As much as I’d love to say glowing things about Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian, I just can’t. It’s the prices. They’re so out of whack that there’s no justification.
The cafe’s calling card is that it serves indigenous Native American foods, which is great and certainly a step up from the McDonald’s at the Air & Space Museum. But everything is so damn expensive that they’re essentially fleecing the tourists; I can’t even imagine what it must be like trying to eat there with a family in tow.
Went there with my friend Deb last Friday for lunch, and this was my entree:
It’s shrimp and aji peppers over a fried yucca cake. I watched the server place the yucca on the plate, and then slowly and deliberately spoon out all of three shrimp.
The cost? $16.95. With tax (and no drink), over 18 bucks.
The shrimp tasted like shrimp in tomato sauce — pretty much something I make at home on a Tuesday night.
Deb got a salmon dish with root vegetables and horseradish mashed potatoes. More substantial than mine, but still, a hefty $20.95.
I downed my plate in a nanosecond. Luckily Deb couldn’t finish all of hers, so I got to sample her leftover potatoes and root veggies. They were good, and helped fill me up at least a little.
Everywhere I looked there were jacked up prices — $16.95, $18.95, even a $29.95. For that much I’d much rather sit down for a nice lunch at Central or The Source.
At the end of the day and however they try to spin it, Mitsitam Cafe is still a cafeteria. You get own food and bus your own trays. The food, while somewhat interesting, didn’t seem to wow either of us.
I hate to say it, but what a huge ripoff. Perhaps a better name for the place would be, “Mighty Sum Cafe.”
National Museum of the American Indian
4th St. and Independence Ave. SW