This isn’t your mom’s vegetarian food… oh wait, actually, it is. Mother at 10th and K makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about vegetarian and vegan food. In a former life, the space was occupied by Blimpie. I find that moderately hilarious.
The space has been revamped with a hip interior covered in chalkboards with tables laid with mismatched silverware and repurposed wine bottles for water, fresh lavender-infused lemonade or kombucha on tap. If Mother were a person, she’d be a hipster lesbian in flannel, chapstick, and Chucks, with a VW beetle and homemade cheese, which was somehow made to be vegan. And I mean that as compliment. Headed by Mike Thiemann, the former chef at one of my absolute favorites, Ella, this is seriously good food, regardless of your personal level of crunchiness.
After agonizing over the menu, we decided to do the Chef’s Sampler, which consists of 10 total dishes: eight savory and two sweet.
Starting at the top left is cheesy roasted potatoes with shaved truffles. Next to that is roasted cauliflower and broccoli with harissa. Then comes their watanabe salad: avocado with hearts of palm. Below that is chili verde. Below the chili verde are mushroom hot wings. To the immediate left is their housemade foccacia with roasted garlic puree and chickory slaw. Then comes huaruche. Finally, in the middle is roasted asparagus with chimichurri.
Okay, the cheesy potatoes were splendid. I love truffles and the amount of shaved truffle was just perfect. It wasn’t overwhelming, and they didn’t skimp on the truffle. I really enjoyed the roasted cauliflower, as well. The harissa really livened up the roasted cauliflower, while the broccoli added a wonderful crunch to the experience. Of these, the avocado and heart of palm were my least favorite. It’s a delightful idea, and gorgeous to gaze upon. It includes Miner’s lettuce and red onion, and is served with a lemon vinaigrette that was far too not lemony for my citrus crazed taste. A little bit of salt and pepper may have livened this up a bit. The chili verde… roasted potato, pinto beans, hominy, smoked pickled peppers and a touch of mozzarella. I’m not a big fan of this kind of dish, and would probably not order it, but I’m so very glad I experienced it with this Chef’s Choice spread! Okay, but I have to rush past to get to the mushroom hotwings. Wonderfully crunchy, with a texture that will make wonder why you ever ate real wings in the first place, these were at the top of my fave list. Served in the classic style with a ranch-style dressing, carrots, and celery, I’d want these for my Super Bowl party! Now to the foccacia. Holy heck this was delish! I can’t even begin to express how much I loved this bread. It had the perfect amount of crunch, the mushrooms were cooked perfectly, and the chicory salad was to die for.
I need a break. Whew. Okay.
Next is the huarache with green chiles, mushrooms, black eye peas, and buffalo cheese. If you’ve never experienced huarache, you must! It’s like a savory polenta cake topped with all sorts of goodness. And finally… the roasted asparagus with chimichurri. The heat on this was a nice addition. The asparagus was a bit overdone for my taste, but I like it almost raw.
And finally… dessert!
Carrot cake with toasted quinoa, candied almonds and fromage blanc. On the right is the signature brown butter cookie with sea salt. Both of these were delicious. The sea salt is just such a nice complement to the brown butter. The carrot cake also had coriander, hence the cilantro… they’re all about the life cycle of a plant, apparently, which I loved.
Honestly, while making this post, I looked over the menu and declared that I can hardly wait to return. There were items like their nut burger, spaghetti, and chicken fried mushroom po-boy… oh! and fried okra, that will make me return to Mother as quickly as I can!
Bottom line: Get your butt to Mother!
Ambience: 2/5 (It’s not super fancy, but it’s quite comfortable)
Service: 4.5/5 (They’re super friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful)
1023 K Street
Open until 11 on the weekend, 10 otherwise. Closed Sunday. Dinner only Saturday. Lunch only Monday.