Press Review: Washingtonian
Posted July 2003
When I arrived at 7:30 PM, the crowd at Mezè consisted of a couple at an outdoor table and one bar patron. By the time I left at 9:30, the place was packed. And at Mezè, packed means packed. The room is narrow, the tables are close together, and the patrons seem equally attracted by the mezze on the menu and the drinks at the bar.
About three quarters of the menu is devoted to mezze, the spread of appetizers that precedes a Middle Eastern meal. Most of the crowd seems to make a full meal of the little dishes, just as the crowd at Jaleo downtown and in Bethesda makes a full meal of Spanish tapas.
When the pleasant servers manage to get through the crowd and fit multiple dishes on your small table, you’ll find Turkish mezze of a very high quality, including some items seldom found on local menus. Hummus, puréed chickpeas and tahini seasoned with olive oil and garlic, is not unusual, but the sesame-studded bread that accompanies it is first-rate. Other good choices include mucver, little zucchini pancakes served with tomato and yogurt sauces; a very good version of grape leaves, stuffed with onions, rice, and pine nuts; Sigara Böregi, the little phyllo “cigars” filled with feta and fresh herbs; a delicious cabbage roll stuffed with rice and herbs; and terrific kofta, beef-and-lamb meatballs with parsley and onions. For dessert, try the kunefe, a warm dessert of crisp kataife pastry atop melted cheese.
Mezè, 2437 18th St., NW; 202-797-0017. Open daily for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch.
— Thomas Head