701 Ninth St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Turkish, Spanish/Portuguese, Tapas/Small Plates, Lebanese, Greek/Mediterranean
Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Chatty
Htipiti; fried eggplant; taramasalata; zucchini-and-cheese fritters; poached salmon with eggplant; veal cheeks with chanterelle-mushroom purée; prawns with charred-tomato sauce; salmon shawarma sandwich (lunch only)
A retooled Minibar and Jaleo—two other stars in restaurateur José Andrés’s ever-expanding culinary constellation—may be getting all the buzz, but this stark white, sprawling ode to Levantine and Greek fare holds its own with a prodigious array of olive-oil-perfumed mezze. You could dine daily for a couple of weeks without repeating a single dish. And unlike other addresses where small plates rule, there’s little filler. Nearly every bite is a success—you might be tempted to order a second round just to have another taste. (You might also feel like having another round of the licoricey ouzo or raki that marries so well with the salty feta-based plates.) If Middle Eastern desserts have left you cold in the past, try the clever, modernized takes here. You won’t be disappointed.
Plates are generous, so ignore the five-dishes-per-person mantra intoned by waitstaff. You can always order more later. Don’t miss: Sigara borek (cigar-shaped cheese pies); caramelized okra with crisped chickpeas; cabbage dolmas with chestnuts, rice, and parsley; hunkar beyendi (whipped, béchamel-enriched eggplant with lamb stew); soujouk pide (a flatbread with sausage, kasseri cheese, and a 63-degree egg); sautéed shrimp with lemon and dill; vanilla yogurt with Muscat-soaked apricots, apricot sorbet, and pistachio powder; Turkish-delight sundae with walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, and orange-caramel sauce.
Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.