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D.C.’s Favorite Vegan Israeli Restaurant Gives Mushroom Shawarma a Test Run Today

The dish is getting a test run at the Basta stall in Union Market

Shouk shawarma
Shouk is trying out an oyster mushroom shawarma at a new pop-up in Union Market.
Mari Harsan Studios/For Shouk

Pita news

Shouk, the modern Israeli street food restaurant that has been named D.C.’s best fast-casual by both Eater and Washington Post Express, is introducing a plant-based shawarma today at a new pop-up inside Union Market called Basta — a word for market stall in Hebrew.

Founder Ran Nussbacher tells Eater that the vegan restaurant picked oyster mushrooms to substitute for meat because their cooks can pull the fibers apart for a “meat-like mouthfeel.” The mushrooms are seared on a flat top to lock in their juices and then added to either salads or pitas that get dressed with tahina, pickled green cabbage, arugula, and a lightly pickled cucumber and onion salad.

As opposed to Shouk, Basta will have a limited menu that consists of shawarma, mint lemonade, and falafel — which the company introduced in November after many requests from its customers. The shawarma will be sold only at Bast for now.

Shutdown relief

Days after José Andrés promised his non-profit, World Central Kitchen, would feed furloughed government workers in D.C., the #ChefsForFeds kitchen opened yesterday at his ThinkFoodLab events space on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Andres, who was still in Puerto Rico, told the Washington Post that about 5,000 meals were served by the end of the day. Washingtonian was also on the scene, talking to one woman who said having a reason to put on makeup and get out of the house mad her “feel like a damn person again.”

Crystal City come-up

Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn is eyeing two new spots in Crystal City, Northern Virginia Magazine reports. The celebrity chef who just opened his health food-focused but still calorie-packed Vim and Victor restaurant at the St. James complex in Springfield is reportedly looking to capitalize on the hype surrounding Amazon’s impending arrival to the area with a Santa Rosa taqueria and a new brand for fried chicken. [NVM]

Get in line

Shortly after Washingtonian reported that Bad Saint is accepting reservations for the first time, DCist noted that the nationally recognized Filipino restaurant in Columbia Heights was quickly fully booked for a month. Walk-ins will be accepted, so it looks like it’s back to waiting in line for anyone who wants to see what chef Tom Cunanan does with crab fat any time soon. [Washingtonian; DCist]

Wine bar gender reveal

Barrel owners Matt Weiss and Mike Schuster are opening a wine bar near Eastern Market this spring, Washington City Paper reports. The Eastern will be considered a sister spot to Barrel, because it will curate wines in the same way that Barrel collects Bourbons. Barrel had a little fun with that idea on Twitter. [WCP]


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