“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Some friends recently gifted me with a list of quotes about food, which make perfect fodder for some of my upcoming posts. I select the Tolkien quote as an appropriate one for my recent dinner at Provision No. 14 on DC’s 14th and V Streets.
The restaurant is so new that dining here is a leap of faith, as online information and opinions are scarce at the time of my visit.* I don’t mind leaping into the unknown every now and again.
The decor at Provision No. 14 is captivating. There’s plenty of distressed wood, an eclectic selection of mismatched furniture, bar stools made from metal drums, and hanging lanterns. The space screams fun. (see Anna Spiegel’s article below, which includes photos) My group of seven is seated behind a latticework partition, where we can peer into the main floor dining room, as well as the kitchen. It’s not the most visually appealing spot in a restaurant with lots of visual interest, but the semi-sound barrier is a plus for a group that likes to chat without shouting.
Provision No. 14 emphasizes communal dining and house made cocktails, some of which are also meant to be shared. A few of us settle in with a refreshingly delicious watermelon slush composed of Beefeater gin, watermelon, grapefruit, and basil. I’ve had my share of cocktails recently, and this one tops my list of favorites. It’s complex and provides a decent buzz.
The menu at Provision 14 blends American cuisine with international flavors. There are ample vegetarian options, which is primarily where we focus our attention.
It’s hard to resist a dish that features mandarinquat, if for no other reason than it’s fun to say. The kale salad is accented with this hybrid fruit along with strawberries, apples, and cashews. It’s a light and healthy start to the meal.
Brussels sprouts paired with chopped apples and fennel pollen is a satisfying combination. I’m sure it’s even better with the bacon that we choose to omit.
Vegetable gobeta is an array of small dishes- lentils, cabbage, split peas, and tomato salad, distinguished by a satisfying combination of Indian spices. Warm flatbread is the vehicle for scooping up the savory ingredients. This becomes the dish I find myself gravitating back towards, and I sneak back into the shared plate until every morsel is gone.
Conchinglie (mac and cheese) features roasted mushrooms and thyme, floating in a soupy cream sauce. I yearn for a little more flavor from this one.
The catch of the day is dorade. The whole fish arrives looking slightly ominous, yet it’s one of our favorite dishes once we dig in. The fish is moist and meaty, eliciting a chorus of approval.
I am happy to concede to the vegetarian leanings of my dining companions, with the exception of miso lamb ribs with cucumber-radish salad and couscous. Some of the ribs are excessively fatty, but I snag a bite that satisfies my desire for perfectly charred meat.
While some of the dishes are more successful than others, there’s something compelling about Provision No. 14. The alluring decor, affable service, a cocktail list that begs further exploration, and an outdoor patio and upstairs lounge with mega appeal combine to make the restaurant a winner. Provision 14 is just the sort of place where you can revel in food and good cheer, without having to dish out too much of your hoarded gold. As J.R.R. Tolkien suggests, this will make for a merrier world. This certainly rings true for me.
Washingtonian article by Anna Spiegel: “Take a Look Inside 14th Street’s Striking New Addition”
Thrillist article by Laura Hayes: “Ten Reasons Provision No. 14 is Your New 14th St Go-To” (*published after our visit)
Provision No. 14, 2100 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC