January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
A cool, contemporary Greek bistro.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 24, 2007
100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Mourayo
Address: 1732 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-667-2100
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: Seafood, Greek/Mediterranean
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday for dinner 5:30 PM to 10 PM, Friday 5:30 PM to 11 PM. Open Tuesday through Friday for lunch 11:30 AM to 3 PM. Open Saturday noon to 11 PM, Sunday noon to 10 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Dupont Circle
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Keftedes; octopus with octopus-ink vinaigrette; moussaka with duck, eggplant, and kefalotyri cheese; grilled whole fish, especially the branzino.

No. 48: Mourayo

Don’t expect to see a waiter set a brick of brandy-soaked Kasseri cheese afire with his Bic. And forget about rousing cries of “Opa!” Zorba has gone chic at this Dupont Circle cafe, which looks like what you’d get if you squeezed the dining room of a cruise liner into a one-bedroom apartment.

Upscale Greek might seem as improbable as high-end Amish, but the kitchen, under the direction of chef Rudy Bourucas, makes a persuasive case, retaining the robustness of traditional Greek cooking while aiming for something lighter and brighter. The pleasures are scattered throughout the menu: a plate of yogurt-topped grilled zucchini; a mound of zesty, tomato-soaked fava beans; a chargrilled, five-pointed star of purple-rimmed octopus set against a puddle of black squid ink and graced by a couple of green, football-shaped scoops of fava-bean purée; soft hunks of long-simmered goat swimming in a complex, rice-thickened broth; a square of rosewater-soaked semolina cake with poached pears.

The plating can be precious, and prices are high—entrées lurk in the mid-$20s—for a kitchen that doesn’t go to great lengths with its sourcing, but this is one of the city’s underappreciated restaurants. Dinner as theater may be more lovable, but it’s not more rewarding.

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Posted at 11:04 AM/ET, 01/24/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews