From the team behind famed DC sushi restaurant, SEI, comes BOE, the group’s replacement for OYA, which previously inhabited the space. I had the pleasure of dining at OYA for restaurant week last year, which was phenomenal, but it was even cooler walking into BOE and seeing the transformation that had taken place. OYA was known for its pristine white interior, while BOE has a very cozy, log cabin, almost masculine feel to it. With the combination of the interesting decor and guarantee of a designated gluten-free menu, BOE had me anticipating an amazing meal…
After you are seated and comfortable, the first thing you should do is order a cocktail. BOE has an impressive list. I ordered the True Beauty, which stood up to its name in both taste and appearance. The color was a beautiful pink, and the taste was very dainty and delicate. I also had the pleasure of tasting one of the rosés on the menu, which would be a great addition to any meal.
For an appetizer, I ordered the Baby Arugula & Honey Plum Salad, the Black Eye Pea Hummus, and the Brussels Sprouts Slaw. All three were fantastic. The Arugula and Honey Plum Salad, which also contained walnuts, goat cheese, mint, and balsamic, was a standout. The arugula was bitter like it usually is, but was extremely well balanced when eaten with a bite of the sweet honey plum. The walnuts were toasted, giving a rich crunch to the whole ordeal.
The Black Eye Pea Hummus, which was plated using a Mason jar, was very light yet flavorful. This dish is usually served with the traditional pita chip, but BOE will gladly serve it with crudité instead. I appreciated how the consistency of the hummus was different when using black eye peas versus chickpeas. I would definitely order this dish again.
The Brussels Sprouts Slaw may have been the winner among the three. Served with crispy quinoa, pickled papaya, and a tangy dijonnaise, this dish packed a punch. As a Brussels sprouts lover, each crunchy bite was phenomenal.
For the entrée, I ordered the Roasted Branzino and the Seared IPA Cauliflower Steak. I know what you’re thinking: IPA is beer, which should have gluten. However, BOE specifically uses a gluten-free beer to make this dish. The rich, meaty cauliflower steak was served over a bean cassoulet, gremolata, and a kale pesto. The plating of this dish was absolutely impeccable, and the addition of the gremolata and pesto gave the cauliflower a bold flavor. If you’ve ever eaten cauliflower before, you know its natural inclination is to taste incredibly bland. This is not the case at BOE.
Probably the most exciting part of any meal at BOE will be dessert, because they have an impressive selection of boozy, sinful milkshakes. Two of them do have gluten, however, the Bananas Fosters Milkshake is fair game. This milkshake is made with rum, salted caramel, banana, cinnamon, Cracker Jack, and Snickers, and boy, was it an experience. I would recommend splitting this maybe two or three ways.
BOE is truly a unique addition to the DC dining scene. Its décor mixed with an innovative menu makes it a restaurant worthy of your attention. When you factor in the great hospitality and care towards customers with allergies, BOE is a top contender amongst local NOBREADers.