Cheap Eats 2011: Café Assorti

At this Eastern European cafe, tangerine-colored walls and a tempting bakery case make for a cheery spot to read the paper with a cup of coffee, sit for a quick lunch, or linger over slices of apricot tart.

The pillars of Russian and Kazakh food are carbs and meat–take, for example, a long roster of very good savory pastries, stuffed with beef, eggs, fish, or even a hot dog. Nicely spiced ground beef is tucked into excellent cabbage rolls as well as oversize steamed dumplings known as manti.

The produce here is bright and fresh and tossed into an array of salads, including a noteworthy one with shredded beets, walnuts, and garlic. Plus, eating your greens means one more justification to pick from the rows of cakes and tarts.

Also good: Carrot salad with garlic and chili peppers; Breton chicken, a flattened filet, pan-fried and served with a creamy walnut sauce; napoleon with buttercream.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.