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[Photo: Compass Rose]

Sometimes it’s good to be all over the place. Take 14th Street’s Compass Rose, inspired by the owners’ street food-eating, globetrotting tour of over 30 countries. The menu bounces around from El Salvador to Peru to India to Georgia (the country) and, like most international trips, reminds vegetarians that it’s the fry that binds us.

Navigate the snack section carefully to avoid filling up too early. This is easier said than done when presented with fried yucca, three dips and fry bread, grilled bread, and a baked but also fried potato.

The dip trio included a delicious red pepper and feta puree and simple but tasty hummus and kale white bean spreads. ‘Fry bread’ turned out to be lighter than we had imagined – crispy homemade chips sitting somewhere between pita and tortilla.

Three dips

Three dips and a corner of fry bread

We abandoned all temperance at the ‘Veg and Bread Cart’ and ordered one of each. The pupusa stuffed with mushrooms, truffle oil, and cheese was tasty, but given what was coming, not necessarily worth the grease factor.

Pupusa

Pupusa

Indian bhel puri offered a break from the usual puffed rice-laden version with a creative twist, served Thai lettuce wrap-style with peanuts. Still, we hadn’t quite hit our moment of bliss.

Bhel puri chaat

Bhel puri chaat

Then, our last two items came out together and the moment was upon us. The treviso salad of frisee, roasted sweet sunchokes, crispy roasted artichokes, and lemon, was earthy, tart, and divine.

Treviso salad

Treviso salad

We feasted on the salad alongside khachapuri, an indulgent canoe of yeasted crust filled with curd-like Georgian cheese, an egg, and a wedge of butter all swirled together before our eyes. We dug in wishing we had left more room or, I guess, brought more people.

Khachapuri

Khachapuri

I’ll be back soon to concentrate on the winning combination, but am confident that the OTHER fried carbs on the menu (especially that baked fried potato) are worth a taste. The real challenge at Compass Rose is how to trot around the globe without feeling the weight of the world…in your belly.

1346 T Street NW
202-506-4765

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