House of Steep in Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood is an innovative little tea house that opened in 2012. Actually, the restaurant’s name could be given two meanings. The steep in House of Steep could refer to the restaurant’s expansive tea menu featuring over 50 different teas and tea blends. Or it could refer to the fact that you can get a foot soak in the restaurant’s foot sanctuary, though drinking the bathwater after your soak isn’t recommended.
But the steep doesn’t refer to House of Steep’s menu prices – everything on the menu is reasonably priced. The food menu isn’t as expansive as the tea menu, but that’s because House of Steep is a tea house. There are both breakfast and lunch/dinner menu options, though, and the breakfast menu items can be ordered anytime of day.
There are several vegan and/or vegetarian items on House of Steep’s menu. The Vega-dilla ($4.29) – a mixture of granola, cranberries and apples topped with almond butter in a pita wrap and cooked like a quesadilla – is a unique breakfast dish. It pairs awesomely with House of Steep’s seasonal apple cider, which is served warm or cold. There’s also the granola Cereal ($3.49) and Oatmeal ($4.99), which comes with cranberries and brown sugar, for vegan/vegetarian breakfast items.
Other light fare that doesn’t necessarily qualify as breakfast food includes the Sliced Seasonal Fruit ($2.49), Miso Soup ($3.49) and Veggie Wasabi Dumplings ($5.99). House of Steep’s Seasonal Soup ($4.89) is a vegetable soup that’s delicious, if not familiar.
As for lunch/dinner fare, House of Steep has something for those looking for a light meal and for those looking for something more filling. There’s the Garden Beet Salad ($6.29), which can be served with or without goat cheese. Diners can add chicken, shrimp or tofu to the salad for an extra $2 and make the salad a wrap for an extra $1.
The Veggie Tea Sandwich ($5.29) is a little sandwich chocked full of vegetables to accompany your tea if you’re looking for a light snack or meal. House of Steep’s Veggie Wrap ($6.99) with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers in a grilled pita wrap is hearty, sweet and refreshing.
House of Steep also serves Rice Bowls ($8.99) – a mix of veggies and either tofu, shrimp or chicken – that can be ordered Japanese style with wasabi soy sauce or Thai with peanut sauce.
The only complaint about House of Steep is the limited parking. There are three parking spots in front of the restaurant, several more on the North Pollard Street side of the restaurant, which are normally filled during the day and ten easy-to-miss retail parking spaces in the rear of the building. But there is plenty of residential parking a block or two away behind the restaurant’s Lee Highway location and diners who have to resort to parking back there can look forward to a relaxing, uplifting or energizing foot soak after parking and walking to House of Steep.
House of Steep has a special section secluded from the dining room with a partition for foot soaks and foot massages. All foot soaks last 20 minutes and include salts, herbs and essential oils in a warm foot bath and range in price from $19 – $24. The soaks come in three categories – standard, signature and targeted. Targeted soaks include foot soaks that are named after the things they claim to aid: Digestion ($23), Headaches ($22), Insomnia ($23), Muscle Aches ($22), Recovery ($22) and Sadness ($23).
House of Steep, which also offers foot reflexology, foot and lower leg massage and hand and arm massage sessions, is truly a fresh business model that can provide a relaxing break from work, a fun, laid-back time with friends or a romantic dinner date with your significant other.
House of Steep • 3800 Lee Hwy., Arlington • 703-567-1589 • houseofsteep.com