10 Feb

Living in the Penn Quarter Zaytinya was one of those places that I would walk by fairly frequently and think, “How is it that I still haven’t eaten here?” or “I wonder what they’ll have chef Mike Isabella doing on Top Chef this week?” Somehow I just never quite made it through the doors.

Then last week after a Wednesday Mariah Carey concert at Constitution Hall (best: glitter-covered, octave-ranging, diva-hand-gesturing concert EVER… for serious) I exited Metro Center in the mood for a post-best-concert-EVER night cap and Zaytinya was right there in front of me beckoning with its Mezza Ora. Mediterranean serendipity? I think so.

Zaytinya’s Mezze Ora is a happy hour special that they also run Tuesday-Thursday from 10:30-11:30. With $4 wine, beer, cocktails and select small plates, it is a great deal. At 11 PM on a Wednesday we had the lounge area nearly to ourselves, minus the usual sea of Washington power players with a beer in one hand, BlackBerry in the other.

To drink I got the Pom Fil, a vodka, white wine, pomegranate juice concoction that was refreshing, a bit tart and exactly what I would imagine Carrie Bradshaw would order if she was ever in Turkey. To munch on we ordered the falafel, a lamb stuffed pita dish and the Garides Me Anitho, a lemony shrimp dish. The lamb was good but nothing to write home about and the falafel married that perfect balance of crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, but the real winner was the shrimp plate. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and bathed in a pool of buttery, lemony, dill-infused goodness. The sauce was so good we ordered a serving of their handmade pita bread to soak up what didn’t cling to the shrimp. All that plus two beers came out to less than $30, a serious deal! I am glad I finally made it to Zaytinya, and I’ll be back… soon… those shrimp are calling my name.


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