DEJA VU ON THE MENU: Rupperts closed three years ago, but the spirit of the minimalist American restaurant on Seventh Street NW -- revered by its fans for its purity and criticized by others for its preciousness -- resurfaces at the recently unveiled Viridian (1515 14th St. NW; 202-234-1400) in Logan Circle.
It helps that a few of the Rupperts principals, including siblings Sidra Forman and Kenan Forman, are guiding the new venture, she as kitchen muse and he as sommelier (his role at Rupperts).
The brief menu, which is free of dairy products save for a cheese course, goes light on meat and entrees (there are just three choices) and heavy on vegetables and side dishes.
Sidra Forman sums up the concept as "food I like to eat" and "how I order in a restaurant." At the same time, the vegan cook says she wants to avoid preaching: "There's no right way to eat or wrong way to eat. We're not ruling anything out." Since most of the food at Viridian is cooked to order, she says, diners can request that certain ingredients be left out. And customers are welcome to come in for a bite or order a traditional three-course meal. Executing Forman's vision on a daily basis is chef Rebecca Byrnes, formerly of The Reef in Adams Morgan.
Named for the green of its window frames -- and the restaurateurs' "green" philosophy -- Viridian sits in what used to be a car showroom. Washington designer David Knight has created an interior that is as simple and clean as the food.
Anyone who has ever had to shout through dinner will be pleased that Knight has solved that problem: The bar front, the host stand, a dividing wall and a few columns are covered with acoustic tiles and Ultrasuede to absorb noise, and the bottoms of the tables are fitted with egg crate foam. "It's nice to hear people sitting four feet in front of you," says the designer.
Dinner appetizers $5 to $10; entrees $14.