Welcome to the amazing and unconventional world of Michelin star worthy, Unconventional Diner! Located right by D.C.’s Convention Center in Shaw, the Unconventional Diner comes from the mind of Chef David Deshaies, who worked under celebrity Chef Michel Richard for 17 years. Now, David is taking the city by storm with his new take on diners. True to its name, everything here is unconventional and amazing. From starters to entrees and on to desserts, all of the dishes are prepared with perfection. Their shareable dishes were so good that we could’ve eaten them alone and been satisfied. Luckily the place was not crazy packed, and we were able to get a reservation pretty easily on the same day. One big tip, however: make sure that everyone in your party arrives on time as they will not sit you until the entire party is there. You can bet that we will return and update this review with more dishes.
We started our unconventional nomnoms with the beautiful shareable dish, Avocado Toast. True to the restaurant’s name, this dish is taken to another level with presentation and taste. Being egg lovers, we fell in love with the confit egg yolk, which we could cut right through to spread the yolk’s goodness all around. Bite-size bread pieces come on the side for you to prepare your nomnoms, or you can skip the bread altogether. Extra bonuses for this dish: it’s vegetarian-friendly (unless you count the egg as meat!). Dairy-free and gluten-free bread are also available by request. This dish raised our expectations very high for the rest of the dinner. Remember, just because you ordered from the shareable part of the menu, no one says you have to share!
Everything Lox $13 (5/5 NOMs)
In life, we want everything and Everything Lox delivers! This was one of our favorite dishes of the night. Get ready for a great and unconventional take on the Everything Bagel and Lox. At first sight, you see a nice layer of smoked salmon on top of wasabi cream. What you don’t see, at least until you cut through, is the poached egg’s yolk, which goes everywhere. Such a great combination of flavors and textures! The everything bagel is cut up into small bite-size pieces that make it perfect to add all of the different ingredients. We still can’t get over the egg on the inside. What I love about this restaurant is how they incorporate the egg and its runny yolk into so many things. Honestly, can we marry the chef? We love eggs so much and he has already won our hearts. We would say this is another dish that you should not feel guilty about if you don’t end up sharing. You’ll want to clean the plate yourself.
Miso Salmon $22 (5/5 NOMs)
We are going healthy with our first full dish of the night, the Miso Salmon. What a great combination to create a tasty seafood dish! Miso Salmon, zucchini and pine nuts with a lemon sauce on the side. Both the fish and the veggies were very light in seasoning and profile. Great for those who do not want to fall into a food coma, or for those of us who enjoyed a few too many appetizers.
Chicken Parm Florentine $23 (4/5 NOMs)
Carbs never tasted better than when in this Chicken Parm Florentine. What’s not to like? It’s breaded chicken, melted cheese and pasta coming together to create this masterpiece. What makes this special, however, is that the pasta is already rolled into bite-sized portions. It’s a great way to make this easier to eat, and it ensures you have the right amount of pasta in each of your bites. We also love that marinara sauce is at the bottom so we can choose the right amount for us. Of course, we also love that gruyere cheesy goodness on top of the crispy chicken patty. If you are a fan of chicken parm, then this is for you.
Meatloaf $23 (4/5 NOMs)
Grandma has nothing on this amazing Sriracha-glazed Meatloaf from Unconventional Diner. Another beautiful dish with a nice piece of meat surrounded by some delicious morel (mushroom) gravy. Served with a side of some chunky and gooey mashed potatoes with green onion, the meatloaf itself was smooth and soft. You might have expected it to have a bit of a kick with the Sriracha, but it was surprisingly mild. It’s so good that your grandma might just give up cooking her own meatloaf.
Sunny Eggs $9 (5/5 NOMs)
Who knew that eggs and bacon could make for both a great breakfast and a dessert? Every part of this dessert is made from the sugary sweet things. Yes, this is by far one of the most fun desserts out there. It might look and sound like conventional eggs, but it’s far from it. Let’s breakdown all of the witchcraft going on here: “egg whites” made from coconut mousse, “yolk” made of mango and bacon from some magic sour-like things. Just like all the dishes we’ve had so far, Sunny Eggs has a great presentation. Flavor-wise, it was just as good as it looks. Just like real eggs, the mango “yolk” had more flavor compared to the coconut moose, which was smooth and light. It was so much fun to dig into this dish and try everything!
Rhubarb Strawbery Cobbler (3/5 NOMs)
We enjoyed going both warm and cold with a Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler from their dessert menu. While we are not usually big fans of cobblers, this was a great nomnom. Plus, our first who loves cobbler ate the whole thing in one bite. So it must have been good!
Smith Island Carrot Cake $9 (4/5 NOMs)
They say eat more veggies and this is the best way — with a whole lot of cake on it! Look at this orange beauty with its several layers of creme anglaise, which is French for “English cream.” It’s nice and light, so you won’t feel like you got a sugar overload, even if you eat the whole thing.
Ferrero Rocher Tart $9 (5/5 NOMs)
The last, but not least, may even the best nomnom dessert of the night was the Ferrero Rocher Tart. This dessert is one of the top sellers for a good reason. What’s not to love? With its thick layer of Gianduja chocolate spread (which contains a lot of hazelnut paste) and Nutella with caramel, cream and nuts, it’s got a lot of nutty flavors. This tart is a sugary overload and we are living for it. Both the texture and sweetness gave us a nomster of happiness with every bite. It’s not the lightest of desserts, so it might be good to share it with a few friends.