Jump to content

"Sustainable" Restaurants in DC Metro Area


Jonu
 Share

Recommended Posts

Dear fellow DRs:

I am a member of SustainUs (www.sustainus.org), a youth/young professional organizaiton promoting sustainable development. We've been working on creating + updating our "Sustainable DCity Map," which features a list of sustainable enterprises in DC. Think of farmer's markets, consignment/thrift stores, and, of course, restaurants.

I am here to ask your input - take a look at my list of restaurants below and let me know if I am missing anywhere that:

(1) purchases local, organic, free-range, and other sustainable ingredients (i.e., Tuscarora Organic Growers [TOC] Coop)

(2) serves local and/or organic wines

(3) practices more socially and environmentally concious business (please be specific here)

Thank you all, and I hope that this will be a great opportunity for me to expand my research on these wonderful places!

My List

Asia Nora (certified organic)

Austin Grill (100% windpowered)

Bossa Organic Bistro and Lounge (organic food/bev options)

Café Atlantico (TOC)

Cashion's Eat Place (local/organic ingredients, Anne Cashion is also a sustainable biz promoter among chefs)

Coppi's Organic (TOC)

Equinox (TOC; the mission says, "the name Equinox depicts its commitment to seasonal cooking using products harveted in accordance w/ the environment and the earth's natural tempo)

Gabrielle (TOC and other local organic producers)

Jaleo (TOC)

Johnny's Half Shell (Anne Cashion's other restaurant)

L'Auberge Chez Francois (TOC)

Local 16 (locally supplied ingredients, supporting local issues and community efforts)

Mendochino (organic produce, free-range meat, wild seafood)

Mimi's American Bistro (local, organic produce)

Palena (local, organic produce)

Restaurant Nora (certified organic)

The Reef (sustainably sourced seafood, organic draft beer option, strong supporter of local, social, and enviornmental efforts)

Thyme Square (local, organic produce and meat from Even Star & TOC)

Edited by DonRocks
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Wednesday's New York Times, there was an article in the food section about the Sustainable Iceland promotion going on in DC RIGHT NOW. Citronelle is one of the participating restaurants. Whole Foods Markets are promoting the products. The spring lamb and the gin and tonic marinated gravlax are awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At Dino we do the following...

We support TOC and Eco Farms as well as try to buy organic product from other suppliers.

We are passionate about using seasonal produce.

We buy mostly but not all natural meats. We are new and trying to move in the all natural direction, but are not there yet on meats.

We support family farming and winemaking.

We support traditional methods of production and artisan produced product.

Edited by deangold
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wanted to make a separate reply... Having been in the natural food business for a long time, I would make a few contrarian points on organic/sustainability:

Wild vs Farmed seafood--- I would rather have a farmed fish, one grown in a sensitive manner with no antibiotics than a wild fish from an overfished fishery. Each case has to be taken on its own merits, one does not always trump the other.

Local wines- Winemaking can be a very detrimental to the environment practive. It supports mono culture when practiced on a large scale, especially in the US. I am not sure that local winemaking is better or worse in this respect. Yes, buying a local wine will reduce the pollution component of shipping. But if the winery in question uses a lot of chemicals to fight the harsher weather locally than in a more distant winery, the advantage may be outweighed.

Organic wines--- while there are some wines made from certified organic grapes, there is a huge subset of wines made from grapes grown in non certified organic fashion, or grown organically but not claimed on the lable. In fact, almost all grapes used by Clos du Bois are organically grown, yet they do not specify it on the label, reserving the ability to use chemicals if necesary to avert a disaster to their vineyards. I would not serve Clos du Bois as it pollutes my tastebuds, however, it is sustainably grown.

Organic Wines part 2- Gallo is a large holder of organicaly grown vineyards in Sonoma County. When they developed the vineyards, they basically came in and destroyed the ecosystem. The rerouted drainage, they took down vast areas of scrub that would ahve served as windbreaks and habitat for beneficial preditors. Yet they qualify as Organic and use it in promotional pieces. Here is a case of organic not being sustainable.

Having been a VP of purchasing for Whole Foods, I have a pretty deep insight into what is good and bad about the organic and sustainable movement. It certainly ain't all good. If we could get the entire commercial farming movement to abandon a small part of their most harmful practices, the farming industry in the US would be so much more clean and sustainable than if we double the size of the organic sector.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(1) purchases local, organic, free-range, and other sustainable ingredients (i.e., Tuscarora Organic Growers [TOC] Coop)

Jonu I think you may mean TOG, not TOC.

At least one of the farms in the coop, New Morning Farm which is one of the founding farms, runs farmers markets at two locations on the weekends, including the Dupont Market.

Edited by hillvalley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(3) practices more socially and environmentally concious business (please be specific here)

Three restaurant groups: Ben's Chili Bowl, Busboys & Poets, and the owners of Tryst, Open City, and The Diner have all gone 100% wind-powered. This doesn't mean there are actually wind turbines sitting on top of their buildings; what they're doing is paying the money to have wind-powered electricity - enough to run their restaurants - brought into the DC power grid. So while that electricity isn't going directly into their buildings, it is coming into the city.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not positive -- but I'd also look at The Bread Line and Tabard Inn.

Regarding the post on farmed v. wild fish. Pregnant women are advised to eat only wild caught fish because of PCB contamination. Fish farms are also notoriously polluting in their own right, so the jury is still out on whether farmed or wild is better. For health, I currently favor wild. For sustainability, it's an open question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the post on farmed v. wild fish. Pregnant women are advised to eat only wild caught fish because of PCB contamination. Fish farms are also notoriously polluting in their own right, so the jury is still out on whether farmed or wild is better. For health, I currently favor wild. For sustainability, it's an open question.

For pregnant women, there are health advisories on Wild Caught fish for mercury and other contaminants. Also for farmed, note I said environmentally sensitive.

Tilapia, Icelandic salmon & Australian Baramundi are all farmed on land where their waste product is used for fertilization of farms down stream from the production. This eliminates the issues of ocean pollution. If these farms don't use antibiotics, then we have a really good source of protein. Unfortunately, the issue I have with these fish are flavor issues.

Wild Caught can include long line, trawler and other methods of catching fish which can destroy an ecosystem. Drag net fishing should positively be outlawed. Any method which routinely produces more by-catch (ie dead or dying fish to be thrown away because there is no market for it or it is inedible) cannot in any way be a preferable method of fishing. I would like to see these methods outlawed but now we are getting into politics and religion. All I wish to do here is to show the complexity of theseissues.

Also there are aquaculture methods which do not involve the penning of fish. There are hatcheries on rivers with damaged salmon runs. The rivers are stocked with "wild" fish hatched in non wild conditions. What do we call this? (personally I call it delicious and a good compromise that will hopefully lead to a point where the hatcheries can be closed down).

Other fish are aquacultured by penning after a time in the wild. This is a system more like trapping. The fish are born is a given water (maybe assisted by hatcheries) and then they go do their thing for a time. They return to the waters of their birth to spawn and are captured and then caught and processed. Again, a "farming" technique but one with far different issues than that of penned salmon in the Atlantic.

Unfortunately organic is now an empty term. Sure, Muir Glen tomatoes are organic but they don't IMO taste good any more. Cal Organics is a huge agribusiness that engages in many deleterious, IMNSHO, practices. The company that distributed the bagged salads with the contaminated spinach are big players int he natural food market place (they sell tons of stuff to Whole Foods). Horizon milk is basically farmed like any other factory farm but the minimum standards of organic are met so it is called so. But Horizon Milk violates all the principles the original commercial supporters of the organic movement (like Mrs. Gooch's in Southern California) supported.

Is it better to eat lamb from New Zealand where the animals are never given feed and never have to be held in heated barns or to eat a local lamb where these conditions are not true? If you look at the lifetime energy footprint of the lamb from New Zealand vs a local US lamb, the NZ lamb uses less than 1/2 the energy inputs. So it is more sustainable. But it is not as good for the Virginia or PA economies.

Unfortunately like all things in life worth worrying about, organic and sustainability are complex issues not given to simple sound bites. Reasonable and earnest people can differ on their calls on these issues. Barton Seaver thinks fish x is sustainable and I don't. Big deal. We are both trying our best to live up to a standard not enshrined in lobby funded law, but to what makes sense to us after a long time and much energy invested in looking at these issues. There are so many people in DC who are just as passionate, that any futher mention of any names will lead me to leave out so many more. But there are those who jump on the bandwagon and talk about sustainability while buying from Sysco and serving hormone laden products. All I can plead for is that each and every one of you think about what your hard earned money is supporting when you spend your food dollars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All I can plead for is that each and every one of you think about what your hard earned money is supporting when you spend your food dollars.
It always strikes me as odd that diners pay more attention to where their wine comes from, the year, the varietal, etc. than they do about the proteins and produce they ingest.

Companies like SYSCO are the behind-the-scenes link between factory farm and restaurant in the industrial food production chain, and supply many more restaurants than people realize.

If the Exec Chef at your restaurant of choice can't - or more likely won't - tell you where their steak or tomato came from, or, better yet, the name of the person who raised either, you might be an unknowing participant in the process.

If you shop at the farmer's market, you buy organic or naturally-raised, you care about local economies, why eat SYSCO when you're out?

For an insightful, well-written book covering this thread and much more, read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Great writer, great work, including some interesting chapters on "beyond organic" movement in the Mid-Atlantic, something we at Sonoma and Mendocino are proud to be ambitiously pursuing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was an article in this Wednesday's Gazette that Chicken Out is now using "free-farmed poultry"

click here

The restaurant chain, based in Gaithersburg, with 20 locations in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., has teamed up with Springer Mountain Farms Chickens to provide free-farmed chickens to its customers. Free-farmed chickens certified by the American Humane Association are raised in controlled open-air living conditions, without antibiotics, chemical medicine antibiotic substitutes or hormones, and are not fed animal by-products, according to Chicken Out.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wanted to update our practicves at Dino:

Our meats are all natural and humanely raised. Our cured meats are made mostly without nitrates or are made with very minimal amounts, far lower than most commercial products.

Our seafood is sourced from fisheries that are sustainable.

Our produce is as organic as we can source. During the winter we do use much a higher proportion of conventional.

We are still firmly committeed to family made wines, with our typical producer making less than 10,000 and most making less than 4,000 cases a year. All our cheese with the exception of grana is sourced from small artisan producers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dolcezza | artisanal gelato

toigo orchards - strawberries, all cherry varieties, apricots, yellow peaches, white peaches, yellow nectarines, white nectarines, all plum varieties, yellow watermelons, red watermelons, cantaloupes, yellow corn, tomatoes, apple varieties, pear varieties, pumpkins, honey and limited flats of black raspberries

gardeners gourmet - basil, opal basil, tarragon, mint, cilantro, beets

keswick creamery - ricotta, yoghurt

blue ridge dairy - mascarpone

westmoreland berry farm - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

lewe's dairy - cream

still waiting for the fall to roll around to find sources for sweet potatoes and still trying to decide on provider for local eggs for a sambayon gelato.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...