Food Culture

Restaurant Review: Teaism (Penn Quarter)

I visited Teaism once two years ago and it became one of my top 5 restaurants ever. So I figured next time I was able to get to Penn Quarter (Washington D.C.), I would visit Teaism with the intent of writing a review.   The mission was successful. Teaism is an “Asian style tea house” that offers desserts and Asian cuisine to accompany the wide variety of loose leaf teas. They have caffeine and caffeine-free options.

I ordered a caffeine-free tea (Star of Africa) and a Korean brisket sandwich.

This was the presentation:

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The restaurant setting is very serene. The lights are dim and the interior design stays true to traditional Japanese aesthetic. The furniture is wooden and there is a downstairs space that can be used for semi private events.

The Star of Africa is a fruit brew. It contains yellow plum, orange, apple, papaya, pineapple, ginger and rooibos (a plant native to South Africa).

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Despite the ingredients, the tea was not aggressively fruity. It instead tasted like the essence of fruit. The apple and papaya were the most notable fruit hints. The rooibos provided a natural sweetness that was more noticeable as the tea cooled.   As I consumed more and more of the tea, the ginger became more evident as well.

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Now, on to this Korean brisket sandwich; the sandwich contained beef brisket in a gochujang sauce*, Asian slaw, Just Mayo and lettuce, topped with fried onions on a ciabatta roll. Despite the ingredient list, none of it was overwhelming; all of the ingredients played very well together. The brisket was tender with just enough gochujang sauce to preserve the taste of the meat. The Asian slaw added the perfect amount of crunch and color to the dish. As someone who is not a fan of mayo, I didn’t mind it at all. The fried onions were house made. The key here was the toasted ciabatta roll. Even as the sauce began to cover the bread, it was still edible. The flavors seeped into the ciabatta, which added to the dish as I continued eating. I ended up dipping the remaining bread in the sauce that had dripped onto my plate.

While I was waiting in line, I overheard a few patrons raving about their cookies so I can only assume the desserts are just as delicious. Despite the crowd, service was quick and friendly. If I were a college student in D.C, I would definitely go to Teaism to treat myself during a hardcore study session.

If you are ever in Washington D.C., visit Teaism and “treat yoself”.

* Gochujang Sauce is a sweet chili paste. It is a sweet and spicy, fermented condiment made from sweet chili paste, rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt, and salt.
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