Friday, June 15, 2012

DC Spotlight: Pan-Asian Comfort Food at Raku

Today's post spotlights Raku, a casual, pan-Asian diner listed on the Washington, DC Restaurants page of this webiste.  Raku is one of my favorite restaurants in DC's historic Dupont Circle because it offers an endless number of vegetarian appetizers, salads, side dishes, rolls, and noodle dishes.  It's also open for lunch and dinner and offers indoor and outdoor seating in a prime spot for people watching.

Upon request (and be sure to ask the server), the noodle dishes can be made with tofu or with vegetables only, with or without egg, and, most importantly, without fish sauce.  In other words, just tell them what your dietary restrictions are and they will do everything they can to accommodate.

Pictured below are three of my favorite dishes.  Other favorites include the roasted portobello and asparagus appetizer, the seaweed salad, the pad thai noodle dish (with tofu but without fish sauce), and the spicy green beans side dish.

Crunchy spicy avo-q rolls (left) and tofu & roasted mushroom pot stickers (right)

Singapore curry noodles with tofu (and without fish sauce)

TIP:  Many Asian restaurants (especially Thai restaurants) use curry pastes and other sauces that contain fish ingredients, even in dishes labeled "vegetarian."  Always be sure to ask which dishes can be made without fish sauce.  Because many restaurants use sauces that are pre-made, only some places will be able to accommodate a request that a dish be made without fish ingredients -- Raku is one of them.  

UPDATE:  In March 2013, I sadly decided to remove Raku from my list of recommended Washington, DC Restaurants after learning that many of the vegetarian dishes that I once enjoyed are no longer available.  

UPDATE:  In March 2014, I was happy to re-add this restaurant to the Washington, DC Restaurants page of this website after learning that a number of my favorite dishes had reappeared on the menu.  Better yet, I learned that, upon request, the restaurant offers a separate gluten-free menu, which clearly shows which vegetarian dishes can be made without fish sauce.

Raku on Urbanspoon