For years I’ve yearned for a fine dining experience to leave me in awe. I have eaten amazing food from perfect prosciutto pizza in Venice to the most comforting beef tongue burrito in Cozumel to the most memorable bite into a fried mushroom Bao in Pasadena. Eating is my favorite pastime so having an open mind, and open belly, to try new foods has always been in me to do.
That said, it’s quite hard to find really mind blowing vegan food here in the Southeast. Most restaurants simply recreate classic dishes but with plant based ingredients. Please don’t misunderstand, I appreciate those dishes a lot because who doesn’t love comfort food? However, I have felt left out of the adventurous food world since going vegan. Well, that was until I discovered Elizabeth’s Gone Raw.
I heard about this restaurant a few years ago for I used to travel a lot more often for food. I’m not a fan of cities but I vowed that whenever I found the time to stay in the capital that I would go. Thankfully, I have recently relocated to northern Virginia and my partner and I needed an excuse to leave the house after a year of pandemic life & being fully vaccinated. So I booked our reservation and impatiently waiting for the day.
It was a warm, summer evening and the sun was hanging low on the horizon. Upon arrival, the door was opened before we reached it and we were greeted by a very hospitable hostess that guided us up this elegant staircase. The aesthetic of EGR is more of a classic restaurant with delicate light fixtures, art all over the walls, low lighting for ambience and all the tables were fully set. What I enjoyed the most about the dining area was the variety of guests in the room and the R&B hits playing softly in the background.
Our waitress was very sweet and thorough in making sure we understood fully our meals and that we were taken care of. Not once did I feel like I needed to be tended to for we were always checked in on by our waitress, the sommelier and even by Elizabeth herself.
The tasting menu is five courses and is fixed (seasonal prix fixe). I must be honest, the descriptions of each dish doesn’t even come close to the explanation of how each ingredient is prepared that the waitress recited to us. I can’t possibly recall all the inspiring details that went into each dish but I shall do my best.
Dutch White Asparagus Flan
To start off, we were blown away with what felt like sheer alchemy with this appetizer. They somehow turned asparagus into a savory sister to the traditional flan. It was topped it with tarragon pearls which were a fun herbal flavor that gave the idea of caviar. All of this was surrounded by silver queen corn foam…I don’t even know how but it was. Given the presentation, taste and difficulty: 8/10
Mara Des Bois Strawberry Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a cold soup that typically lacks flavor and texture, which was not the case here. This was a upgrade strawberry tomato soup with melon balls and small tomatoes sitting in a cucumber crème fraiche. My favorite bite was honestly the pickled okra and that’s saying a lot considering as a true southern girl I’ve only enjoyed okra fried. I wasn’t a fan of the tomatoes mixed with the melons personally so that was throwing off my expectations of each bites. I also prefer eating warm soups. 6.5/10
Crispy Green Almonds
What a showstopper. This was our favorite dish of the night and I wanted more of it. Apparently, they marinated green almonds in a spice blend for 4 weeks, breaded and fried them. Who thinks of that??? The almonds were accompanied with slivers of thumbelina carrots, young coconut yogurt, fresh lychee, coconut bacon and salsa verde. It was the kind of dish that makes me feel like I’m eating somewhere in Oceania. As big fans of Asian cuisine, it is to no ones surprise that it would bring big smiles across our faces. 10/10
This small dish is to serve as a palate cleanser before the entrée. I hated it. I’m sorry but it was just so aggressive in the tart cherry and olive flavors that I couldn’t finish it. I tried very hard to with the cutest tiny spoon they gave us. I ended up passing it off to my partner to finish. He found it quite delicious and thought it was a good pairing. To each their own. 5/10 for me, 7/10 for him.
Cold Pressed Chayote Squash
This was our second favorite dish and it was worth the wait. It was an artistic masterpiece and this photo can’t show you the hidden delights. Starting from the bottom up, potato and leek sauce was poured around this patty like thing that is the cold pressed chayote squash? Above is a squash blossom stuffed with porcini mushroom & quinoa that tasted like sausage crumbles. Inside the encasing, was more crumbles, a different cream and a beautiful squash blossom flower. Every single bite was perfect. Every single one. 10/10
Sunset Apricot Ice Cream
Although we were growing quite full, there is always room for dessert. Every element exuded bright, fresh flavors of apricot. Truly innovative to recreate apricots in multiple ways. Apricot jelly polka dots, apricot wafers, and apricot quenelled adorably in the center. That is not powdered sugar but powdered pineapple. The last fluffy bite is a roasted lemon moussline. What a fun dessert. 10/10
We order their two mocktails and I’m so sorry for not remembering the names. Just know that they were great to dip on throughout the meal and you can enjoy alcohol free, upscale beverages even at nicer restaurant for a lower price than the alcoholic ones.
In conclusion, it was a truly unforgettable experience and I can’t wait to return when they change the menu again next month. It was great chatting with our waitress, the sommelier about good & bad wine and to connect with the owner. We felt welcomed and nurtured the entire time. If you are passing through the D.C. area, you must stop by Elizabeth’s.
Oh and happy anniversary to my partner and favorite foodie.
With love and a new appreciation for food, Carrington