Because of taking time off from work for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at the end of November and December, I have not posted an end-of-the-month restaurant review since last October. So this month I’m getting back into my routine with this post about one of my favorite lunch on-the-go spots – the Soho Café & Market, which is located across the Street from Franklin Square at 1301 K Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Downtown neighborhood.
Soho Café & Market is not a restaurant that focuses on one thing, like Horace and Dickie’s does with fish, or We, The Pizza does with pizza. Rather, Soho goes to the other extreme. They offer so many choices that it can sometimes make it difficult to make a decision of what to have. Soho offers a variety of grilled and deli sandwiches, gourmet pizza, an expansive fresh salad and fruit bar, fresh-rolled sushi served with complementary miso, and a Mongolian wok station, an espresso bar, and an insane selection of various desserts and beverages.
Lastly, they also have my go-to favorite for lunch – several buffet-style hot food bars. Although there are a number of these types of places downtown, Soho has the widest selection I’ve seen. And because Soho is almost always quite busy, the food doesn’t look or taste like it’s been sitting out all day, which can be a big problem with some of the other places like this downtown. The only problem with the hot food bar is that everything looks so good that my eyes can tend to be bigger than my stomach. And since it is priced by weight, I have to remind myself to be careful when I am serving myself.
Soho also opens at 6:00am for breakfast, for which they offer breakfast foods at the hot food bar, or omelets, breakfast sandwiches and other dishes cooked to order. There is also fresh fruit, yogurts, oatmeal, and a variety of doughnuts, pastries, biscuits and bagels as well.
Soho is a solid choice for a quick lunch or breakfast downtown, but has limited “workday” hours, open only Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch, and closed on evenings and weekends. But what it lacks in hours of operation it makes up for in always being impeccably clean, keeping enough cash registers open to ensure you can get in and out fairly quickly, and serving good food at a reasonable price.
If I had to identify my biggest criticism of Soho, I would say that its biggest drawback is that there is very little ambiance, often making it seem more like a cafeteria than a restaurant. The inside has plenty of seating and is great for groups, but is merely functional at best. That is why I usually like to take my meal across the street to Franklin Square, where I can people watch while I enjoy what I’m eating. I even have company when I share some of it with the local pigeons.