Earlier this summer we were looking for a restaurant in the U Street area for dinner before a show at Studio Theater. We were dining with another couple and our three sons, who are all in their twenties. The criteria: moderately priced, a variety of choices to include vegetarian options, and somewhere that did not have a focus on small plates (a request of the 20-somethings). After a good deal of back and forth with my friend, we chose Ulah Bistro. My friend made the reservation and I must confess that I wasn’t terribly excited about our choice. Since dining was not the primary focus of the evening, I let go of my need to have every restaurant meal be a culinary adventure. As our dinner approached a few weeks after making the reservation, neither my friend nor I could remember where we had chosen. This was either a sign of our lack of enthusiasm about the restaurant, or our advancing age. Fortunately our restaurant debate had taken place on email, so we were able to figure out where we were headed.
Surprisingly, Ulah turned out to be a fine choice. The bread came out immediately and looked appealing, which put me more at ease about the food to follow. It was a cross between pita bread and pizza, served with an olive tapenade. It was quite good. I chose a Greek salad with shrimp for my meal. The ingredients were standard but they were fresh and plentiful. The dressing was unique, taking the salad to another level.
My husband raved about his pasta dish, although a few days later he didn’t remember exactly what was in it (it was vegetarian orzo with kalamata olives, corn, marinated artichokes, sundried tomatoes, red roasted peppers, and shaved parmesan). My friend had crabcakes, and the quality prompted her to declare that this restaurant was her new favorite in the U street area. The guys had brick-oven pizza, which was a very fine accompaniment to their beers. I tend to like menus that are a bit more adventurous. But if you are looking for simple but above average food, this is a good option, particularly for a pre-theater meal.