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An Early Look at Kellari (With Menus)
Photo by Chris Leaman
Comments () | Published October 20, 2009

>> To see more photos of Kellari, check out our slideshow here

Gregory Zapantis surveys the seafood atop a mound of crushed ice and selects a whole prawn, prettily mottled and nearly as long as my forearm. It weighs in at about half a pound. “This is a Madagascar wild shrimp,” he says, turning it over to show me. Because the flavorful roe is located along its back and not its underside, he says, the kitchen cleans and prepares this shrimp differently. “It’s very sweet, very good.”

This is how Zapantis, chef and partner of the new downtown DC restaurant Kellari, wants all his patrons to start their meal—by chatting with the staff, learning about the food, and understanding the preparation before selecting their dinner. And so the focal point of the restaurant—a DC outpost of the popular New York dining room—is this icy seafood display fringed with fennel and packed with 15 varieties of seafood. Diners can view that day’s selections and choose their meal straight off the ice—a tribute, Zapantis says, to traditional, menuless Greek dining.

Zapantis resists calling Kellari a Greek restaurant or the dishes Greek cuisine. “How can you put borders on food?” he asks. But the menu is unquestionably Mediterranean-inspired, with classics such as spanakopita, olive-oil-grilled lamb, and citrusy avgolemono soup. The seafood, the restaurant’s star, is sold by the pound—the chefs recommend a pound per person—and simply prepared with oregano, capers, lemon, and olive oil. “Our philosophy is that food in its purest form is the best food,” says executive chef Anthony Acinapura.

Around the display, the dining area has brightened considerably since the dark-paneled Restaurant K vacated the space last June. Ivory-pillared candles and shiny blond-wood floors are accented with wine barrels, oversize antique urns, and a copper-trimmed raw bar. Pale swaths of linen hang from the ceiling, like the sails of a ship.

Although it’s smack in the middle of power-dining territory, the white-tablecloth restaurant (and its price tags) seem more suited to a special occasion than a workday meal. But Zapantis and Acinapura try to dismiss any notions of stuffiness. The place’s mantra they say, is “come as strangers, leave as friends.”

Kellari, 1700 K St., NW; 202-535-5274. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch, Sunday for brunch, and daily for dinner.

KELLARI MENU

Soup of the day, $8.95

Spreads
Avgolemono (chicken soup with egg and lemon), $9.95
Tzatziki (cucumber, garlic, and dill goat’s-milk-yogurt dip), $8.95
Saganaki (graviera cheese flamed with Metaxa), $12.95
Pikilia (house-made assortment of spreads with pita chips), $15.95
Plevrakia (slow-roasted lamb riblets with Taygetos wild oregano), $14.95

Salads
Spanakopita (phyllo pies with spinach, leeks, and feta cheese), $12.95
Prasini (romaine hearts, scallions, dill, and mild feta dressing), $9.95
Keftedes (savory beef-and-lamb meatballs in an Agiorgitiko wine sauce), $13.95
Patzaria (arugula, roasted beets, toasted walnuts, and goat cheese), $12.95
Katsikisio (goat cheese baked with apricots, almonds, and Greek honey), $14.95
Ahladi (watercress, endive, Bosc pears, crispy onions, and manouri cheese), $11.95
Kellari chips (crispy eggplant and zucchini with tzatziki), $15.95
Greek salad (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, and Dodonis feta), $14.95

Seafood appetizers
Calamari (grilled with lemon and oregano or lightly pan-fried), $13.95
Tonos “tartare” (olive-oil-infused sashimi-grade tuna), $14.95; with caviar mousse, $18.95
Octopus (sushi-grade, charcoal-grilled), $17.95
Lobster ravioli (lobster-and-tarragon cream), $14.95
Mussels Santorini (ouzo, herbs, and feta), $14.95
Sardines (Portuguese, grilled with olive oil and lemon), $13.95
Crabcakes (jumbo lump crab meat, olive-oil-cured gigantes beans) $16.95
Gulf shrimp (grilled with lemon and herbs or cocktail style, steamed), $16.95
Bakalao (croquettes, garlic/almond mousse, and organic beets), $15.95

Whole fish (priced per pound, deboned before serving)
Lavraki (Mediterranean sea bass; moist, mild, and tender), $28.95
Turbot (Greece; rich mild flavor, similar texture to Dover), $27.95
Saint Pierre (Greece; firm texture, delicious flesh), $25.95
Lethrini (Portugal; red sea bream, sweet and succulent), $36.95
Tsipoura (Mediterranean bream; moist, nutty, white flesh), $26.95
Sargos (gray bream from Greece; gamey flavor, moist flesh), $32.95
Black sea bass (Mid-Atlantic wild bass; sweet flavor and flaky texture), $28.95
Pompano (Gulf of Mexico; rich silvery flesh, full-bodied flavor), $28.95
Barbounia (Senegal; rich and sweet flavor, pan-seared in olive oil), $26.95
Fagri (Greece; moist and lean flavorful white snapper), $34.95
Dover sole (Spain; unique taste with a firm texture), $38.95
Red snapper (Atlantic; fine texture, delicate flavor), $27.95
Astakos (lobster; select your preparation: with house-made pasta, grilled, or stuffed with crabmeat), $27.95

Other entrées
Arctic char (served over fall-squash râgú), $27.95
Shrimp Corfu (pan-seared over wild-mushroom risotto), $26.95
Seafood Yiouvetsi (oven-roasted orzo with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams), $28.95
Plaki (Chilean sea bass, braised with tomatoes, onions, and caperberries), $28.95
Natural chicken (herb-roasted with feta-infused mashed potatoes) $25.95
Brizola (certified Angus New York strip served with hand-cut fries), $37.95
Paidakia (grilled lamb chops with olive oil and oregano-roasted potatoes), $35.95

Three-course Aegean feast, a family-style meal with traditional Greek seafood specialties, grilled whole fish, meat, and a selection of appetizers, $45 per person

Sides
Vlita (sautéed water spinach), $7.95
Asparagus (lightly grilled), $5.95
Gigantes (braised giant beans), $9.95
Fasolakia (braised green beans), $6.95
Spanakorizo (spinach and arborio rice), $6.95
Patates (roasted potatoes), $7.95
Rapini (broccoli rabe, garlic, and feta), $8.95
Horta (steamed wild greens), $7.95

Desserts
Trio of chocolates (warm flourless chocolate cake; profiteroles with vanilla gelato and bittersweet chocolate sauce; and chocolate crème brûlée), $10.95
Baklava sampler (almond, pistachio, walnut, and peanut/chocolate), $8.95
Galatoboureko (vanilla- and citrus-flavored custard pie), $7.95
Karidopita (walnut cake with fig gelato), $7.95
Mastica crème brûlée (Mastic custard with burnt-sugar top), $7.95
Yogurt-cheese cake (baklava crust and mixed berries), $8.95
Kellari sundae (hazelnut gelato, Nutella, whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts, with a shot of Greek coffee), $8.95
Greek yogurt with seasonal fruits and compotes, $7.95
Server’s choice of gelato and sorbet, $7.95
Chef’s selection of cheeses for two, $15.95

Sunday brunch buffet ($19.95 per person)
Fresh squeezed fruit juices (orange, grapefruit, cider)
Fresh baked breads (zucchini bread, cornbread, chocolate banana coffee cake, feta danish)
Traditional Greek spreads with housemade pita (skordalia, melitzanosalata, tzatziki, taramasalata)
Mini muffins and scones with whipped honey/sheep’s-milk butter and fruit compotes (carrot, blueberry, lemon/poppy, currant)
Traditional Greek pies (spinach-and-leek, myzithra cheese, lamb-and-kefalotyri cheese)
Greek yogurt with wildflower-honey parfait
Seasonal fruit platter
Semolina grits and steel-cut oatmeal (brown sugar, dried fruits, mixed nuts)
Frittata (Loukaniko sausage, haloumi cheese and spinach, grilled vegetable)
Smoked-seafood platter (red onion, capers, tomatoes, flavored whipped cream cheeses, mini bagels; salmon, shrimp, scallops, sable, trout, pickled herring, sturgeon, whitefish salad, marinated anchovies, mixed seafood, or octopus salad)
Scrambled organic eggs
Applewood-smoked bacon
Loukaniko sausage
Sliced cured meats, olives, and artisanal cheeses
Orzo salad
Greek salad
Rice pudding

A là carte brunch
Crab Benedict (toasted house-made pita, jumbo lump crabmeat, poached eggs, béarnaise, and fingerling potatoes) $16.95
Eggs Gianena (toasted house-made pita, smoked sable, poached eggs, mint hollandaise, and fingerling potatoes) $14.95
Eggs Ulysses (toasted house-made pita, spiced lamb patty, fried egg, tzatziki, and fingerling potatoes) $14.95
Eggs Melitanosalata (toasted house-made pita, grilled eggplant, poached eggs, roasted-tomato hollandaise, and fingerling potatoes) $10.95
Shrimp-and-fingerling-potato hash (organic eggs served up) $14.95
Baked eggs with grilled rosemary bread (served with choice of spankorizo, stewed tomatoes, gigantes, or braised artichokes with dill and lemon) $11.95
Lamb-steak and eggs (mint pesto) $22.95
Greek omelet (organic eggs, spinach, tomato, and feta) $11.95
Greek toast (tsoureki bread, berries, and honey syrup) $9.95
Athenian breakfast (grilled rosemary bread, feta, sheep’s-milk butter, and seasonal fruit compotes) $8.95
Kellari burger (beef or spiced lamb, house-made sesame bun, and oregano fries) $14.95
Kellari seafood sliders (crab, tuna, and salmon) $14.95

Raw Bar
Selection of oysters, littleneck clams, jumbo-shrimp cocktail, lobster cocktail, jumbo-lump-crab cocktail, Alaskan king crab (market price)

Mezedes
Kellari seafood sliders (salmon, tuna, and crab; mini-burgers on house-made buns served with onion rings), $12.95
Grilled-seafood sampler (calamari, octopus, and jumbo shrimp with lemon/olive-oil emulsion), $18.95
Kataifi-wrapped shrimp (shredded phyllo and Greek yogurt), $15.95
Marinated-seafood salad (shrimp, crab, mussels, calamari, and octopus served with grilled fresh pita), $18.95
Spanikopita (spinach-and-feta pie), $9.95
Kolokithokeftedes (zucchini-and-feta fritters), $10.95
Smoked-fish platter (smoked fish with grilled bread, crème fraîche, and herb salad), $15.95
Kellari veggie chips (eggplant and zucchini chips with tzatziki spread), $12.95
Plevrakia (roasted-lamb riblets sprinkled with Taygetos oregano), $14.95
Keftedes (lamb and beef meatballs served with yogurt and mint), $12.95

Side Offerings
Baked olives, $4.95
Marinated feta, $4.95
House-made pita with tapenade, $4.95

Sparkling and Champagne
Domaine Spiropoulos, Ode Panos, Sparkling, GR NV, $12
Pavlou Estate, Sparkling Rose, Macedonia, GR NV, $10
Daniel Pardiac, Blanc de Blanc, France NV, $12
Veuve Cliquot, Yellow Label NV, $18
Miolo Sparkling Brut, Valle Dos Vinhedos, Brazil NV, $10

White Wines
Mantinia, Moschofilero, Haggipavlu, GR 08, $8
Moschofilero-Roditis Notios, Gai’a, Peloponnese, GR 08, $10
Assyrtiko, Santorini, “Katerina”, Santorini GR 08, $9
Assyrtiko, Atlantis, Argiros, Santorini, GR 07, $8
Savatiano, Megapanos, Attica, GR 08, $9
Roditis, Gai’a Ritinitis Restsina, Peloponnese, GR NV, $10
Chablis, Simonnet Febvre, France 07, $10
Pinot Gris, Willm, Vin d’alsace, France 07, $9
Chalone Vineyards, Monterey, California 06, $12
Acacia Chardonnay Vineyards, Carneros, California 06, $13
Pinot Grigio, Kris Alto Adige, Italy 08, $10
Riesling, Saint “M” Germany 07, $9
Gruner Veltliner, “Aichenberg”, Austria 08, $8
Sauvignon Blanc New Harbor, Marlborough, New Zealand 08, $9

Red Wines
Agiorgitiko, D. Spiropoulos, “Red Stag”, Nemea, GR 06, $10
Agiorgitiko, Lafkiotis, Nemea, GR 06, $10
Limnio/Cab/Merlot, K Lazaridi, Macedonia, GR 06, $14
Nemea Haggipavlu, Peloponnese, GR 06, $10
Syrah-Grenache-Mouvedre, Manousakis, Crete, GR 07, $12
Mandilaria/Mavrotragano, Argyros, Santorini GR 06, $11
Xynomavro, “Klima”, Pavlou Estate, Amyndeon, GR 06, $12
Chateau Greysac, Medoc, France 04, $12
Côtes-Du-Rhône, Parallele 45, Jaboulet, Rhone, France 06/$12
Cabernet Sauvignon, “Cuvee Alexandre”, Chile 06, $12
Malbec Gran Riserva, Mendoza, Argentina 08, $10
Chianti, Ducetto Bartali, D.O.C.G, Tuscany, Italy 07, $10
Zinfandel, Rosemblum Cellars, North Coast, California 06, $10
Merlot, Stowell Cellars, Mendocino, California 06, $10

Rosé Wines
Agiogirtiko, 14-18th Gaia Estate, Nemea, GR 08, $9
Xinomavro, Pavlou Estate, Amyndon, Macedonia, GR 08, $10
Francis Ford Coppola, “Sophia” Carneros, California 08, $10
Green Point Rose, Victoria, Australia 07, $10
Prado Rey, Rosado, Ribera del Duero, Spain 08, $10

Dessert Wines
Analotikos, Gai’a Estate, Peloponnese, GR 00, $14
Muscat, “Samos” Vin Doux, Samos, GR 08, $12
Chocolate Dessert wine, Rosemblum Cellars, California NV, $10
Viognier, “Ripken Ranch”, Lodi, California 06, $12

Late Harvest Ice Wines
Vouvray, “Domaine Vaufuget” Loire Valley, France 08, $8
Michele Chiarlo Moscato D’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 08, $10
Ice Wine, Jackson Triggs “Vidal” Canada 07, $14

Cocktails and Martinis
Chocolate martini, $12
Arrian martini (Belvedere citrus, triple sec, orange juice) $12
The Oceanus (Tanqueray, melon liqueur, lemon juice), $12
Dionysus martini (banana) $13
Hermes martini, $14
Plato martini (Belvedere Intense, ouzo, feta-stuffed olives), $11
Pomegranate martini, $11
The Greek Myth (Smirnoff strawberry, Metaxa, bitters), $13
Orpheous martini, $12
Aegean martini, $14
Macedonia martini, $13
Virgil martini, $14
Socrates martini, $11
Xena martini (honey vodka, pickled asparagus), $12

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