While I’d been hearing good things about Fare Well, the vegan diner on H Street, I’ll admit that I was apprehensive to try it at first. I’m an omnivore through and through and I usually shy away from meat substitutes because of their texture. But our Marketing Bitch, Shruti, who recently moved to NYC, was back in town and I was excited to celebrate. These days she’s taking the NYC vegetarian restaurant scene by storm, so I figured she’d be up for some more plant-based goodness.
Fare Well is a cute diner space, full of bright blue walls, display cases full of sweets, a sit-down counter and cozy tables. This spot is family-friendly, but we also saw a few hungover frat stars recovering at the counter, so this is clearly a welcoming spot for all types of people. Shruti and I tucked into a small table near the front door, next to a rotating display case of Sticky Fingers cakes and pies. It was mesmerizing–we knew we wouldn’t be leaving without trying one.
We started with mimosas, but wanted to switch things up, so we tried a cranberry and a grapefruit. Both were adequate and a nice change from OJ. Shruti also snagged a cup of Compass Coffee as she had a long day ahead of her.
Unsurprisingly, this diner is super friendly to people with dietary restrictions. The menu is clearly marked with options for soy-free, nut-free, and wheat-free dishes. Our server, Derek, was congenial and helpful with deciding what to order.
He insisted that we try the buffalo cauliflower dip. The roasted and whipped cauliflower is mixed with buffalo cashew cream and served with toasted baguette slices. In my own kitchen I make a mean buffalo chicken dip, so I was interested to see how this healthy alternative would fare. The spice and taste was just as good, but the spread was overall lighter in texture. You could eat a lot of if without becoming full; it was so airy.
Derek also informed us that the French toast casserole is only available at brunch, so naturally we had to seize the moment. “Carpe brunch,” we always say. This baked Challah French toast was topped with apple compote and vanilla coconut whipped cream. I’m not usually one to order French toasts because they’re often too sweet, but this one was not. In fact, it was easily one of the best I’ve ever had. The Challah practically melted in your mouth and needed zero syrup. The apple compote was a great seasonal touch and had the perfect blend of autumn spices. This dish will definitely be a contender for Best Bites of 2017.
Shruti was immediately drawn to the chilaquiles. The crispy roasted potatoes with chickpea tofu scramble, black beans, poblanos, roasted tomato rojo sauce, and cilantro crema was filling. She felt it needed some heat, but that’s nothing a healthy dose of hot sauce couldn’t fix. As our resident vegetarian, Shruti was more than pleased with the flavors and the freshness of the ingredients.
We polished off the meal with a slice of cookie dough cake from Sticky Fingers, the award-winning vegan bakery here in D.C. We love to see local restaurants using homegrown vendors and Sticky Fingers is one of the best. This cookie dough was indulgent in the best way.
I’ll definitely be stopping by Fare Well in the future to pick up more baked goods to bring home.
Many restaurants that offer vegan options often treat those dishes as afterthoughts. It was refreshing to be somewhere that is creating good food that just so happens to be vegan. There is a huge market for niche diets these days.
The Bitches Say: B+. Whether you need a place that can accommodate a wide range of dietary restrictions or not, Fare Well should be near the top of your list. The homey diner offers up surprising flavors and damn good baked goods.
Fare Well serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.(202) 367-9600