by Green Gourmet L
I was fortunate enough to take a snow day yesterday (yay!) which included a lunch at Zaytinya and our own semi-private viewing of the movie Social Network. Great food, great movie, great day off from work. Zaytinya is one of those restaurants that is constantly talked about in magazines, online, and around DC, so I figured we needed to check out what all the fuss was about. It’s a Lebanese/Greek/Turkish fusion restaurant that serves mezze plates (small plates made for sharing). Luckily, we were able to get the extended Restaurant Week menu for lunch for the price of $20.11 (get it?). Since my family has Lebanese roots, I grew up eating hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, and I am a bit skeptical about “fusion”. But this place had all of that…and more!
Not really a course, but could have stood alone. This “Z” is the olive oil and pomegranate molasses vinegar dip for hot, fresh pita right out of the oven. I could definitely have eaten this for my whole meal and been completely happy. And the pita just keeps coming. How hard is it to make pita? I will definitely be attempting this at some point soon.
Baba Ghannouge made with fire-roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. This definitely rivals my dad’s Baba (sorry D!) because it had a nice, smoky flavor without being the least bit bitter. We gave this one an A- on the Green Gourmet scale.
Fattoush is usually a summer salad made from pita chips and veggies (similar to an Italian panzanella) with a vinagrette. This one had tomato, cucumber, red onion, green pepper, radish, pita chips, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate vinegar dressing. The pomegranate seeds really took this salad up a notch, since it gave just a hint of sweetness.
Lamb Bahar- spice rubbed lamb kebab over tabbouleh with tahini sauce. If you aren’t familiar with tabbouleh, it is a salad made of bulgur, parsley, mint, and lemon juice. Every Lebanese home cook seems to have their own favorite tabbouleh recipe. Mine has more bulgur and less parsley. Oh, and by the way, this lamb dish was by far our favorite of the meal.
Sea scallops in a yogurt/dill sauce. The sauce was thick, creamy and had the perfect combination of dill and lemon. Made me think I was in Greece on a patio overlooking the Aegean Sea. Yum.
This is probably one of the best duck quesadillas I’ve ever had. Cinnamon spiced duck confit, crispy lavash bread, haloumi cheese, served with lebneh (yogurt) and cucumber/mint salad. You can’t go wrong with duck fat and cheese.
Shish Taouk- grilled chicken, sumac onions, and garlic toum. Toum is the Lebanese version of aioli, usually made with oil, salt, lemon juice, and of course garlic. If I had fries, I would have unabashadely dipped them into this sauce. I also wanted to wrap all of this up in my pita and make a killer sandwich.
Dessert courses always seem to be “hit or miss”, and this was no exception. Well, one dessert was a hit and one was a miss. I guess it can’t be all perfection right? First, the hit:
A parfait of marinated apricots, vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet, and pistachio powder. A nice, light end to a multi-course lunch. And unfortunately, the miss:
Turkish Delight. Walnut ice cream with goat’s milk yogurt mousse and honey gelee. I don’t really like the candy, but I thought I might like it deconstructed in ice-cream form. But, alas, I sure don’t. However, I will try anything once.
And I still ate every last bite!
If you haven’t been to Zaytinya, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a little on the pricey side, but this lunch gave me ideas of what I want to add to my Lebanese cooking repertoire. Stay tuned for delicious home-cooked Lebanese dishes, and don’t forget you read about it on the Green Gourmets!