally a chicken dish in wine, but this one was made with wild mushrooms and red peppers with a coconut bacon served with a rutabaga sauce. This dish had so many different flavors that it just about blew our minds. What's amazing is that one can even envision something this creative, then make the flavors work together. Wine Pairing: Rex Hill Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (2011).
Lastly was dessert -- a White Chocolate Parsnip Cheesecake made with parsnip juice, coconut, lemon, and cinnamon. The crust was made of macadamia nuts and parsnip juice. And it was topped with a parsnip juice foam. It was amazingly rich and satisfying. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven by that point. Wine Pairing: Okanogan Estate "Orchard Hill Vineyard" Chardonnay Ice Wine, Okanogan Valley, Washington (2006).
Chef Seningen has certainly taken his training with Mattthew Kenney to great heights and is commanding respect in his kitchen. I feel like this restaurant is on par with that of Pure Food & Wine in NYC and I only say that as a complement as I have always regarded Pure Food & Wine as the best raw vegan restaurant in the country. The food at Elizabeth's is phenomenal and one can only leave there thinking about how complicated it must be to craft such extraordinary dishes. The wine selection is the best it has ever been as each wine not only complements the dishes perfectly, but is also just fantastic wine. For $75 per person and a $50 wine pairing, this is a more expensive experience, but it is one that everyone in DC should have at least once in their life. If you haven't been to Elizabeth's Gone Raw yet, now is the time to go.
July 8, 2011
September 28, 2011
March 5, 2012
November 19, 2012
Elizabeth's Gone Raw
1341 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20005