Teaism (Washington, D.C.)


Here is my last meal report from our sojourn in DC last month. It wasn’t the last meal we had in DC; we ate at Bantam King that evening, and even I will spare you a report on our lunch at Shake Shack at Union Station the next day before we boarded our train to New York. I know these details matter to you. You’ll also be interested to know that this is probably the first time I’ve completed a meal report from a city within a month of leaving it. Don’t get used to it though.

Teaism is a casual pan-Asian mini-chain with a few locations in DC. The Penn Quarter outpost is—like Hill Country and Rasika—a short walk from the museum row and it was there we repaired for lunch on our last full day of museum-going. It had been recommended—as all our other choices had been—by the good people of Donrockwell.com. We were looking for a quick, casual place with enough on the menu to appeal to adults and children alike and so it proved to be.

I don’t know what the other locations are like but the Penn Quarter branch is a small, casual place. You order your food at the counter and wait for your number to be called. There are a number of tables but most people there were picking up orders to go. I’d hazard that at lunch at least their clientele is primarily drawn from local offices. The menu, as I said, is pan-Asian. It name checks Indonesian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean dishes, among others, but based on what we had it would be a mistake to expect very hardcore renditions of any of these cuisines. The food is tasty enough, however, and not too heavy and that’s just what you need to refuel in the middle of a day spent in museums.

The boys shared skewers of shrimp and chicken along with most of an order of flatbread. The missus got a bento box of chilled baked salmon with brown rice and various veg. And I got the tea-smoked salmon and a bowl of the chilled Thai carrot soup. All were tasty enough and the carrot soup was pretty good. I enjoyed the smoked salmon but have to say I couldn’t really detect any difference from more conventionally smoked salmon. We also got a bunch of the juices they had on offer. The mango blend was nice; my imli (tamarind) cooler was unexceptional; the pomegranate juice was disappointingly out of a bottle; the orange juice was orange juice.

The inevitable pictures follow. Take a look and scroll down to see how much it all cost, what we thought of it on the whole, and to see what’s coming next.

The food portion, before tip, came to just about $52. Which is not too bad for what we ate. The juices, however, added another $17 to the bill. And $70 plus tip, I would say, was a bit much for the whole. So I’d suggest just sticking with water. As to what the quality of the various teas they offer—and which presumably are their calling card, given the name—I do not know. Ditto for their breakfast and dessert offerings. If you are familiar with them and can offer an opinion, please write in below.

Hopefully, these DC reports will be of some use to other visitors looking for meals around the Smithsonian museums. Speaking of the Smithsonian museums, I highly recommend the Museum of American History. We had not planned to go there but all our cabdrivers told us we should. I had thought it would be nationalist in nature but it turned out to be far more interesting—we spent more time there than anywhere else. I also recommend highly the Museum of African Art, which was as sparsely visited when we were there as it was interesting. We couldn’t get into the new Museum of African American History on this trip but hope to do so on our next trip, whenever that will be.

Well, I might be done with DC but I still have a whole lot of meals from New York to report on. Before all that, however, I’ll writeup of a recent Thai meal in St. Paul.

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