When one thinks of Greek food and foods of the Mediterranean, one thinks of the traditional fare the likes of hand-rolled stuffed grape leaves, spinach pie, roasted lamb, feta cheese, fish fresh from the sea, warm pita bread and many dishes redolent with lemon and oregano. Cava Mezze, now with five locations in the DMV-Rockville, Washington, DC, Clarendon, Olney and Baltimore has brought Greek and Mediterranean flavors into the 21st century with their shared dishes that salute traditional cuisine with a fresh, current day adaptation. Glancing at the Cava Mezze’s menu there are numerous marriages of the old with the new.
An e-mail invitation from Cava Mezze with photographs of their new spring culinary offerings looked so mouthwatering that an afternoon jaunt was in order to Baltimore’s Harbor East. It is rare, I mean really rare, that I revel in and kvell over every dish in a meal, however, Cava Mezze is that rare find. I’m not talking fancy precious food, it is casual dining, shared plates and oh, how I wish there was one in my neighborhood.
Good conversation and a generous tasting had me oooeing and aaahing:
A small pool of Greek olive oil fills the tiny crater in the spicy hummus that arrives at the table with a generous portion of warm, soft pita. It is just the right amount of harissa heat blended with Cava’s original hummus.
The bright rosy pink of chilled watermelon cubes topped each with a triangle of feta cheese, the hint of mint and Greek olive tapenade with the crunch of watermelon radish dressed with a red wine vinaigrette refreshed as did the watercress salad’s peppery bite, soft avocado, shaved asparagus, beluga lentils, spicy dill vinaigrette with bread crumbs and watermelon radish.
Cava Mezze does its own rendition of street food with corn on a stick, grilled and drizzled with a spicy aioli and topped with crumbled feta and micro cilantro leaves, four ears of corn disappeared quickly.
So far, it has been veggies all the way and then came the pièce de résistance, Cava Mezze’s prizewinning Lamb Jam Half Smoke – lamb sausage, Greek Bolognese, their crazy jalapeno feta, mustard tzatziki and onions. Just the perfect marriage of traditional Greek condiments blended in a contemporary fashion to create a “nom nom” moment.
Cava Mezze is complete with a full bar; beers on tap, house cocktails and mocktails. Find a Cava Mezze near you and enjoy happy hour during the weekdays, $15-3 course lunches, all you can eat brunch with $1 mimosas and the special 4 course Mezze Mania for just $25.
There is no rating system for my reviews, and food/taste is subjective, although, I would say if there is a Cava Mezze in your area don’t miss the opportunity to dine there whether lunch, brunch or dinner.
Cava Mezze – 1302 Fleet Street, Baltimore MD 21202 (443) 499-9090 www.cavamezze.com/ FACEBOOK Twitter & Instagram @cavamezze