Rose Previte and her team at Compass Rose pride themselves on taking diners on a journey across the world by way of the Logan Circle mainstay’s menu. That includes many places Previte’s either lived or visited, from Tbilisi, Georgia to traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
So, when it came time to reconfigure the wildly popular Bedouin tent experience, she immediately knew it had to be redecorated and tailored to Ukraine, a country she’s visited numerous times.
“After two years of the tent being closed, we wanted to rethink the space entirely, and we felt it was right to convert this into a dining car,” Previte says. “I’ve been on Ukrainian trains, and our aim was to remodel the space and convey that experience.”
Imagine silk tablecloths, curtains with lace, and lots of floral wallpaper channeling deep blues and yellows, in what Previte and her team are calling the “Sunflower Coach.” A bouquet of sunflowers serves as the centerpiece — the national flower of Ukraine and a symbol of peace.
The Sunflower Coach’s family-style menu features Compass Rose’s greatest hits from around the world, including aguachile from Mexico and khachapuri from Georgia. Ukrainian favorites on the menu include its distilled spirit horilka and dishes like potato vareniki (fried pierogies) and borscht.
“This space and menu is a tribute to our friends who are enduring unimaginable suffering,” says Previte.
The coach is now leaving the station and accepting private bookings on Resy of six to eight, priced at $75 per head. For each booking, 20 percent of proceeds support World Central Kitchen, a chef-driven relief organization by José Andrés that has been working hard to help Ukrainians in need.
Diners may recall the backyard space was first imagined as a Bedouin tent with a Moroccan-themed menu. Previte tapped the same decorator as before — close friend and designer Martina Crivella, who created the mystical vibes of Compass Rose.
For a two-year period, like most other travel plans, the Bedouin tent was on hold. Compass Rose used the space as additional storage for the La Bodega Bakery pop-up with chef Paola Velez. Then in February, as she was reflecting on the space’s future use, the Russia invasion of Ukraine happened.
“I have such a deep connection to the country, so we remodeled the space to reflect our love for [Ukraine],” Previte says. Food is also how she conveys this love to Washington, a city with few Eastern European restaurants, including Ukrainian cuisine.
Right now, her husband, David Greene (formerly the voice of NPR’s Morning Edition) is in Ukraine reporting for a newly released podcast, Ukraine Stories, which tells the story of one person each episode from inside the country.
From 2010 to 2012, Previte and Greene lived in Moscow as he was stationed there as an NPR correspondent covering Russia, Ukraine, and the surrounding Baltic region. Previte prefers Ukrainian bortsch with its mix of meats and vegetables, compared to the beet-heavy Russian variety.
In a lesser-known fact, her Michelin-starred Maydan, which prominently features food from her homeland of Lebanon, was named after the main square in Kyiv, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square).
“It’s an Arabic word,” she explains. “That’s where I first learned about it.”
Meanwhile, Greene’s family traces his roots back to Poland and Lviv in Western Ukraine.
“This is our tribute, and right now, everyone wants to feel like they can do something. This is our way,” Previte says. “I hope this brings awareness to the richness of Ukraine’s food and culture, and I hope, ultimately, for peace.”