Look, we’re all busy people, right? We want to do it all and sometimes there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. But just because you’re in a rush doesn’t mean you should have to compromise for quality! Here are some suggestions for when you want to eat something good, fast!
The ultimate move in efficiency when you need to be somewhere is to grab a meal you can eat while you’re in transit. This means street food and if you’re in Adams Morgan or on 14th Street that means Amsterdam Falafel Shop. Amsterdam is a staple of DC street food and is not only delicious but also designed for maximum efficiency. The menu is straight-forward and specific, so you won’t spend precious time picking out what you want. You’ll customize your falafel or fries yourself, so food comes out super fast. Even when there’s a line out the door, it’s entirely possible to be crushing your balls (for maximum topping usage) within fifteen minutes. BONUS: The staff at Amsterdam are always hella stoked so if you’re having anxiety about time they’re the perfect crew to soothe you with smiles and chill jams.
A ton of fast casual options have popped up in DC in recent years but my favorite new addition, hands down, is Beefsteak brought to you by prevalent DC food name, José Andrés. Beefsteak celebrates the bright and beautiful bounty of the earth by letting you choose fresh veggies to mix and match. The bowls are something more than a salad that will make you feel healthy while still satisfying even serious hunger. At either location, Foggy Bottom/GW or Dupont Circle, you have the opportunity to walk a few steps and enjoy some fresh air along with your fresh veggies in Washington Circle or Dupont Circle respectively.
Bonus (?): the promotional materials and decor for Beefsteak feature these cool (terrifying?) illustrations of different veggies.
If you’re able to invest slightly more time but still need to keep things concise, you can opt for a sit down dinner that’s brief and the way to do this is small plates. (Some might argue that the Moment small plates are having is nearly over, but for now there are tons of options available.) For example, you’re having an evening out, taking in dinner and a show, but you’re running a little late for the dinner part and still need to make it to the theatre on time. If you head to a tapas style restaurant you can order a bevy of dishes and ask for them to come out in waves or as they’re ready. Or, with a little foresight, you can go somewhere that already uses this system. Compass Rose takes the cake (sidenote: always order one of every dessert they have on menu, you will not regret it) when it comes to fantastic food fast. The constantly changing menu features street food from around the world and is perfect for sharing with a group of friends. Food comes out as it’s ready unless otherwise specified and it comes out fast. I would say that with the right timing (they don’t take reservations so that part is luck of the draw on a weekend) you can enjoy a high caliber meal in just about an hour.
A NOTE: No matter where you are, please, please for the love of good food, let your server know if you have a time constraint. Be honest and clear, use numerical values, and tell them at the beginning of the meal, not after you order. Be open to the fact that they might tell you what you want isn’t doable. They’ll probably be able to find a way to accommodate you and it will save you and the establishment a lot of grief down the line.