Last night I took two dear clients and a performer (who happens to be Israeli) to LEVANTE's at 1320 19th St, NW (www.levantes.com) just south of Dupont Circle. I have never been to this superb Middle-Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant where the service is super friendly and food is varied and tasty.
As the weather was so gorgeous, the large outdoor patio was jammed. It was a bit windy and we opted to sit inside in one of the booths facing the somewhat open kitchen.
I perused the wine list and was excited to see Georgian wine on the menu and since it was offered by the glass our server John offered to bring us a taste.
Sadly one of the reds was gone so we tried the SUPERAVI '07 from Chateau Mukhrani in Kartli, Georgia which we all declared fabulous and similar to a very fruity medium bodied Pinot Noir. Later the owner came over to greet us and mentioned this wine was from near his hometown. This explains the fact that you see Georgian, Turkish, Greek and other Eastern Mediterranean specialties here on a really wonderful menu
that can make it hard to decide.
I suggested that we all share the COLD MEZZE APPETIZER as the hot one seemed to be overladen with some fried items (and I am still trying to watch the weight as I near our summer trip to Europe next week).
The platter was jam packed with Hommos, BabaGhanouj, Tsatziki, Olives, Feat Cheese, Dolma (Stuffed Grape Leaves), Shepherd's Salad(a simple cucumber, tomato type salad) and a slightly spicier salad called EZMESALAD which was a delight. There was warm pide bread (I was told this is the proper name for the slightly puffier than pita bread Turkish version--one of my guests is in Turkey regularly!) to mop up the various items on the plate and we left a spotless plate to go back to the kitchen. The variety and seasonings were great and we really had some time to peruse the menu for our entrée choices as well.
We had a variety of entrees from the SWORDFISH on SKEWERS with Arugula and Mixed veggies that our Israeli guest declared tasty and moist. The KOFTE was grilled ground lamb with tsatziki and the
BEYTI was a similar skewer with parsley, garlic and pepper. Our server John said the ADANA was the spiciest version of the same skewer and I loved the way it came laid on a long grilled piece of zucchini that matched the size of the lamb skewer. the meat was just past rare and absolutely divine and tasty. the spice level was not too hot and indeed the garlic on the BEYTUI was intense so my guest said she thought hers was a bit spicier! No matter we loved them all and the zucchini, peppers and veggies that come baked on the side.
No room for dessert, but a wonderful evening had by all!