Restaurant Week Sucks If You’re Vegetarian

But there is a lot of gazpacho.
Restaurant Week Sucks If You’re Vegetarian
Gazpacho photo from iStock

Don’t get too excited for Restaurant Week this week if you’re a vegetarian. Few restaurants offering the three-course $35 dinner or $22 lunch promotion make it worth your while.

Many restaurants offer condensed menus, which means your options are even more limited than usual. In fact, some spots including Range, Del Campo, Brasserie Beck, Barcode, and Water & Wall have zero vegetarian dinner entrees for Restaurant Week. At many other places, you’ll be lucky to find a single meat-free appetizer and entree. More often than not, that appetizer is yet another salad or gazpacho (Seriously, so much gazpacho!). And your token veg entree is likely to be risotto.

Worst of all, you could end up paying slightly more for a vegetarian meal during Restaurant Week if you’re not careful. At Radiator, the baby gem salad, arugula pesto gnocchi, and flourless chocolate cake add up to only $34 on the a la carte menu.

Chef Geoff’s offers its entire menu for Restaurant Week, which is great—if you order smartly. Choose the strawberry/watermelon gazpacho, a plain pizza, and any dessert, and your meal would only come to $31.40 a la carte. Alternately, the hummus-and-pita chickpea salad, wild- mushroom ravioli, and a dessert total $39.40. (Better yet, head to Chef Geoff’s from 4 to 6:30 p.m. any night of the week for the $25 three-course “sunset special.”)

In other cases, you’ll pay essentially the same for vegetarian fare whether you go during Restaurant Week or not. At Cuba Libre, black-bean soup or a garden salad, grilled vegetable paella (the only non-meat entree), and tres leches cake come to a total of $35.50.

That’s not to say there aren’t any good options for those abstaining from roast chicken and sautéed scallops. Convivial is offering its entire vegetable-heavy menu, including star dishes like leeks dijonnaise and squash vadouvan. (Depending on what you order, you’ll save $2 to $11 during Restaurant Week.)

Meanwhile, Indique and Equinox are two of the few places appealing to vegans with Restaurant Week menus that are half plant-based. The latter features dishes like rigatoni with smoked-mushroom bolognese, and yes, more gazpacho.

All calculations are based on online menu prices. 

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.