Wednesday, August 15, 2007

High expectations, full stomachs - Our evening at Zaytinya

Last Tuesday I was nervously squrming in my chair, watching the little clock on my computer, waiting for my work to be done so I could sprint downstairs and the seven or so blocks east to Zaytinya.

Now before I begin, allow me to provide a bit of disclaimer - a lot happened during this meal, and if I were to recall every detail I'd end up with a three page post that even I wouldn't read. So I'm going to try to hit the highlights and keep brevity as a priority.

The experience started at the bar - as any good experience always does - where I met good friends Lisa and Danny and waited for Apples to arrive. After a long wait at the bar (due to the fact that we arrived rediculously early), a couple drinks and a basket of bread (more on that later), we were brought to a table.

Throughout the meal the service was adequate, with some minor hicups; courses were mixed up, the pacing wasn't the best - but most of this was fairly excusable considering it was Restaurant Week, and the place was packed.

Zaytinya's Restaurant Week menu (which is available until August 25th) consists of five courses - four primary courses and a dessert, and equates to an awful lot of food.

I didn't realize it while I was eating it, but I consumed a lot of bread. The bread is the same type they serve at Lebanese Taverna - a wonderfully light pita type bread, hollow in the middle, and served warm. It's damn tasty, and before you know it, you've eaten your weight in bread.

Instead of giving you a blow by blow (or bite by bite) description of the meal, I'll give you a few highlights that I thought stood out:

-Fattoush (Round 1): Incredibly refreshing and really beautiful; I don't eat veggies, but I really enjoyed that.

-Kalamari Me Spanaki (Round 3): Squid is always a success with us, and this was done very well, accompanied by spinach and dill butter.

-Greek Yogurt & Apricots (Dessert): Another really pretty dish, I've never really given apricots a full try, but they were paired perfectly with the vanilla yogurt. This was probably the dish that stood out the most in my mind - probably because I had never had anything like it before.

Obviously we've had over a week to digest our meal and come to a conclusion or two. I think the general consensus (between Jill and I), was that the meal was solid, the bread was amazing, and the atmosphere was pretty cool. But the service was average at best, and the food wasn't revolutionary or breathtaking.

Did I enjoy my meal? Yes. Would I go again? Probably not - at least not to get basic tapas. I feel as if I could have gotten that meal at a dozen places in the DC area (most of which are probably owned by Jose Andres), I get a sense that Zaytinya is, or has the potential to be something really special, I just didn't see it last Tuesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was so underwhelmed by Zatinya, you have no idea. It was one of those places where I was glad to have gone, but I probably won't go back. The bread was my favorite!