First, let’s talk about what EatsPlace is. To hear them tell it, it’s a “Park View food incubator, restaurant, accelerator and pop-uppery! We’re a neighborhood restaurant and bar that hosts guest chef residencies, food producers, classes and events.” Whatevsies. I don’t even know what Park View is, I’m guessing a new neighborhood name so the white people gentrifying Petworth don’t have to admit they live there.
Okay, I just looked it up. I’m correct. Meaningless neighborhood name. Onward.
The concept is actually quite cool. It seems to be a rotating selection of chefs/restaurants that have no home to call their own. They try it out at EatsPlace, see how things go, and maybe go on to open their own permanent location. I like it. The service there is a little weird, like you can’t open a tab at the bar and keep it open. The only way the food order makes it down to the kitchen is by closing the whole thing out and paying. So for my friends and I to order a beer, then appetizers, then another drink, then entrees, we had to close out our tab three separate times. It was silly. Other than that, nice enough atmosphere and pleasant employees.
Now for this month’s restaurant selection, Baba’s Dumplings. The dumplings were superb. I got them fried, and they made the vegetarian ones with a deliciously seasoned seitan*. That’s another thing – in both the dumplings and the noodle soup, you had a choice of vegetarian or meat. I really appreciate that. There were several sauces on the counter to try with them. Very good.
Next came the noodle soup. This I was less enamored with. The broth was just not that tasty. I know it’s hard with vegetarian broths cos you don’t have that delicious meat bone to work with, but it can be done and my Asian soup standard is fairly high (DC has some great ramen spots). It was OKAY, but not the best I’ve ever had. Their seitan offering was sparing, I had hoped for more pieces. I ordered the optional egg on top, but it wasn’t very warm. Maybe it’s not supposed to be, but it rendered it a little slimy in the mouth.
I will be back to EatsPlace, but not for Baba’s Dumplings. There are too many other good noodle spots to hit in DC. One thumb up, one thumb down.
*Seitan is a vegetarian ‘fake meat’ made out of processed wheat gluten. It can be seasoned, usually with soy sauce, and is used primarily in Asian dishes, but works for lots of things. Now that gluten isn’t bad for you anymore, I encourage you to try it!