Food

Check Out 701’s New Look and Veggie-Centric Menu

Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj's 25 year-old restaurant gets a total makeover.
701 Restaurant in Penn Quarter gets a thorough makeover. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

Downtown diners returning from the long weekend will find a revamped 701 Restaurant. Owner Ashok Bajaj temporarily closed his 25 year-old New American in Penn Quarter for a major remodel and menu overhaul. Among the new elements: ample private dining space and vegetable-centric dishes from chef Benjamin Lambert.

A number of the new dishes are meatless, including this cauliflower shawarma with hummus and lavash crackers.

Designer Martin Vahtra, who’s behind the look of sister restaurants Rasika West End and Nopa Kitchen + Bar, added a number of visual elements to freshen the space, including cracked egg wall sculptures and colorful Italian chairs. A new private dining area was also added for 35 seated guests, joining two others fit for 22 and 12.

The bar serves a new menu of $12 seasonal cocktails.


Both the lunch and dinner menus are filled with new items, many suited for vegetarians. Afternoon brings root vegetable pot au feu, a carrot and kale pesto sandwich, and a variety of salads, while the “bounty & grain” section is the place to look for meatless options come evening. That’s not to say the kitchen doesn’t cater to omnivores. A new “share center” portion of menu includes duck confit steamed buns and bone marrow, while eclectic entrees range from crab cakes with green curry quinoa to duck with foie gras and walnut mostarda.

The dinner menu boasts a new section of shareable plates, and meat/fish entrees like this duck with foie gras and walnut mostarda.


701’s bar/lounge also received a refresh, and a menu of cocktails all priced at $12. Diners can drop in for a set “lunch at the bar” menu, which includes an entree and glass of wine for $17.

701 Restaurant. 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.