Saturday, March 12, 2016

DC Spotlight: Vegan Tasting Menu at Cedar

Cedar in Penn Quarter is literally a hidden gem.  It is located in a windowless basement about one block away from the neighborhood's major commercial strip.  For years I walked past this place without giving it a second look.  And then one day a colleague of mine who used to be a vegan tipped me off.  I eventually made a dinner reservation, and could not have been more surprised!  

In addition to the $35 three-course vegan tasting menu and the numerous vegetarian options on the regular dinner menu (both menus feature fresh, local ingredients), the restaurant has a superb wine list and a staff that always makes you feel welcome.  While the rustic interior design is not usually my style (it sort of feels like a very dated log cabin ... sort of), I don't mind it, especially on a cold winter night.  And once you start eating and drinking and chatting with the friendly and knowledgeable waitstaff, it doesn't really matter -- Cedar quickly has become one of my favorite special occasion restaurants. 

My most recent visit was on Valentine's Day, which featured a slightly heartier version of the regular vegan tasting menu. 

Cedar's Valentine's Day Vegan Tasting Menu

For my first course I had the delicious potato and leek soup, which was served with warm homemade bread and extra virgin olive oil.

Potato & leek soup, homemade bread with olive oil, and of course wine!!!

I ordered the hearty lentils and and wild mushrooms for my entree.  Outstanding!

Yellow lentils, yellow foot chanterelle, hon shimeji, grilled trumpet, crispy mushroom roll, and truffle oil vinaigrette 

Finally, although I already was full, I tried the chocolate peanut butter mousse for dessert.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter mousse

I should note that the tasting menu items also can be ordered a la carte, and individuals with food allergies and other dietary restrictions need not worry - this place takes it all seriously, and does so with a smile and without cutting corners.  I cannot recommend it more!

Cedar Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato