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At this brand new Japanese street food and omakase restaurant in the heart of Shaw, the sushi options are fantastic. (Image: Robert Fairbairn/Zeppelin)
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5 new restaurants to try for meatless options during Lent

Whether you observe the religious season or have other reasons for being meatless, there are new options in town that shouldn’t stop you from going out and enjoying a fantastic meal. These spots feature a number of vegetable dishes, seafood and fish options and absolutely no skimping on flavor.

The best part? These are not specials or changed menus specifically for the Lent season, so you can expect the same offerings all year.

Here are five new and trendy spots for you on Fish Fridays, or any other day you choose.

Zeppelin

At this brand new Japanese street food and omakase restaurant in the heart of Shaw, the sushi options are fantastic. That should come as no surprise considering Chef Minoru Ogawa (behind the popular spots Sushi Capitol and Sushi Ogawa) has over four decades of experience and flies in fish from Japan on a regular basis, after personally securing connections with sellers in Japan -- he typically travels to Japan once a month. There are a variety of diverse and seasonal fish available, but the fatty tuna and the ocean trout are fantastic. The yakitori menu includes a limited selection of vegetables and shellfish, such as a okra and tomato skewer and shishito peppers, but the vegetable/shrimp tempura make for a great appetizer. Treat yourself at the omakase counter instead, as the variety of price points ($65-$100) are a great deal. Don’t miss the cocktails, especially the highballers, but if you’ve given up alcohol for Lent, ask to try their bubbly mocktails.

Rooster and Owl

For a slightly fancy night out, Rooster and Owl, a recent addition to upper 14th Street, should be on your radar. It features a tasting menu with options for each course, focusing on fresh, local, seasonal produce. Their intention is to highlight vegetables all year, and really elevate them to a status that is typically reserved for meat. As a result, the menu, which changes on a nearly daily basis, comprises mainly vegetable-forward dishes, a few seafood options and a couple of meat options that you don’t feel bad skipping. You’ll find dishes such as carrots grilled with a barbecue dry rub and a vinegar barbecue sauce (served with cornbread ice cream), and a kanpachi (lightly cured fish with firm, white flesh) served atop coconut milk with a kaffir lime syrup and Asian grapefruit. At $65 per person for four courses, it's a nice option for a date night/celebrations.

Susheria

Susheria’s menu features everything from ceviche, maki rolls, sashimi, rice bowls and Nikkei cuisine, which is food created by the large numbers of Japanese immigrants in Peru. Try the classic Peruvian ceviche, which has mahi mahi with cancha corn, sweet potatoes and aji limo, or the tuna ceviche with soy and lime cured onions. Another favorite is the Lima street style ceviche which comes with fried calamari. The sea spider maki roll combines soft shell crab and avocado and the Camaron Andino maki roll is a combination of shrimp tempura with queso fresco, avocado, aji Amarillo sauce and crunchy quinoa. At Susheria, you'll definitely find interesting combinations, numerous seafood and vegetarian dishes, and a casual ambiance looking out over Georgetown.

Coconut Club

You’ve probably seen something on Instagram about the island-y Coconut Club in the Union Market neighborhood as it really is made for pictures! Even if you're going for the gram, you'll stay for the seafood-centric menu, with Hawaiian poke (get the salmon!), fish tacos, fresh ahi tuna flown in from Hawaii and served simply with aged soy sauce, and even a whole grilled fish served with rice. There are also many vegetables, grains and salad options. Though they do have a section featuring the popular Hawaiian staple, Spam, you won’t feel like you are missing out with all the other options. With drinks served in disco balls, colorful and photo-friendly dishes, and a lively atmosphere, you really will feel like you are on vacation.

Hazel

Okay, this is not a new restaurant, but they did recently get a new chef and now have a completely new menu with a Mediterranean bent that’s vegetable heavy. Start with the fluffy laffa bread and dips - don’t miss the herbaceous zhug or the carrot haydari. The vegetarian selections include a number of interesting dishes, such as the cheese squash with brown butter, crispy potatoes covered in a harissa and za’atar spice, and roasted carrots with whipped tahini. For something larger, or if you are in a group, the whole roasted fish is the way to go. It is served with spicy yogurt, a stack of sumac onions and a citrus gremolata that lightens it all up.

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