Busboys and Poets: D.C.: U Street/Shaw

FA Rating - F

I didn't have much time on my recent trip through DC, and so I had time only for a coffee shop for breakfast and this fun, casual restaurant where my friend Katie and I met up with a friend of hers who lives in town.  At least at this, the 5th and K location (one of four total locations), the space was impressively large, with multiple rooms of tables and booths, a full bar and coffee station, and a winding staircase in the middle of the joint that leads up not only to the restrooms but also a nice lounge area and another, smaller bar, presumably open at night and/or for events.

From the top of the staircase
View of part of the upstairs lounge area

Another view
The menu is an extensive list of salads, sandwiches and such, all the usual suspects but with several bits of flare ("Iraqi Corned Beef Hash," "Moroccan Bean Soup,"risotto fritters with shrimp and crab; served with lobster sauce for only $9.95," all of the beef is grass fed, etc.)

Each section of the menu includes vegetarian options and at least one great-sounding vegan option ("Coconut Tofu Bites with Plus Sauce for $7.95,"Tempeh with vegan mayonnaise, arugula, roasted red peppers, saute'ed onions on rosemary sun-dried tomato loaf with a side for $8.95," even vegan cheesecake and other desserts).  Obviously, this is what you'd call a progressive cafe, and indeed, it's named for Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy before, of course, becoming a successful poet.  Anas "Andy" Shallal, the Iraqi-American artist, and the creator and owner of Busboys and Poets, refers to his restaurants as "community gathering places."  Events include open mic poetry, open mic music, readings, private events, lectures, film screenings and more.  Not a bad place to be a regular, if you live in the area, not bad at all.

The food honestly doesn't require much commentary.  Everything was uncomplicatedly yummy,

Blackened Fish Mahi Mahi blackened with lemon-pepper aioli, LTO on a potato bun - $12.95

Look at that big, beautiful hunk of mahi mahi!

Falafel with hummus, red onion, tomato and lettuce - $7.95

Chipotle Mayo


Lemon Pepper Aioli

As I said, everything was great.  The sweet potato fries were just how you'd like them to be, and the sandwich and falafel were good quality yumminesses.  All three of those creamy dips were awesome for my dipping our fries and sandwiches in.

Katie enjoyed her Thin Mint Latte.

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