Best Grain-Meat Guru


We live in post-meat times, and Field Roast Grain Meat Company founder DAVID LEE is a post-meat kind of guy. Although pork, beef, chicken, and lamb are still very much a part of America's cultural and culinary landscape, cruelty-free "meats" are beginning to challenge animal products' dominion in the marketplace. presents six different preparations for Lee's grain-based, protein-rich cold cuts and roasts; if you're skeptical, head up to Capitol Hill to see how the pros use it. Charlie's on Broadway and the Elysian Brewery have included Field Roast sandwiches on their menus since the late '90s, helping the Georgetown-based company remain at the forefront of the meatless-meat industry. Lee's next projects? A "fully fatty" grain meatloaf and an East African–style veggie sausage made with chipotle, hot peppers, and cardamom—an idea he says came to him "in a dream."

David Lee's Picks

Best local restaurant: "The Moonlight Cafe, at 20th and Jackson. They make killer vegetarian and vegan cuisine, Viet-style, influenced by Ho Chi Minh (who served as an apprentice to the great French chef Auguste Escoffier). The combination of fresh herbs and greens with the complex, slowly simmered sauces of the French is wonderful, delicious, and satisfying. They have a complete menu of vegetarian meat dishes; alternatives to all meats and fishes. They even have [vegetarian] stuffed crab legs!"

Best meatless brunch: "Hands down— Coffee Messiah on Capitol Hill! They serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Check out Smitty's latkes, the tofu mix-a-lot, and their faux eggs Benedict."

Best late-night vegetarian fare: "Smarty Pants in Georgetown. Owner and Chicago native Tim Ptak knows how to cook! He makes a great line of overstuffed sandwiches, really good potato salad, and chili (both vegan and meat). Tim buys all his ingredients locally. The cool thing about Smarty Pants is that they have a full vegetarian menu as well as a meat menu, so everyone can get what they want." [For more about Smarty Pants, read Laura Cassidy's restaurant review on p. 103—Ed.]

Best use for grain meat: "Grilling. Our smoked tomato Field Roast on the grill, brushed with a super tasty barbecue sauce, slightly charred, sweet, piquant— I'm in heaven."

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