Jennie Tai
Greek Penn Quarter

Sneak Peak: Zaytinya's 2012 Greek Easter Festival

“From April 8th through April 22nd, José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup and the culinary team at Zaytinya invite Washingtonians to celebrate the Greek Easter festival featuring delectable Mediterranean-inspired dishes presented  by Head Chef Michael Costa. “

{ Attica – Rose infused Plymouth gin, lemon juice, & house-made grenadine }

If you’re a big fan of lamb chops – you definitely won’t want to miss out on what’s going on the next few weeks at Zaytinya in DC. In just a few days, another one of ThinkFoodGroup’s mindblowing restaurants will be hosting their 2012 Greek Easter Festival starting this Sunday, April 8th to the 22nd. For the next two weeks, guests can enjoy an assortment of lamb dishes, bright spring salads, and creative cocktails, such as the anastasis (beefeater gin, Cocchi Americano, kumquat liqueur, lemon juice, and a sour cherry sphere) and the attica (pictured above). They’ll also be bringing back their popular ‘lamb cart’ to serve lamb sandwiches during lunch hours on their expansive outdoor patio in the heart of Penn Quarter.

{ Greek Easter Maroulosalata – Green and red tango lettuce, caramelized myzithra cheese, ladolemono & flowers }

Their ten-course meal is priced at $99 for two people, and includes dishes like the bright ‘maroulosalata’, a light, colorful salad that features thin, edible flowers and fresh, snow-white ‘myzithra’ cheese.

{ Asparagus Salata – White asparagus tzatziki, pistachios, green asparagus, & lemon zest }

Another savory salad on the menu is the asparagus salata that features short plumes of asparagus, citrusy lemon, crunchy pistachios, and white asparagus ‘tzatziki’ – a light, Greek yogurt sauce. Other delectable starters include the ‘spanakorizo’, a rice pilaf with wilted spinach and tomato, spinach puree, feta cheese, and preserved cherry tomatoes; and a creamy lamb soup called ‘mayiritsa‘, made of a traditional lamb ‘abgolemono’ broth, short grained rice, caramelized onions, and lamb liver.

{ Bizeli Me Yiaourti – English peas, garlic yogurt, pistachios, & micro lemon mint }

As for the main event – they’ll be featuring four other lamb based dishes such as the ‘glossa‘ – thinly sliced lamb’s tongue potato ‘skordalia’, green olives, pickled red chilis, celery, and candied pistachios’; ‘arni me sparangia‘ – lamb shoulder, asparagus, ladolemono and dill; ‘loukaniko me patates‘ – traditional house-made lamb sausage scented with orange and cumin, potato and garlic; and ‘lamb kleftico‘ (pictured below) – spit roasted lamb, kefalograviera cheese, English pea skordalia, feta cheese and dill – which was my personal favorite.

{ Greek Easter Lamb Kleftico – Spit-roasted lamb, kefalograviera cheese, English pea skordalia, feta cheese & dill }

Available on the patio during lunch hours, is their lamb sandwich – spit-roasted lamb, tzatziki, and pickled onions.

Never heard of spit-roasted meat? Fear not, this traditional Mediterranean method for roasting lamb involves zero saliva activity. Instead, you’ll see as you walk further back into the restaurant, a U-shaped structure infront of the kitchen, made from blocks that keep a slowly, but continuously turning skewer of large chunks of lamb, hovering about two feet above the heat. The lamb is slowly roasted on a long stick, and is turned over the fire slowly behind the ‘spit’ of heat, not under it.

Full Menu:

Chefs Experience Menu
two people, ten courses $99 (excluding tax and gratuity)

Mayiritsa
traditional lamb avgolemono broth, short grained rice, caramelized onions, lamb’s liver

Asparagus Salata
white asparagus tzatziki, pistachios, green asparagus, lemon zest

Greek Easter Maroulosalata
green and red tango lettuce, caramelized myzithra cheese, ladolemono, flowers

Glossa
thinly sliced lamb’s tongue, potato skordalia, green olives, pickled red chilis, celery, candied pistachios

Spanakorizo
rice pilaf with wilted spinach and tomato, spinach puree, feta cheese, preserved cherry tomatoes

Bizeli me Yiaourti
english peas, garlic yogurt, pistachios, micro lemon mint

Arni me Sparangia
lamb shoulder, asparagus, ladolemono, dill

Loukaniko me Patates
traditional house made lamb sausage scented with orange and cumin, potato, garlic

Greek Easter Lamb Kleftico
spit roasted lamb, kefalograviera cheese, english pea skordalia, feta, dill

Dessert

Tsoureki Bread Pudding
Mascerated strawberries, candied almonds, orange flower ice cream

Καλή όρεξη!

Zaytinya
701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 638-0800

Photo credits: Greg Powers

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