Fancy Radish has a lot of elements you might expect. Husband-and-wife chef-restaurateurs Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby are James Beard Award nominees. The restaurant is housed in a prime location, the art-deco-meets-new-millennium Apollo building on the buzzy H Street Northeast corridor. And it boasts a unique cocktail program rife with unexpected ingredients—from nori to black vinegar. One thing it doesn’t have? Meat, or any other animal products for that matter.
That’s no surprise, given that the duo behind the enterprise is at the forefront of the meatless movement, earning international acclaim for their two vegan restaurants in Philadelphia, Vedge and V Street. Fancy Radish is their first establishment in the District—and it’s an instant hit.
There’s an L.A. sensibility to the space, which feels like it has been stripped down to the bare essentials. Concrete and raw woods are brightened up with fairy lights and the glow of handblown glass fixtures. There’s a bar running along the western wall and an ample dining room abutting the open kitchen at the back. When service is in full swing, the whole place hops and pops with bold energy.
As is the style these days, the menu’s offerings are arranged from the littlest and lightest to the biggest and bulkiest. Servers recommend two to three dishes per person; though I found four was the right number for a hearty eater such as myself.
Of course, fancy radishes are a starter. Of course. A quartet of the roots arrives with various Asian accents—shiso, smoked soy and shishito. If you’re in the mood for more digging in the dirt, there are slabs of pink beets (which make you think for a moment you’ve been served toro sashimi) in pumpernickel “soil” and an eye-opening amount of horseradish grated on top. Funnily enough, the dish arrives with a steak knife.
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