Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: Rabbit Salad and Grill

Friends, do not worry! Rabbit is not a dish at Rabbit Salad and Grill. What you will find here is a refreshing and delicious take on what is often derided as rabbit food. This is not to say this is a vegan or vegetarian restaurant (you will find fish, pig, cow and chicken amongst some of the dishes, much to my sadness), but Rabbit Salad and Grill is certainly very veg friendly. If you don't want goat cheese in your beet salad, no problem--ask for tofu. You know you're in a veggie friendly place when the menu states "add protein for $4.00" instead of the usual "add chicken, beef, or shrimp." Protein is not just defined as animal flesh--this includes tofu too. Bravo, Rabbit, for recognizing that.

I sampled the beet salad on this visit--on a huge heap of arugula sat thinly shaved red beets, pickled beet stems, orange slices, and sauteed pine nuts all dressed in a citrus vinaigrette. Instead of the goat cheese, I had two slabs of tofu deliciously seasoned in soy sauce and sesame seeds--very tasty. To wash it down, I tried the "rabbit juice", a concoction consisting of carrot and apple juices. Even those who don't like carrot juice will love this very refreshing drink. Of course, I had to have a cupcake--the owner of Red Velvet Cupcakery opened this restaurant, which opened in July this year--and happily vegan is an option. The frosting was very sweet but the cake was moist and made for a lovely end to this meal.

You don't have to have a salad here at Rabbit, but those they offer are very large and filling. There is "the rabbit" which consists of mixed greens, roasted carrots, shaved carrots, diced carrots,blanched snow peas, sweet peas, shredded mint, carrot top pesto in a citrus vinaigrette. The caprese and watermelon salad sounds intriguing--though not acceptable for vegan lifestyles--consisting of seasonal tomatoes, arugula mozzarella, sundried tomato, shredded basil leaves, watermelon, all in a basalmic vinagrette

Rabbit also offers sandwich plates, hot plates and grilled sandwiches. For vegetarians you may want to try Frank the Bunny--a grilled cheese sandwich with roasted red peppers. The Jessica Rabbit peaked my curiousity--this is a hot peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Grilled PB&J? Really?) The hot plates offer a veggie option--the grilled vegetables & crusted tofu. Hot plates are served with smashed potatoes and an herb salad.

Incidentally you can get wine and beer if you'd rather pass on the rabbit juice. Mondays through Fridays, Rabbit offers a "Hoppy Hour" starting at 4. And the restaurant is very easy to get to, only steps away from the Clarendon Metro station. Be sure to check out their website to learn more about the chefs, the philosophy behind the food here, etc. The owner, Allen Gordon,a D.C. native is pictured on the website holding a rabbit. That alone impressed me, as did the food. One last note: Rabbit Salad and Grill is casual. You order at the counter, pay, and you pick up your food when it is ready. But this is by no means fast or casual food. The ingredients are fresh and the preparation clearly was precise and careful, as in any formal dining establishment. Rabbit can hold about 50 guests. Look for some outdoor seating in the spring and summer. If you have vegan friends or you're vegan and have omnivore friends and need a place where everyone can be satisfied, Rabbit Salad and Grill is it. Check it out and tell them the Hoppy Vegan sent you. : )

Address: 3035 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, VA. Telephone: 703-243-5660. Rabbit now delivers in the area for lunch from 11 to 3 Monday through Friday. See website for more details.

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