This is eating for the environmentally conscious at its best! These three top picks for organic restaurants, believing in respectful food standards and ethical practices, encourage dining that is both healthful for you and the planet.
1. Cashion’s Eat Place – 1819 Columbia Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-797-1819 – Pricing: Apps, Soups & Salads: $8-$15; Entrees: $22-$32.
This restaurant’s concept is to use local sustainable farming products, all sourced as close to home as possible, for both fresher food and a lower carbon footprint. During interview, part owner and manager George Manolatos stressed the importance of organic and sustainable farming measures on the preservation of land, emphasizing the necessity for rotation of crops to protect the soil. They receive their free-range meats from Bev Eggleston of Eco Friendly Foods, a leader in the trend for good living standards and the reduction of overpopulation of animals. Manolatos also believes in only purchasing fish from small, local fisherman using a single rod & reel as opposed to net and long line fishing. This measure safeguards the sea floors and sanctuaries from damage as well as from a haul of useless and/or illegal seafood.
Cashion’s most recent special in demand is their Korean style curry and sour pork belly accompanied by a cabbage salad with fresh chili, cilantro, peanuts and other fresh ingredients, topped off with a lime dressing. Customers actually complain when the item is removed from their daily changing menu. Despite the popularity of the pork belly special, my favorite menu item is always the duck. Chef John Manolatos uses a Muscovy duck breast, searing it skin side down to render the fat and slightly crisp the skin, cooking it to a succulent medium/medium-rare. Whether it is available with the seasonal roasted peaches or the poached rhubarb, you will not be disappointed. For both options, the reduced fruit liquid is combined with butter and juices from the foi gras for a flavorful sauce, and a 1½ oz. piece of foi gras finalizes the plate.
Should they not have a vegetarian or vegan item on the menu when you visit, rest assured; you can request one and they will individually create one for you on the spot.
2. Dino – 3435 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: 202-686-2966 – Pricing: Apps, Soups, Salads: $5-$14; Entrees: $9-$48
The owners of this restaurant are big promoters of local farms and agriculture, listing, for your pleasure, their resources and suppliers directly on their website homepage. They admit that though it can cost a little more to support these local suppliers, the quality and distinction in taste make all the difference.
Dino is a local favorite for sensational, rustic Italian dishes. Their selection of cheeses and wines further uphold their commitment to traditional Italian meals. My two most desired dishes on their diverse menu are the Cinghiale, a large helping of stewed wild boar and pork belly, and Arrosto D’Orata, a superbly grilled whole fish of which I eat in total – eyeballs and all. Both dishes are rich and balanced in spice.
3. The Wild Orchid – 200 Westgate Circle, #104, Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-268-8009 – Pricing: Apps, Soups, Salads: $5-$12; Entrees: $18-$36
If you’re willing to stray about 20 minutes outside the metro for some good eats, The Wild Orchid in Annapolis and its selections of regional favorites is what you’re looking for. They believe in all that is local and the sustainment of the Chesapeake Bay community.
This restaurant uses fresh ingredients to create wonderful and artistic dishes. From local, sustainable oysters farm-raised on the Eastern Shore to cuts of venison from Shaffer Farms in Herndon, PA, the owners Chef Jim Wilder and Karen Wilder have created a dining experience of both light and hearty favorites. The local cheese plate is an essential pick, incorporating cheeses from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA with walnut raisin bread, fresh fruit and local honey.
For those in search of plates of the meatless variety, they also have a vegetarian portion of their menu. Be sure to try their Butternut Squash Ravioli with brown sage butter and bittersweet chocolate.