Mostly by coincidence, I tried several restaurants on Capitol Hill this spring. They are located east of the U.S. Capitol, near Eastern Market and on Barracks Row. Before this year, I was a fan of Montmartre, located near Eastern Market. But I wasn’t very familiar with many of the other restaurants, despite a growing reputation for good dining in that neighborhood.
Then, over the course of several business trips to DC, I hit Lavagna, Belga, Acqua al 2, and the subject of this blog post – Cava Mezze. I went there on the basis of a recommendation of a friend. After our dinner at Lavagna, we walked by Cava, and she recommended it. So when I had time for a lunch before leaving DC in March, I decided to give it a try.
Mezze are Greek small plates, very similar in concept to Spanish tapas. Cava offers an appealing variety of mezze. My server recommended ordering two for lunch. It probably would have been more fun to be with a small group to sample more different plates. But I was happy with the two I ordered for lunch.
I started with a dish called lamb kapama. It was braised lamb shoulder shredded and mixed with orzo pasta and ‘Kefalograviera’ cheese. It was very flavorful and really quite substantial.
My second dish was chickpeas ‘3 ways.’ I thought it was a very creative dish nicely presented. It consisted of four balls of fried chickpeas served on a bed of pureed chickpeas and topped with whole cooked chickpeas that had been marinated in a vinaigrette dressing. The fried balls were like falafel. The chickpea puree was like hummus. And the marinated chickpeas were, well, like you’d serve on a salad.
I liked Cava and I would happily return, either for lunch, for happy hour, and I’d also like to try it for dinner sometime.