Thursday, September 30, 2010

Les poisson, les poissons...

For the consultant, more often than not, lunch is a perfunctory meal. Brown bags, working lunches, telephone calls all conspire to keep lunchtime short, and sometimes boring. While the food trucks are a lot of fun, sometimes you need a table. I love Mixt Greens and Breadline has solid offerings (their peanut soup is my favorite), but I've mostly relegated downtown lunches to the merely functional.

Last week I was meeting Y. and L. near Farragut Square, so we decided to try Kellari Taverna on K street. I had been there for happy hour before, and had heard about their business lunch - three courses for $25. Kellari's a great spot for people watching, indoors and out - picture windows on one side, and a bright and warm dining area that stretches into three rooms. Servers putter about at a rapid place, but manage to not look frazzled.

The first course options are a good cross-section of Kellari's offerings - soup, salads, calamari, and savory pastries. For a first course I had the soup of the day - a delicious potato leek with lobster. The soup was well-balanced, retaining its body without having to be pureed into oblivion. The lobster was arranged at the center of the plate, and presented in a striking square plate. Y. had the Kellari Salad - a mix of greens dressed with raspberry vinaigrette. The portion was quite generous, and the vinaigrette tasted fresh. L. had the Prasini - a take on the Wedge (minus the bacon): romaine hearts, cut, with scallions, dill, and a feta dressing.

Kellari's specialty is seafood, and the fresh catch is displayed, on ice, at the end of the bar. L. and I ordered the Grilled Sea Bass - a lovely, solid fish, resting on top of an eggplant ratatouille. While the taste was delicious and the the skin wonderfully crispy, I had the rare case of entree envy: Y. ordered the Salmon (that L. and I discounted because salmon is pervasive in our institutional offerings). Kellari's Solomos is the most beautiful plate of grilled salmon I have ever seen. The coral in the fire roasted fish is offset by the Alfonson olives, liquified into a briny, shallow, shiny pool. Roasted tomatoes and grilled fennel complete the dish, adding brightness as well as contrast to the plate. I kept sneaking tastes of the olive sauce with bread, and would have happily made a meal out of that.

The dessert portions will let you indulge without being completely useless for the rest of the afternoon. Two baklavas, all walnuts and honey, set daintily on a plate. The yogurt cheesecake with baklava crust is a wonderful play of tart on sweet. Here too, we were surprised. The Dark Chocolate Mousse Almond Torte, which seemed an afterthought, was the star. The blood orange sorbet contrasted with the deep brown, while some crushed baklavas gave it an unexpected crunch.

Suddenly weekday lunch is fun again!

Kellari Taverna on Urbanspoon
Kellari Taverna
1700 K Street NW, Washington DC 20006

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