Saturday, January 21, 2012

Eating Healthy on the East Side

"It has been a long time coming", but we finally have healthy dining out options East of the Anacostia River! Call me what you want, but I refuse to ingest the chicken wings & mystery mumbo sauce that so many people rave about. I'd much rather "cross the bridge" than risk my health at these dungeons disguised as carry-outs. How do these places pass health inspections??

It is refreshing to finally spend money locally on healthy dishes like salmon salads, curry chicken, roti, or chai tea!  As your bootleg  local food critic, I picked out the top healthy eating establishments East of the Anacostia. Each restaurant is scored based on three categories: Ambiance, Food and Customer Service rating each up to 1 full star  for a total possible score of 3 stars.

In my best attempt to ignore the fact that the owner is caught up in a drug scandal, I ordered the salmon salad and sweet potato fries. I now see what all the hype is about. The salad was fresh and crisp. The salmon was cooked to a juicy perfection and I had no shame in ordering another basket of sweet potato fries.  Uniontown struck gold with the location and its signature Cajun style menu.
Ambiance- 1Star 
The space is open with easy seating, clean bathrooms and on busy nights Uniontown can get noisy but overall has a friendly vibe.
Food- 1 Star
Then non-veggie options taste great, but only have a  few vegetarian or vegan choices that are not fried.
Customer Service- 1/2 Star 
The service is hit or miss. The laid back environment shouldn't mean laid back response times.

Fresh Fish, Cucumbers, and soups
After creating pizza, I am sure Jesus himself created the recipes for Thai food. It is a perfect blend of spices, herbs and savory seasonings. My favorite dishes are the Thai Basil Chicken or Coconut Curry Tofu.
Ambiance- Half Star
Tucked between a gas station and a beauty supply store, finding parking can be frustrating. The decor leaves much to be desired with brown chairs and a yellow 1980's Asian kitsch.
Food- One Star
Thai Orchid is consistently tasty and they offer all the standard Thai dishes with vegan and veggie options.
Customer Service- One Star
Easily the best service East of the River with a friendly, helpful, responsive and caring staff. Feels like a true neighborhood restaurant plus they deliver!!

Big Chair Coffee - 1. 5 DC Stars

Rumor has it that Big Chair has made an attitude adjustment. I decided to give it another chance after my first disappointing experience two years ago. I took a chance on their Salmon Burger and a chai tea. Let's just say I things haven't changed much.
Ambiance- Half Star
After the upgrade, Big Chair has made significant improvements.  I still find the interior too dark and the bathrooms could use a woman's touch.
Food- Half Star
The food had an oily aftertaste as if it's been cooked on a grill with bacon. The coffee tasted like it was made with a packet from Safeway. But they have now breakfast options!
Customer Service- Half Star 
While the owners are very nice, I find that the customer service doesn't match up with the community's expectations.

Pimento Grill - Jamaican Cuisine DC 2.5 Stars

Located in far-southeast, Pimento Grill is a little outside of my comfort zone. But it is well worth the wait and the distance. You can't go wrong with moist rice and beans, ripe plaintains and tender tilapia.
Ambiance- Half Star
Pimento is more like a pick it up  quick  and less of a sit down and take someone out to dinner.
Food- One Star
Great food and they usually serve everything fresh listed on the menu!
Service One Star- 
The wait can be longer than expected, but you can call ahead of time and pick up.

The quality of life East of the Anacostia is moving in a different direction.  We want more access to local fresh, healthy and pleasant eating establishments. The benefits of living in a city like DC are having  quick and diverse options that enhance the neighborhood and mix up the daily grind. I still long to see a Sweet Green, Chix DC,  Everlasting Life or  Senbeb Cafe offering healthy and vegetarian fare East of the Anacostia!


Alexis said...

Thanks for this, I'm always looking for alternatives to Subway, or driving over to Capital Hill for something to eat aside from the McDonalds, Popeyee's, and KFC on Good Hope Rd.

SheWantsItAll said...

I had salmon with shrimp and sauteed spinach at Uniontown after the MLK March. Amazing.

Juneous said...

Thank you for sharing your thougths. I was you had the chance to view Rays the Steaks before they closed down.

Sariane Leigh said...

Alexis I know how hard it can be when you are hungry and don't want to go very far. I noticed a new place called 24/7 on Good Hope Road and they served salads!

Juneous, I never made it to the Ray's the Steak's. Not into cow consumption :/ If it opens back up, I will look into it.