The Washington D.C. tapas and small plates scene is intensely competitive — that’s what happens when Jose Andres is in town, after all. Now though, Tel’Veh, a new and even more newly revamped cafe and wine bar, is throwing its hat into the ring with its tasty Greek and Mediterranean fare.
Restaurateur Latif Guler, who also operates Agora Restaurant on 17th Street in Dupont, brought in a new executive chef, Dimo Kolouas, and general manager/wine director, Alan Lamb, last month to give the place a clearer direction and focus.
“It took me months to find a chef and wine director that were the right fit for Tel’Veh,” Guler said, but now he believes he finally has the right team in place.
“I was impressed by their knowledge in Mediterranean cuisine and wine, and they understood my goal of making Tel’Veh a great neighborhood wine bar with delicious menu of small plate offerings.”
Tel’Veh has stylish and inviting 60-seat space, which was designed by the team from scratch, and centers the action on the bar itself. They have 300 wines by the bottle, but now also have nearly 50 wines by the glass, broken up into easy-to-browse sections and categories.
Chef Kolouas has completely overhauled the menu since taking the reins at Tel’Veh. In such a short time at the helm, he has done a wonderful job in putting out a flavorful, fun selection of dishes which can only be expected to get better as they continue refining their offerings.
The team is most proud of their seafood, including their standout selection of various local oysters. They have a full range of seafood dishes available, from a light and refreshing Salmon Carpaccio, to Sardines Kallonis, marinated in a lemon emulsion with crispy pita and roe, Bronzino, Ahi Tuna, Scallops, and more.
There are ample ways to start off your meal, such as their fantastic homemade hummus, cheese and charcuterie plates, the oysters, and various salads, such as the Rocket Salad, with grilled Halloumi cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and a honey balsamic dressing, and the Tel’Veh salad, with cashews, pears, prosciutto and grapes.
For something heartier, try the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, or the Chicken Tel’Veh, a wonderfully moist and juicy chicken dish which bursts with flavor and is served with a scallion pesto sauce.
There are also several warm cheeses on the menu, including a goat cheese dip with dried figs, honey and pistachios which will blow you away even if you’re not traditionally a fan of goat cheeses. It’s a sweet and savory treat which is good enough that it could be ordered as a dessert or taken home and eaten for breakfast.
As you sample your food, don’t shy away from asking for recommended wine pairings for particular courses. In addition to the wines though, there are also half a dozen cocktails on the menu, rooted foremost in classic American cocktails, including a Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Gin Rickey.
There’s more than enough good food to be enjoyed at a full sit down dinner with a date, but with the ample wine selection, oyster bar and happy hour specials, it’s also an ideal spot for a quick bite or two and a few drinks with friends either after work, on your way out, or anywhere in between.
Tel’Veh is located at the corner of 4th St NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW (401 Mass Ave NW), within walking distance from the Gallery Place-Chinatown and Judiciary Square metro stations.
This article was first published on Yahoo Voices on November 16, 2012