Thursday, October 23, 2014

Busboys and Poets Revisits (Mount Vernon Triangle, DC)

I have a thing for poets. And busboys.

It's no secret that Busboys and Poets is my favorite DC restaurant. 

Eclectic decor, an extensive menu with plenty of vegan/vegetarian friendly options, fresh flavors, and a unique message, Busboys is definitely doing it right.

The V Street location (reviewed here) has been my go-to spot and it seems like I'm not the only one; the wait times can get pretty red-dic-u-lous and I get HANGRY. Ya know what I'm saying?

When my cousin and his girlfriend came into town to visit me, of course I had to introduce them to my other half and because we were already downtown being touristy on the National Mall, the 5th and K location was a lot more appealing than cabbing all the way over to V. 

The 5th and K venue is definitely bigger and less eclectic than the one of V, which I find to be very fitting to the neighborhood. While I appreciated the more "formal" - take this description very lightly - setting for a family dinner and the lack of a wait time, I miss the rich culture and art of V. 

Coconut Tofu Bites // With plum-red pepper sauce // $8

This is what upscale luaus taste like: fried perfectly crispy without feeling heavy with barely a tingle of sweetness from the coconut flakes and plum sauce. The tofu remained tender and moist without that strange wet layer that sometimes forms between fried food and the breading (i.e. badly made onion rings - you all have experience it). It reminded me of a savory macaroon and was a perfect way to start off the meal. My only wish is that it was bigger.

Avocado Panini // With havarti, arugula, roasted red bell pepper on multi-grain bread // 10

This picture does not do any justice to just how giant the sandwiches at Busboys really are. The flavors play well together: the spicy arugula helps cut through the richness of the havarti while the avocado and bell pepper provided just the right about of moisture and creaminess. My cousin's girlfriend's initial reaction was that it tasted very healthy - but in a good way - and I'll admit, this isn't something for someone looking for something big, meaty, and greasy, but it's a perfectly amped up grilled cheese for the swanky DC crowd.

Fried Chicken // Herb cornmeal-encrusted halal chicken breast with a chardonnay cream sauce; served with mashed potatoes and collard greens // 16

It's like a chicken walked into a salon and got a blow-out. I'm a southern girl at heart and no, this isn't anything like real fried chicken, and take away my southern card if you will but I actually liked this. A lot. The chicken is boneless and much less fried (bless my heart, oh the heresy) and has a much more refined range of flavors than just the meatiness of grease, breading, and fowl alone.

Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich // Grilled chicken, olive tapenade, LTO, yogurt sauce on flatbread // 10

It's a classic and it's not. I typically don't like tapenade because it tends to feel homogenous and heavy, so I was pleasantly surprised that the tapenade was actually quite chunky and made with three types of olives: black, green, and red (correct me if I'm wrong because my olive IQ is about) and extremely light tasting. The brininess complimented the creamy, tangy yogurt sauce well while the chicken remained moist. It's a large sandwich and I was satisfied after half of it. My cousin easily polished off the other half for breakfast part one the next day. #thisiswhatboysarefor

Oh, and another insider tip: get the sweet potato fries. And steal your dining partner's pickle. You'll thank me for it.

Busboys and Poets
1025 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Busboys and Poets on Urbanspoon