As you know, upscale restaurants are really my forte, but the amount of planning it takes to get into the nice restaurants in DC can exhaust anyone. Sometimes, I just feel like taking off to a less popular area and checking out an established restaurant that has been around for a long time. That's what brought us to Bardia's New Orleans Cafe. Well, that and the fact that I saw that they'll serve Cajun vegan!
The New Orleans Cafe was the first to bring Louisiana-style Cajun cooking to Adams Morgan. Chef Bardia Ferdowski lived and worked in the French Quarter of New Orleans until he decided to bring New Orleans to DC. The cafe opened in 1992 and has been there ever since.
We headed over for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. It is your typical divey type place in DC with its old style awning and colorful exterior. Inside, the cafe is very small. With red walls and old wood tables and chairs along with a full bar, this place has some oldschool character. We immediately inquired as to the vegan options. The vegetable jambalaya, vegetable creole, and Mother Nature can be made vegan while the vegetable etouffee and vegetable linguini can not. The gumbo appetizer can also be made vegan. Both the chef and the server recommended the Mother Nature so we ordered as directed.
I started with a mimosa and was delighted when they gave me the rest of the champagne in the single serving bottle. That's a good deal for a $7 mimosa.
The Mother Nature was a dish loaded with cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots stir fried in olive oil with Cajun spices and covered in a tomato sauce. It was served with white rice and white bread. It was a fine dish, but I wouldn't say it was necessarily anything special. It was just a fun low-key meal in an off-the-grid cafe.
At one point, I wanted to use the restroom and found I had to go into the kitchen to use their restroom. This really is a tiny place.
So, I checked out the New Orleans Cafe and it was fun, but I won't be going back anytime soon. The food was fine, but I think I could make the same at home. And for an $11 entree, I could do better at a Busboys and Poets. Next time, I'll check out another oldschool dive.
Bardia's New Orleans Cafe
2412 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009