If I were vegetarian I would for sure want to eat regularly at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw in DC. Well maybe I should more say, as a non-vegetarian, if I wanted a vegetarian meal, I would for sure want to eat at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. This raw-vegan place is simply unique, elevating vegan food to fine dining like I never experienced before. And although there is no doubt that I love meat, I left this place as excited as if I just had the best steak of my life (I did in fact in Japan but it is another story). Created by Elizabeth Petty, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw is located in a beautiful townhouse that give you the impression you are eating at a friend’s place.
Quiet and perfect for a nice evening if you like to hear your co-diner(s) talk, the service there is impeccable: courteous, efficient and knowledgeable about the dishes that are on the unique tasting menu they serve on Fridays and Saturdays, the only days they are open. There, Chef Francisco Hernandez, a non-vegetarian, who successfully used his amazing skills to craft a menu where you would never guess that some of the dishes were vegan. Here is what we had:
As drinks, Jodi got their orange and ginger soda.
On my side, I settled for the Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned that was made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon from Kentucky (finished in Port barrels), Crown Bourbon aged Maple syrup, Angostura and orange bitters.
The first dish was the Crispy Cassava Cup that was composed of Gorgonzola cheese and cherry-chartreuse pearls. Not only did it looked beautiful with these cherry pearls that looked like sturgeon caviar, but you would really think that it contained Gorgonzola cheese!
Then they brought some kale chips that were quite addictive.
The second course was the Silver White Corn Soup served with Red bell pepper sorbet, fava bean cake and rosemary powder. This cold soup was superb: slightly on the sweet side, it was elevated by the fava bean cake that added some texture and the red bell pepper sorbet that was interesting.
The third course was the Heirloom Zebra & Grape Tomato Salad, made with smoked peaches, pine nuts, micro lemon basil, passion fruit gel and pickled watermelon. You probably think that it is just a salad. In a way yes, except that the smoked peach and pickled watermelon gave another dimension to it, making it even more refreshing.
The fourth course was even more surprising. It was the Royal Trumpet Mushroom & Heart of Palm Crab Cake served with a broccoli and pear purée, tarragon “mayonnaise”, malt vinegar paper, zebra lemon oil and dehydrated celery root. Did it taste like crab cake: very slightly if you ever had a crab cake where they add celery in it and too much of it. It was good and the texture was on point.
The fifth course was Cantaloupe Apricot Sorbet with orange blossom water, black lava sea salt, cucumber wasabi crème. Quite refreshing, it was a perfect palate cleanser.
The sixth course was the Kennebec Potato Gnocchi, made with coconut bacon crumbles, white candied onion and morel mushrooms. These gnocchi were not your classic ones, these being little pockets runny in the inside. Comforting, the coconut bacon was probably the star of the dish, adding a nice texture and smokiness to it.
Last was the dessert that was spectacular. It was the Meyer Lemon Confit. The lemon was emptied and the peel confit and filled with a delicate yuzu cream. The whole thing was accompanied by a delicious strawberry sauce and a finger lime-tarragon jam. I simply loved it: the yuzu cream and the lemon peel paired well together, counterbalancing any acidity of the citrus. The presentation was even more superb.
We left satisfied by this incredible meal that shows that vegetarian food can be exciting for anybody and I did not even miss not having any meat that evening. Elizabeth’s Gone Raw has its place in a culinary scene dominated by steakhouses and I hope to see more ventures like this.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Elizabeth’s Gone Raw- 1341 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20005