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The Early Word on Beefsteak, José Andrés' New Ode to Vegetables

"...the creepy, slightly perverse images of anthropomorphic vegetables still hung in the windows..."

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R. Lopez

The first fast casual concept by superstar chef José Andrés Beefsteak, opened last month in Foggy Bottom with plans to open a second location in Dupont Circle. It was so busy that some diners waited in epic lines to try the build-your-own bowls composed of blanched vegetables, grains, sauces, and other toppings. Even 90′s-era rapper MC Hammer had to try it. Here's what the first Yelpers, bloggers and others had to say about the restaurant.

If a Garden Threw Up on a Plate News:  Beefsteak already has 27 Yelp reviews trending towards 3 stars. Between veggies, grains, sauces, and toppings, most reviewers were overwhelmed by the sheer number of flavor combinations. Yelper J.S. writes, "in the end you're just throwing 10 or so random vegetables and toppings together in a bowl, and hoping the taste works out. But most of the time, you end up with what would happen if a garden threw up on a plate." [Yelp]

There's No Beef or Steak News: The tongue-in-cheek name of the veggie-focused restaurant is actually taken from the name of a tomato variety. Several Yelpers, including a vegetarian, expressed disappointment in protein options that include only avocado (?), chicken, poached egg, and salt-cured salmon. Yelper Erica C. lamented, "Jose, Jose, please use real meat as an option. The meat options are simply lunch meats. Lunch meat chicken is awkward with steamed vegetables. I'm aware that it's supposed to be a vegetable-based place. But better meat options should be available, if they want to serve meat at all." [Yelp]

Frida Kale News: There are four set menu items for those who don't want to choose their own bowl components, and Holley Simmons of the Washington Post Express has a favorite. She writes, "We're partial to the Frida Kale ($7.99) made with rice, kale, corn, black beans, spicy tomato and lemon honey dressing. Add avocado for a whopping $1.99 extra." [Express]

Fryer-Like Vegetable Cooker News: Veggies are cooked to order using a contraption that looks like fryer baskets. Yelper Kristine M. was actually impressed by the cooking technique. She writes, "Surprisingly, all the vegetables are cooked perfectly in spite of the fact they're all thrown into the same basket and boiled for the same amount of time." [Yelp]

Ask for Extra Salt News: A forum member at Don Rockwell has a tip for those who find lightly cooked vegetables a bit on the bland side. Jca76 advises them to "consider asking for a sprinkling of sea salt if you generally like your vegetables well seasoned, especially if you go with one of the set options." [DR]

Not-So-Fast Casual News: Several customers waited about 30 minutes in line during peak meal times. Yelper Marci. S., who waited 27 minutes in line for lunch, says the bowls were "definitely not worth that time commitment, but if there is no line, this is a pretty great set up for veggie lovers." [Yelp]

Ginger Beet Juice News: Many Yelpers raved about the juices. Yelper Erin Y. shares, "When I went, they had ginger beet juice, apple cucumber juice, and lavender lemonade. I tried all three and they were all quite delicious, but my favorite was the ginger beet juice." [Yelp]

Better Value Than Chipotle News: Most Yelpers were satisfied with the price that starts at $7.99 and increases with the addition of certain components. Yelper Tom H. notes, "a veggie bowl is just $8 and it's higher quality than something like Chipotle" [Yelp]

Fabulous Service News: The staff seems patient with first-time customers confused by the unique ordering system. Yelper Kristine M. writes, "The service is fab-u-lous....Friendly, warm, and approachable, to boot!" [Yelp]

Wallpaper News: Beefsteak's tagline is "vegetables, unleashed," and it's reflected in the kooky cartoon veggie wallpaper plastered throughout. Yelper Jiin S. was smitten, calling it worthy of "INSTAGRAM FOR DAYZ." Connor McInerny of The Rival, however, described the drawings as "creepy, slightly perverse images of anthropomorphic vegetables." [Yelp, The Rival]


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