Dish of the Week: Shouk’s fried shouk’n pita

Media Credit: Clara Duhon | Photographer

Shouk's mushroom-based meat alternative is worth a try for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Head just north of Chinatown to try out plant-based, Israeli-inspired meals from Shouk.

Shouk is located at 655 K St. NW, off of the Yellow and Green lines at Mount Vernon Square. The restaurant offers a D.C.-certified Kosher menu of vegan Middle Eastern dishes, so it will have a meal for you regardless of any dietary restrictions.

The eatery offers takeout, which took about 10 minutes to prepare when I visited, and no-contact delivery to customers, and it’s open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. With dish prices ranging from $9 to $13, Shouk’s options shouldn’t break your bank account.

Visitors can choose from the falafel sandwich ($10.50), salads, award-winning veggie burger ($12) and house-made hummuses. Shouk also touts market menu items like chili ($10), shouk spice ($5.50) and almond feta ($6.50).

As a vegetarian who loves Middle Eastern food, I can usually only order a falafel bowl with some veggies. But because the meals are plant-based, I knew I had to deviate from my normal order and try something new.

In the mood for something deep-fried, I opted for the Fried Shouk’n ($11.50), a fried oyster mushroom wrapped inside of pita bread with green cabbage, pickles and harissa mayo. The order came in an enclosed, small cardboard box so the sandwich wouldn’t fall apart while I brought it back home.

As someone who is not a big fan of mushrooms, I admittedly was hesitant to eat a mock fried chicken made with mushrooms. But the mushrooms were thin and deep-fried, masking the taste of the fungi and satisfying my craving for fried food.

The green cabbage and pickles added a tangy and salty taste to the dish, complementing the fried mushroom. The pita sandwich was also topped with harissa mayo, a smooth and creamy sauce – with just a small kick of spice and garlic – to balance out the salty and tangy flavor from the vegetables.

When I usually eat salty and savory fried comfort meals, I feel lethargic. But after eating the dish, I felt satisfied and energized and recommended the dish to my D.C.-area friends who are both vegan and meat eaters.

While the Fried Shouk’n filled me up, I’m eager to return to try one of the restaurant’s sweets, like the Choco Cardamom cookie, or buy an ingredient from the restaurant’s market menu, like the harissa sauce, to use when cooking at home.

For plant-based meals that will satisfy you, give Shouk a try.

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