Friday, May 22, 2015

Evolve Vegan Restaurant, DC

VSDC has been holding some pretty cool happy hours lately and I was excited to join them for their first happy hour at Evolve. Evolve has taken up shop in the former Everlasting Life space as it is really just a new vegan restaurant concept by the same owner. They still have the vegan chick-un and mac and cheese that everyone loves from Everlasting Life along with take-out options, but this restaurant has some nicer dishes and cocktails too. Keep in mind that my visit was on a special night when they were busier than normal due to the special happy hour.

When I arrived, there were only a few people seated. Seeing how small the restaurant was and how many people were expected, we quickly grabbed a seat. There is a large bar area and just a few high tops and a few regular tables in this small establishment. The decor is much nicer than the decor of the very casual Everlasting Life in Maryland so it is clear they were going for a different look and feel. The high ceilings made the space feel larger than it was and lightly colored walls with contrasting evergreen paint made it feel warm and inviting.

At this event, they had arranged for a special buffet to serve the amount of people that were expected. For just $5 they offered one vegan drumstick and two sides from which you could choose mac and cheese, collard greens, kale salad, or couscous. Having already had many of those items at Everlasting Life, I went for an order off the menu instead.

The menu, which at this time was not online, was very enticing. We recognized some of the standard dishes from Everlasting Life, but a few new ones really caught my eye. Some of the entrees offered are Beijing Fried Rice, Risotto, Seaweed Wrapped Soyfish, Southern Barbecue Tempeh Sandwich, and Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe.  Old stand-bys included macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and the chick-un sandwich. I placed my order and tried the house Cabernet. It was one of the best house wines I've ever had.

The social event was bustling with over 60 people so service was naturally slow. This was not a typical night so I definitely wouldn't ding them for this. When our entrees arrived, we were impressed with the presentation.  I ordered the Thai Market Special, which had sauteed organic vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and squash. None of the vegetables were overcooked so they tasted quite fresh. The tofu was grilled and had great flavor. But, what really made this meal was the abundant, creamy ginger cashew sauce and sriracha.  It was also topped with cashews and served with brown (mahogany) rice. It was quite delicious.

Chris ordered the Southern Fried Chick-Un, which was also very good. The vegan chick-un was battered and deep fried with an amazing batter and was served with BBQ sauce. It was very hearty and had a great texture. As the side, Chris ordered the incredibly filling vegan mac and cheese -- a house favorite, which was as good as it always is. If only they'd give out this secret recipe! Hint, hint!  We found this meal to be quite heavy as it came with four pieces of chick-un so I'd recommend that you order a vegetable as well. It is with no doubt a hearty meal.

I have to say that my experience here got me excited about a new vegan restaurant in DC and it's been a long time since I've been able to say that! I absolutely can't wait to come back and try other items and I encourage you to as well. They weren't cheap at $12 and $14 respectively, but well worth it. This is now one of my favorite vegan spots in the DC metro area.

341 Cedar Street NW
Washington, DC 20012
(202) 882-8999

Evolve Vegan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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