Arts & Entertainment

Naked Lunch’s All Vegetarian & Vegan Eats Are All Good

NAKED LUNCH’S Cauliflower Steak is among the best lunch meals in the area. (Photo: Drew Cosltey/News-Press)
NAKED LUNCH’S Cauliflower Steak is among the best lunch meals in the area. (Photo: Drew Cosltey/News-Press)

MOM’s Organic Market is one of my favorite homespun businesses in the entire region. Like one of my other favorites, Five Guys, it’s got humble beginnings. A 22-year-old Scott Nash started the business as a home delivery service out of his mother’s garage with an initial investment of $100.

Nowadays, Nash’s business, which is now a grocery store chain specializing in organic foods, has 14 locations throughout the DMV, with another in Bryn Mawr, Penn.

One of the main reasons why it became my favorite was that in my fledgling days as a vegan, MOM’s was the only grocery store I could go to if I wanted more variety than Tofurky and produce. There are other reasons, which I’ll come back to those later, but what could make one of my favorites even better? An addition in recent years of an all vegetarian and vegan eatery called Naked Lunch.

MOM’s Organic Market seems to be placing Naked Lunch’s at their new locations for the most part – the Merrifield, Arlington and Washington, D.C. locations, for example, have all opened within the past decade and have Naked Lunch additions.

The other Naked Lunch locations are in Baltimore, Bryn Mawr, Herndon and Rockville. For those who disobey the advice not to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, this is vital information. Merrifield’s Naked Lunch location has a bar near the entrance of the store where shoppers and diners can enjoy a meal.

Most of the offerings on Naked Lunch’s menu are of the bowl variety, which is a dining trend from over the past decade that I’m frankly ambivalent about. A few of the more interesting items on the menu are the Confetti Bowl, Sushi Bowl and Crowder Bowl, all of which are priced at $8.75. The Crowder Bowl, for example, comes with brown rice, spinach, bell peppers, caramelized onions, shredded carrots, tofu, cashews, and scallions, tossed with coconut curry dressing and topped with cilantro and lime juice.

For the vegetarians, the Confetti Bowl comes with brown rice and black beans with parmesan cheese, mixed peppers, olives, tomatoes, corn, garnished with cilantro and jalapenos with lime-jalapeno dressing.

If you aren’t in the mood for a bowl, Naked Lunch has three other options, two of which I’ve tried. The Black Bean Burger ($8.75) doesn’t rank very high on the list of veggie burgers that I’ve had. It had a load of tasty ingredients – turtle black beans, brown rice, sweet potato, green onion and cabbage on a spelt bun with melted cheddar and guacamole – but it’s just kind of bland.

Perhaps that’s because I ordered it without cheese, but alas. The other of those three options that I had on a recent visit to Naked Lunch, the Cauliflower Steak ($8.75), was absolutely delicious.

It is a head of cauliflower flattened out to look like a steak that’s marinated in lemon juice, dill, olive oil and garlic and served on a bed of brown rice, fresh spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and chimichurri dressing. It’s engaging in terms of taste and was hearty while remaining light. The dish is definitely on my list of favorite lunch meals in the Falls Church area.

Naked Lunch also serves freshly made juices with names like Pink Lady and The Chill, both $5.25 for a 12 oz./$6.50 for a 16 oz., but I haven’t tried any of them, so I’ll withhold comment. Diners can also make their own juice with either a carrot, apple or orange base and add-ins like beet, kale, cucumber and spinach.

Back to some more reasons why MOM’s is one of my favorite local businesses. For starters, MOM’s pays a $12 minimum wage. Also, they prefer employees who “wish for the demise of Exxon, Monsanto and the coal industry,” as it says on their jobs page on their website. And now I can add Naked Lunch, MOM’s simple but wonderful eatery to the list.

Naked Lunch | 8298 Glass Alley | Fairfax | 703-663-8810 | momsorganicmarket.com