A new reason to get up early in Old Town
By Tom Sietsema
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
One of the best breakfasts in Washington -- the cilantro-speckled scrambled eggs with tea-cured salmon offered at three branches of Teaism -- became available in Alexandria in March, when the good-for-you, Asian-inspired restaurant opened in Old Town, its fourth dining room. There, veteran chef Alison Swope recently added fresh ideas to Teaism’s longstanding menu of Thai chicken curry, udon noodle soup and bento boxes.
One new eye-opener is a riff on the savory Japanese pancake called okonomiyaki: shredded cabbage and scallions held together with a light batter and browned to a gentle crisp. The dish comes with an over-easy egg and thick turkey bacon in the morning and a choice of grilled chicken or shrimp later in the day. A second reason to go out for breakfast: nutty-tasting pancakes made with buckwheat, hemp seed and buttermilk. Light and fluffy, the stack is dressed with apple compote and genuine maple syrup. Tempeh and grains scrambled with tomato, kale and ginger, then framed in honeydew melon, also start the day out right.
As for the Saigon Sub, the banh mi vendors at Eden Center need not worry. Old Town Teaism’s squishy baguette and muted ground chicken (where’s the expected kick?) pose no threat.
The additions are possible thanks to the size of the youngest Teaism: at 4,600 square feet, it’s the largest in the chainlette and also the most beautiful. Bamboo slats make for see-through walls, grass cloth warms up the ceiling and colorful ottomans lend a homey touch.
The expansive space means there’s room for a full bar as well. Unlike its siblings, this Teaism lets you drink a martini with your grass-fed Virginia beef burger.