– an eclectic blog


August 27th, 2011 by kimly

Zaytinya – innovative Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisine

701 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

[At the corner of G & 9th Streets NW, across from the Galley Place Metro]

August 26, 2011 – 5pm reservation, 6 adults and a 10 month old

Zaytinya is part of the José Andrés’ Think Food Group which Jaleo is also a part of.

Restaurant Week Menu

Because of the early hour, we were given the lunch menu ($20.11 for 3 courses plus dessert) instead of the dinner menu ($35.11 for 4 courses plus dessert) – the three courses were identical between the menus, the dinner just added one more round. There was plenty in the three courses for the group to leave slightly over stuffed. Fresh, hot pita was endless and began before our order was even taken. Initially served with olive oil with a swirl of what I assumed was balsamic – it was sweeter and thicker than traditional vinegar so if it was balsamic, it was reduced. The items on the Restaurant Week menu came from Zaytinya’s regular menu.

  • Hommus – puree of chickpeas, garlic, tahini
  • Baba Ghannouge – fire-roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, garlic
  • Fattoush – tomato, cucumber, red onion, green pepper, radish, pita chips, pomegranate vinegar dressing
  • Grape Leaves Dolmades (4) – grape leaves with rice, tomato, fennel, pine nuts, golden raisins, served with labneh

All of the first course selections were fantastic. The hommus was very smooth and garnished with olive oil and paprika. The grape leaves were not at all mushy and had a nice under note of tang from the preserved grape leaves. The Fattoush was a pleasant surprise, very fresh and the raw red onions were sweet and not biting. The star of this course was the Baba Ghannouge. Wonderful flavor and not quite as smooth as the hommus but the extra texture added to the dish.

  • Falafel – traditional chickpea fritters, tahini sauce
  • Bamya – caramelized okra, fresh and crispy chickpeas, cardamom tomato stew
  • Garides me Anitho – sautéed shrimp, dill, shallots, mustard, lemon juice
  • Moshari Souvlaki – grilled grass-fed veal breast, butter lettuce, lemon, tzatziki

Another course where we didn’t experience a disappointing dish. The Bamya was unique – the sliced okra’s interior wasn’t gummy and although served over a stew, the okra and crispy chickpeas weren’t soggy. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, the sauce light and complementary, not overpowering. It was amazing how crispy the outside of the Falafel was considering the delicate center – wonderful dichotomy. Finally, the veal was tasty if a bit fatty

  • Kefteses Kapama – beef and lamb meatballs, feta cheese, rustic tomato sauce, cinnamon, allspice
  • Sea Scallops – seared scallops, yogurt-dill sauce

Although there were four different options for the third course, the table centered on only two. We didn’t sample the eggplant nor the grilled chicken. The meatballs were cooked to a medium rare middle and the texture was a courser grind than traditional burger. The feta smoothed out the tang of the spicy tomato sauce. The scallops were cooked to translucent perfection with a caramelized exterior.

  • Greek Yogurt and Apricots – marinated apricots, vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet, pistachio powder
  • Turkish Delight – walnut ice cream with Skotidakis Farm goat’s milk yogurt mousse, honey gelee

The Greek Yogurt was served parfait style. It was amazing how much walnut flavor was infused in the ice cream. It was served with a crispy piece of honey soaked layered filo. The lack of anything left at the end of dessert course was testament to the flavor and although many claimed to be stuffed, several wanted just a bit more of the sweets.

  • Istanbul, Not Constantinople – Maker’s Mark bourbon, apricot eau-de-vie, Turkish apricot nectar, apricot-raki air
  • Pom Fili – white wine, vodka, pomegranate
  • Cinsault/Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon – Massaya, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2010

The Istanbul was served ‘sour style’ with a frothy head and was slightly sweet as well. The wine was a rosé served in a long-stemmed red glass. The Pom Fili, like the Istanbul was presented in a highball glass over ice. The people drinking enjoyed them enough for a second round but there was nothing super spectacular about the cocktails.

Total Cost: ~$230 plus ~$45 tip

Posted in Restaurant Review

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