By far the funniest stop in 24 in 24: DC. The Andersons were on their comedic game, and by the first appetizer, I was adopted, married a black guy, and slapped Erik’s wife. Zaytinya has always been a place at which I enjoyed taking happy hour, so this was the first time I was going to actually dine for more than a few plates of tapas. Steve Uhr, the GM, was at our service to explain each of the dishes we received and every one blew our mind. This was by far the best baba ghanouj I have ever eaten, and the braised lamb inside the fillo? Fugghetaboudit. The red pepper salsa-type stuff called htipiti seemed like such an easy dish to make by looking at it, and questioning Steve, it turns out that the peppers are marinated for a day. They use plenty of fresh ingredients here, but they don’t just whip things up in minutes.
We were behind schedule for the first time in the day. I thank Steve before we head out; we shake hands and he asks with an almost imperceptible but insistent grasp of my hand “You have time for dessert, right?” I think I have to say yes to this one. Damn, were we thankful for that.
Olive Oil ice cream. Wat? Don’t be alarmed. Try it. Sour Cherry, Walnut, and Olive Oil ice creams were presented to us in a little trio platter and held true to their character. None of the ice creams tried to be anything other than what they purported themselves to be. One of the marks of a great chef is that they work with the ingredients instead of attempting to tame them and make them act how the chef wants them to. These ice creams were the finishing touch that left you looking forward to starting the first course again on your next trip to the restaurant, wondering if there was something you didn’t try that would woo you the way the rest of your meal did.
Zaytinya wins both the Volume and the Desire awards for 24 in 24: DC. We were presented with just about everything on the menu, and every one of the staff aspired to perfect our dining experience. Erik and Ania might never go back to CafÃ© 8 again.
Next stop, Cashion’s Eat Place at 7:00 PM.