June 23, 2009

Zaytinya - Mezze Hot Spot in Downtown DC

We have been wanting to dine at a Jose Andres restaurant. The well-known Spanish chef trained under Ferran Adria, the renown chef of El Bulli (often considered the best restaurant in the world). Andres is known for inventive small plates.

Zaytinya is a great downtown DC spot. The space is light and airy. The food features Mediterranean mezze from Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey.

The restaurant fills up quickly with tourists and the after-work crowd.

Aphrodite's Pear ($12): pear vodka, fresh lime juice, and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur. We preferred this drink as it was crisp and not too sweet.
Thalia (Goddess of Good Cheer) cocktail ($10): grape vodka, lime syrup and limoncello with a sour cherry reduction. This was sweeter than the Aphrodite's Pear.

Pipe Dreams ($7.50): Goat cheese from Pennsylvania with zatar tomato-kalamata, wrapped in grape leaves. We really loved the creamy texture and rustic taste of the cheese.

Taramosalata ($6.50): This was the traditional Greek spread with cured carp roe. It was light, airy, and plentiful!

The warm homemade pita bread went well with our spreads (along with the olive oil and pomegranate vinegar).

Lamb Kleftico ($10): Roasted lamb in a light pastry with feta cheese and dill. This was delicious.

Crispy Veal Sweetbreads ($10): This was the rare miss in our meal. It was an interesting preparation of sweetbreads - breaded and fried with slight tang from the fennel and orange. We love sweetbreads, but much prefer the traditional, baked preparation from NYC's Kefi.

Zak-lava ($8): Light and crispy phyllo pastry with hazelnut cream and chocolate ganache. It comes with a side of labneh sorbet (tasted like honey) on a honey-cardamon sauce. This dessert was a nice twist on the traditional baklava. We love the taste of chocolate and hazelnut together. This was a perfect way to end our meal.

Zaytinya is located at 701 9th St. NW (at G St).

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