Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another lucky restaurant pick from Restaurant Week in Washington D.C.

I have gotten to an age where going out to dinner is not quite desirable because I swear that by just looking at the food I gain weight. However, I have to tell you I have just thoroughly enjoyed a dinner at one of the local restaurants in D.C. a few days ago.

It so happens Washington D.C. also runs Restaurant Week and Agora was on the list. I feel I got very lucky since the list was extensive and the cuisine selections were quite broad, so it was hard to decide which restaurant to pick since I did not know anything about any of them. After reading many reviews and checking out several menus, I decided on Agora featuring Mediterranean cuisine, more specifically Turkish food.

Restaurant Week is an event where the participating restaurants agree to put together a lunch or dinner menu at a fixed price, preferably at a lower price. The idea is to give the new customer a taste of a new cuisine and a new restaurant and in this case Agora was both.

I selected Agora and made a reservation for three since our daughter was visiting. We made the trek from Baltimore to the restaurant by driving to the nearest DC metro station and then getting off at the DuPont circle station. It was a beautiful late afternoon so our walk from the metro station to the restaurant was quite pleasurable as we went through a neighborhood with interesting gardens on their front porches despite being small. It is a big city after all and these are town homes not big houses in the suburbs.

While I enjoy and prefer restaurants best that have white table clothes, the setting at this one was quite nice and clean, it had a Mediterranean flair. Our waiter, we learned was from Serbia, had a lovely accent and treated us to their bread and a little dish of fine chopped vegetables in olive oil that I must say was love at first bite. Sure, bread has quite a bit of carbs (I have become quite conscious of this) but tonight had to be an exception and this bread I was not going to pass up. I am not sure what they call it, or what is made from but it was just delicious.

picture of Turkish bread    
The complete dinner deal included a 4-course meal plus dessert for a fixed price of $35.13. The service style at Agora is more like tapas, small dishes brought at intervals and best shared with others and good conversation.

Our meal

Our first course included humus and Htipiti which is basically roasted peppers, feta cheese, with thyme and olive oil. We ate those with the bread which at this point we were already having our second serving but realizing it was best to slow down so we could taste the rest of our meal. Both the humus and Htipiti were tasty.

Htipiti dish

Our second course included salads which were quite normal but the Imam Bayaldi was nicely done. Imam Bayaldi is stuffed eggplant with onions, tomatoes, pine nuts and garlic, for me the onions made this dish but I think whatever spices they use, it just made them taste much better than usual.

Picture of Imam Bayaldi, a stuffed eggplant dish from Agora restaurant

For the third course, we all got Kibbeh that on its face just does not look like much but had quite a punch in the flavor category. A Kibbeh is ground beef bulgur dumpling, stuffed with ground beef, lamb, almonds and pipe nuts served over yogurt sauce. What is bulgur? It is wheat used very commonly in Middle Eastern cooking, anyhow Kibbeh was quite yummy!

Picture of Kibbeh dish, a ground beef bulgur dumpling

For the forth course, we had Shish Tavuk, essentially grilled chicken with grilled tomatoes and onions on pita bread. It was nice but not as good as the Adana Kebap which is skewered ground lamb and beef with grilled tomato and onions on pita bread. That was very good but by this point I think the bread was taking its toll and I wanted to leave room for dessert.

Picture of Adan Kebap a dish from Agora restaurant

For dessert I selected baklava, a favorite of mine that I only eat on special occasions when available which is usually from my brother-in-law at Christmas time.

While I would say I am an adventurous person trying new foods at restaurants, I find it harder to do if the meal is expensive and it turns out I don't really like it.  The Washington DC Restaurant Week like the Baltimore Restaurant Week, once again has allowed me to try a whole new cuisine and new meals and to my amazement I have really liked them! Maybe I am on a roll; I just hope my next restaurant pick will be this good and this tasty. Before that, I better start hitting that new elliptical machine my husband just got home.

Until then, I wish you all......... Happy Travels.

Discovering and Enjoying my neighborhood one event and one place at a time.

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