Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review: Busboys and Poets in U Street Corridor, DC

Update: Check out my newest visit to Busboys and Poets here.

After my last failed attempt at trying out Busboys and Poets, I finally made it out there again last Saturday night. This time, I went with a group of just two other friends and we opted for an earlier dinner, so when we arrived at 5:45, we only had to wait for about 15 minutes for a table.

Super, super busy!

Busboys and Poets is definitely an interesting restaurant; beyond just the regular dining area, there is also a bar, several small areas with couches and coffee tables for patrons to do some work while eating, a bookstore, and also a separate open mike room. The ambiance really does cater to the young "hipster" crowd and I wouldn't mind spending a few more Saturday nights there.

There are tons of really great wall art all over the place

Busboys and Poets' menu isn't too large and has a few choices of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and some pricier entrees. It's super vegan and gluten free friendly, while also having some great meat choices, so a great choice to go with a large group. I wasn't particularly hungry, so I just decided to get a salad. In the end, I narrowed it down to the Steak and Asparagus Salad or the Busboys House, but because the latter seems to change seasonally while the former is more of a permanent fixture on the menu, I decided to order the Busboys House and added a portobello mushroom to it. It was made of baby kale, papaya, jicama, and carrot dressed in a yuzu vinaigrette (which I asked for to be on the side) and came served with two pieces of herb bread. It was light and refreshing with the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch from the papaya and jicama that was balanced out with the pepperiness of the baby kale. While the portobello was extremely generous, for $4, I think I would get grilled chicken instead next time I order it. Nonetheless, for a $6 salad without the addition, it's a great choice for a starter; I strongly recommend.

Busboys House Salad with Portobello // Baby Kale // Papaya // Carrot // Jicama // Yuzu Vinaigrette // Herb Bread

As for the rest of the table, one of my dining partners is vegan, and the biggest reason that we chose to go last week was because Busboys and Poets was having a special vegan week menu. She ordered off the special menu and got the Napoleon Risotto, which was a tomato-based risotto mixed with daiya, and topped with roasted eggplant, red bell pepper, and portobello mushroom. I didn't have any of the vegetables, but did get a taste of the risotto. Maybe it's just me, but I felt like the risotto was too grainy and not creamy enough. However, the flavor was phenomenal. For $17 though? Not sure if it was worth it.

My other dining partner ordered the Blackened Tilapia Sandwich, which was served with lemon-pepper aioli, tomato, lettuce, and onion on a potato roll. For her side, she chose sweet potato fries. I tried some of her fries dipped in the aioli, and holy aioli! The lemon flavor really packs a punch! Also, the sandwich was absolutely huge - there was an entire fillet in there and it was flopping out of the roll. This is something I would want to order the next time I go.

Other things on the menu that looked really tempting and I want to try next time are the Vegan Nachos, Seared Scallops, and Steak and Asparagus Salad. Looks like I'll be paying Busboys and Poets several more visits!

As for the service, my server was super sweet and fun to chat with. She was quick was putting in our orders, made us feel extremely comfortable, and knew just the right balance of attention and distance.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Busboys and Poets. The food is delicious, not too expensive, and doesn't weight me down and the ambiance of the restaurant is super fun. If you are ever find yourself on U Street, then you should definitely give it a try!

Busboys and Poets on Urbanspoon