Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

Around the World at Compass Rose in Washington DC

Sometimes it’s hard to know which type of cuisine to choose when deciding on a restaurant, especially when traveling in a city with as many great options as Washington DC. When we were in DC we found some great restaurants from various countries, but we also found a great one that covers a bit more ground: Compass Rose (1346 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20009) in Washington DC. Compass Rose is a globetrotting restaurant with a little bit of food from a bunch of various countries. According to Compass Rose, “So while it’s great to travel around the world, we understand that’s not always possible; instead of waiting for the smells and tastes on a great trip, we’ll bring them to you—in a cozy row home right in your own neighborhood.” Each dish at Compass Rose is listed alongside its country of origin, and the selections rotate frequently, and span the globe. Some examples off the menu when we visited include arepas from Venezuela, bhel puri chaat (kale, puffed rice, potato and tomato) from India, anticuchos from Peru and lamb kefta from Lebanon.

compass

When we saw that they had one of our Brazilian favorites, shrimp moqueca, we knew we had to visit. It can get pretty crowded, and there are no reservations, we made a point to stop in early. The atmosphere at Compass Rose is pretty romantic: with low lights and wooden tables in a few connected rooms. There is also a special secret room in the back for people ordering the set menu (which is by reservation), when we visited it was a Bedouin Tent theme, with a selection of North African dishes. The international theme even goes to the cocktail and wine list, which spans less commonly-known wine regions like Lebanon and Hungary.

smorrebrod

We could have picked any number of the eclectic dishes, but we eventually landed on:

  • Camarão na Moranga (Brazil) – shrimp curry with coconut milk and dendê oil (Palm oil), served inside a small acorn squash. This seemed like a riff on the Northeastern Brazilian dish moqueca – shrimp in a creamy sauce – and is what initially drew us to Compass Rose. Happily, this was probably our favorite dish of the night. We have never had a moqueca served inside anything but a bowl – and the squash bowl was a great addition.
  • Smørrebrød (Denmark – above) – house-cured trout, with trout roe and edible flowers. The presentation of this dish was amazing, and we were very impressed by the house-cured fish, giving us a real taste of Scandinavia.
  • Grilled Calamari (Greece – below) – served over red quinoa, with toasted pistachio & feta cheese salad, and doused with lemon and oregano. We were surprised how big this dish was! The calamari was deliciously tender, with an acidic punch and without chewiness.
  • Kogi Ribs (Korea) – Berkshire pork with a sweet-hot honey-ginger scallion marinade. The ribs were delectable, and had a great touch of sweetness along with a little bit of spice.
  • For dessert we got Crema Catalana (Spain) – A Spanish version of creme brulee. This dessert was tasty, with a hint of vanilla, but we were sad that it was so small!

octopus

Everything we sampled at Compass Rose was delicious, with fresh ingredients and clean flavors. If we went back, we would also order the Georgian flatbread – Khachapuri – with cheese, egg and butter. We saw a few being served at tables all around us, and it looked beyond delicious! Compass Rose is the perfect place to temporarily cure your wanderlust, we really liked everything we tried. Whether you are feeling like Spanish or Korean, Compass Rose will have something for everyone in your dining party.

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Keren Restaurant: Eritrean in Washington D.C.

Keren Restaurant & Coffee Shop
1780 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
EritreanFlagWe are huge fans of Ethiopian food, and we heard that Washington D.C. had a thriving Ethiopian food scene, we were extremely excited. There were so many restaurants to choose from, and we were excited to see Eritrean options as well. We had tried Eritrean food previously in Philadelphia, and we were happy to revisit it. Since Ethiopia and Eritrea were the same country until the early 1990s, the cuisines are very similar, though there are some subtle differences, especially the greater prevalence of seafood on the menu because Eritrea is coastal. Keren Restaurant (named after the 2nd largest city in Eritrea) is located in the bustling D.C. neighborhood of Adams Morgan, which has a wide variety of restaurants of all cuisines. We arrived at Keren on a Saturday night, and when we arrived there was a good mix of college kids and families. The atmosphere was convivial and cozy, and the restaurant was simply decorated with murals of Eritrea (plus a surprising number of TVs). Keren2
The menu at Keren is very small in terms of traditional dishes, there are only a handful of either meat or veggie options. We also noticed a sizable Italian selection, including pasta and breaded chicken cotoletta, which makes sense since Eritrea is a former Italian colony. We were also excited the Keren delved into some more unusual options. For example, there were a wide selection of breakfast options featuring Ful (mashed fava beans) and Silsi (a traditional tomato-based sauce). We ordered the beef tibs and the veggie sampler (lentils, chickpeas, cabbage, spinach and potato dishes) to share among ourselves. We were pleasantly surprised that each entree was less than $10, which is far lower than most comparable restaurants. In addition to the injera, we got an order of traditional Eritrean unleavened wheat flat bread called Kitcha, which we had not seen on any other menus. Kitcha was definitely denser and more pita-like than injera and we have to admit it was much easier to eat with the injera since it was much more flexible.
Keren

We enjoyed all of the choices we sampled: the sauces were rich and flavorful (not too spicy), and there was definitely something to satisfy both meat-lovers and vegetarians.  We finished up the night with an Eritrean coffee (it was billed as a coffee shop after all), which was very similar to the Ethiopian coffees we had tried previously. We highly recommend Keren as an awesome place to get delicious, low-key Eritrean food, with no pretense, and at great prices.

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