Oh, HipCityVeg. After visiting your restaurant in Philadelphia, I wanted nothing else than to have you in my city. A vegan, fast casual restaurant, with unique, delicious sandwiches -- yes, that was what we needed in DC. So, after hearing you were coming to Chinatown, I went down and waited in line on day one -- opening day, June 2016.
There was free food to be had, so the wait was at least 30 minutes and, in the end, we got our food and left. This was many, many months ago. I've been sitting on this review because I was having flashbacks of the Native Foods experience. Native Foods was a great restaurant 20 years ago. After having beens sold and developing low quality chains across the country, they failed miserably. And after opening several restaurants in DC, they all shut down within 1-2 years. It was sad.
After I got back to my office, I pulled my Ziggy Burger out of the bag and dove in. I was so disappointed. It tasted like a plain Gardein burger with thousand island dressing. Later, I confirmed that that is exactly what it was. I can buy a Gardein burger in the grocery store and make it myself. I did not need to pay $10 for that. And the sweet potato fries were limp and way too salty. I began to wonder if this place was another Native Foods.
I also was looking forward to the desserts I got in Philadelphia. So, I ordered a cookies and cream cupcake. Little did I realize, this was a cupcake from Sticky Fingers locally, not from Philly. Sigh. I love Sticky, but I can get that cupcake any day.
So, I didn't go back for six months. Recently, I placed an order with one of many food delivery services, Caviar, to give them another try. If they are using Gardein burgers, then perhaps I should order something that doesn't have faux meat in it. So, I went with the Bistro Bella, which is a grilled portobello mushroom with herb dijon glaze, olive tapenade, red onion, arugula, tomato, and artichokes. Now this one was a winner. And, honestly, I think the tapenade and the fantastic burger bun made the sandwich. Again, I got the sweet potato fries and, again, they were soft, but not too salty this time. The black bean sauce they came with was good, but runny.
I also ordered an Arugula Taco Salad. Unfortunately, it already had the dressing on it and I wanted to eat it the next day. I nixed that idea and had to have it for dinner. It had black beans, grilled corn, pico de gallo, avocado, tortillas, and cilantro dressing. The avocado was almost completely brown when it arrived (I threw most of it away before I took this picture) and the dressing was way too runny. It was meh.
Also, I didn't mention that I got a wrap back when they first opened too that was not good. I can't even remember which one.
In case you weren't counting, I was. That's one good meal out of four. I worry about this as I talk to my friends who have had similar experiences. I only hope they improve the quality of their food as I have high hopes for this chain in DC. I'll keep trying, but I'll only try so many times before I'll throw in the towel. What has been your experience?
712 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001