First Bite: Mother


After stopping by Mother, the new vegetarian restaurant on K Street, twice at lunchtime—and facing an alarmingly, dauntingly long line of eager wanna-eats, I recently got crafty and showed up at 10:30 a.m. The teeny restaurant doesn’t open until 11 a.m., but sympathetic staff members, eyeing the driving rain outside, let me in to cool my heels and revel in the tantalizing aromas wafting from the open kitchen. At promptly 11 a.m., I triumphantly ordered my meatless repast, glancing back to see an ever-growing crowd behind me.

A loosely packed, textural carrot nut burger, embellished with feisty harissa mayonnaise, thick slices of pickled pink onion and a lusty sliver of smoked Portobello mushroom, was a winner; and the chicken-fried mushrooms, cradled in a white bowl with a juicy chunk of Meyer lemon—were fabulous. Deeply roasted Brussels sprouts, dotted with chopped, sweet dates, was an inspiring dish; and a robust Portobello poutine, doused in an earthy mushroom gravy, was a satisfying nosh on a chilly afternoon.

The long, narrow space offers limited seating—there’s only two booths, which accommodate 4 to 6 people. The remaining tables seat two—snugly—and diners struggle at times to talk over the noise created from the open kitchen, which serves as the dominant focal point in the restaurant. But the vegetable-focused menu items are excitingly innovative and tasty—and worth the wait you’re almost guaranteed to endure. Unless you arrive at 10:30 a.m.