Alex and I apparently moved to DC at just the right time. We started out our adventure with two full weeks of DC Restaurant Week. I had the chance to sample dishes from Art and Soul,which has the best corn bread I've ever tasted in my life. Then I got to check out Oyamel, where I had my first experience with foam featured as salt air garnishing their tasty margaritas. Then Alex and I got our first DC date night in at Zaytinya.
We had heard such good things about Zaytinya. Everyone we knew in DC raved about their classically delicious Greek fare with a Lebanese twist. Plus, Zaytinya is the former home of Top Cheftestant, Mike Isabella, who is Alex's favorite. So it had to be good.
And, boy was it. Definitely the best Greek meal I've had since we honeymooned there in September. The atmosphere was modern with lots of traditional Greek whites and blues. We had both the privilege and the curse of sitting near the large open air kitchen. It was so fun to see some of the action. Yet, difficult to contain ourselves from ordering everything on the menu as our mouths watered over the large chunks of lamb grilling only a few feet away.
Due to this, we decided not to go with the Restaurant Week menu. It looked delicious, but there were just too many limitations on things we had to try.
We started the meal with some delicious Assyrtiko Santorian wine, olive oil, and a basket of steaming hot pitas. The pitas a Zaytinya are delicious, fresh made, chewy, and endless. The staff literally refills them the moment you pop the last bite of one in your mouth. So efficient!
We shared a few snacks, a cheese plate of Feta served with allspice apple, Tulumu served with honeycomb, and Kasar served with incredibly delicious raisins on the vine; Greek olives marinated in oregano and olive oil; and Htipiti a fresh, heavenly, spread of marinated roasted red peppers, feta, and thyme.
Next we tried the Kolokithokeftedes, which I was particularly excited about. You may remember, or not, that my favorite dish in Greece, other than Saganaki, were the tomatokeftedes we had at Tzitzikas kai Mermigas in Athens. Since I adore zucchini too, I thought these were going to be a huge winner. However, I was slightly disappointed. The consistency seemed to be a bit off for me as keftedes are balls (insert immature laughter here) and these were a little more like pasty zucchini cheese patties. I was a little bummed, but it totally did not spoil my meal.
Next up was the kotopoulo youvetsi made of chicken, orzo, tomato, and kefalograviera cheese, which was insanely scrumptious. While in Greece we had very little pasta so this was a refreshingly different dish than anything we tried before.
This is the part of the night where my pictures get funny because I'm so in love with my food that I forget to take pictures before I start eating. Above is one of the specials of the evening. It was a lamb meatloaf stuffed with herbs and cheese. Yum.
Next was the spanakopita made with house made phyllo dough, spinach, and feta. It was crispy, delectable, and shaped like a giant egg roll.
Last came the Knisa Lamb Chops. These babies were grilled to perfection and served with smoked yogurt, caper-dill saltsa and pomegranate berries.
We were absolutely stuffed, so we decided to forgo dessert and end the night on a liquid note. Alex had a cappuccino and I ordered a glass of Vin Santo, my favorite Greek dessert wine, however they were all out. So I went home a little thirsty, but probably better for it the next morning.
Zaytinya was a total hit and we will be going back soon!