The stretch of 14th Street between U St and Massachusetts Ave never ceases to catch my eye with quirky, curiosity-evoking storefronts, appealing restaurants with patios and bars nestled in between. Every time I ride a 50 bus downtown I reprimand myself for not spending more time exploring what this area has to offer. So when it came time to decide what eatery I would review for Restaurant Week narrowing it down to this location was a given. I’d been to Policy once before and was impressed by the creative, homemade cocktails prepared by the bartender, but hadn’t tried the food. And in my mass email inquiry to participating restaurants about their vegan options, the response I received from Tiffany was one of the friendliest and most eager to accommodate my “needs.” Their menu also looked like it offered a lot of flexibility in modifications without compromising the chef’s creativity. When I made my reservation online I referred to my exchange with Tiffany in the notes and called an hour beforehand to confirm.
Policy’s décor blends the hipness of urban chic and the coziness of a retro diner. Chandeliers, soft lighting and dark colors compliment the shiny, plush red booths creating an atmosphere that is comfortable yet encourages a feeling of occasion. The staff added to this with their service that was warm, friendly and efficient, but didn’t uncomfortably stand on ceremony. The options for Policy’s restaurant week menu were presented a bit differently that the standard three courses for $35.11. Instead, they offered four courses with the choice between an additional entree side or dessert, which also made my situation more easily adaptable. I ordered the Salted Roasted Local Beets salad (sans the gorgonozola mousse), Red Curried Lentils (sans the cheese filled cauliflower dumplings), Oven Roasted Tomato Hummus, and Stir Fried Green Beans in a ginger, garlic, sesame, soy sauce. Each dish was not only delicious, but surprisingly so in various ways. The crisp arugula, perfectly roasted (soft but not oily) beets, and pistachio pesto on the salad were light but satisfying; the Red Curried Lentils was seasoned with a precise blend of herbs and spices that lacked nothing; the Oven Roasted Tomato Hummus made an easily underrated and overdone dish new and tasty; and the Stir Fried Green Beans were crisp and flavorful. While dining out as a vegan can often feel patronizing, unfulfilling and mostly consisting of iceberg lettuce salads, soggy vegetables, and cheap, bland fruit, the chef at Policy clearly takes the same kind of care, attention and creative approach to his animal-free dishes as he does to the majority of menu items. In addition to the fun ambiance and accommodating service, Policy exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend a visit.
1904 14th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20009