Thursday, January 11, 2007


The librarian and I walked walked across F street and up 9th arriving at Jose Andres' Zaytinya. A sleek, modern Greek/Mediterranean mezze restaurant. We walked into the restaurant and asked the hostess for a table for two. It was 9 in the evening and the restaurant was packed. We didn't realize why until we opened the menu; Zaytinya was participating in the DC Restaurant Week. Originally, we were going to snack on a few plates but who could pass up a 5-course meal at one of Washington's premier restaurants?

After the waiter took our drink orders we toiled over the menu trying to decide what to get. I let the veteran epicurean lead the way. A basket of pita started off the dinner and as soon as the first dishes were brought to our table, it was an endless train of food one after the other. First came the tabbouleh, fattoush, and taramosalata: a cured cod roe dip, quite fishy. Then came the tzatziki, wait, I didn't order tzatziki. I wanted to try the htipiti, roasted red bell peppers with feta and thyme, but I guess the waiter thought I said tzatziki. Note to self, it's OK to point at the menu. No worries, I got my feta-fix with the steamed mussels smothered in savory tomato broth with feta cheese. Finally, the little space left on the table was no more. Out came the keftedes with roasted garlic yogurt sauce; which oddly reminded me of the beef/pork patties my grandmother used to make during the holidays in Korea; lagos krassatos me fakies, braised rabbit with lentils; and kolokithokeftedes, perfectly round zucchini-cheese patties with a caper yogurt sauce. It was so much food and we still had dessert to go. I would usually go for the chocolate, but went for the Greek yogurt & apricot parfait instead. And perfect it was. Muscat soaked apricots, a thick layer of sweet, rich, creamy Greek yogurt topped with a flower-shaped apricot foam and sprinkled with pistachio salt. Complemented with a sage & herb tea, I wished I wasn't so full that I couldn't finish the dessert. Is it just me or does sage taste like lamb?

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