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Where to Get It: Tiki Taco, 2010 P St. NW; (202) 986-2121; tikitacodc.com
What It Is: A roasted beet-based take on poke. The traditional Hawaiian dish calls for cubed, raw fish, but chef and owner Ryan Fichter didn’t want vegetarians to be left out of one of the biggest food trends to blanket D.C. He combines the beets with avocado hunks, Maui sweet onions, scallions, furikake, coconut, and a lime vinaigrette. Furikake is a salty, seaweed-based Japanese seasoning mix that’s typically sprinkled over rice.
The Story: Though a Maryland native, Fichter cooked in the Kailua-Kona region of Hawaii for six years and brought back recipes for all of his favorite dishes. His relaxed counter service restaurant is in Dupont, where Fichter believes a critical mass of customers crave healthy, vegetarian food. “I find you either love beets or you hate them, but I found the sweetness of them after being roasted plays well with the coconut and lime,” he says. “The beet gives you the mouthfeel you would have with tuna.”
Why Even Meat Eaters Will Like It: I’ve already determined that I will die of mercury poisoning in 2032 because of the boatfulls of raw tuna I consume. This dish provides me with an alternative that’s just as satisfying texturally. The earthiness of the beets and the large grains of sea salt add up to a strong and welcome umami flavor. If you want to make a meal of it, order one or two of the tofu tacos.