Greek brunch: Mimosas and saganaki at Cava Mezze
In the Washington, D.C., area, we brunch. On Saturday, I brunched with my roommate, Amanda, and our friend and the birthday girl, Stefanie, at Cava Mezze.
Cava is a Greek restaurant with multiple locations in the Washington metropolitan area. We dined at the Clarendon location in Arlington, Va. The Clarendon neighborhood is full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and plenty of places to shop all within walking distance — and it’s accessible from Washington by Metro. If you are driving (like we did), there are two-hour pay-to-park street spots and parking garages. I had dined and shopped in Clarendon a couple times before this brunch. Each time I’ve found Clarendon a lively area, bustling with young professionals.
Cava’s brunch includes traditional Greek dishes, savory breakfast options, a scrumptious Belgian waffle and tempting libations. I follow the school of thought that a brunch without a boozy beverage is just a late breakfast. Of course, I ordered a mimosa. (I’ve always been a studious pupil.) Cava’s mimosa costs $5, and it’s available with orange or grapefruit juice.
As you may have guessed from the restaurant’s name, small plates — or Mediterranean mezze — is the concept. When dining at a small plates eatery, servers usually suggest that you order two or three dishes per person. We stuck to that principle, and we were so incredibly full by the end of brunch. In addition to each of us ordering three items, we also ordered a saganaki — cheese set afire tableside to which you exclaim “Opa!” — and taramosalata, a dip made from whipped salmon roe (fish eggs — don’t think about it, just eat it.) The dip was topped with capers, and we spread it on slices of pita bread. Stefanie called it the Greek bagel and lox.
For my three small plates I ordered avgolemono, a thick egg-lemon broth soup with pulled chicken and orzo; the village salad, which had tomatoes, capers, red onions, peperoncini, olives, cucumbers and feta cheese; and an eggs Benedict served on a brioche bun. Looking back at the meal, I probably could have ordered just the soup and salad and been perfectly satisfied. I really can’t say I regret it though. Everything tasted so good. The village salad reminded me of the tomato and cucumber salads I ate in Athens and on the Greek islands seven years ago.
Since we were celebrating Stefanie’s birthday, she ordered the Belgian waffle to top off our fabulous brunch. This waffle was huge, especially for a “small plate,” and absolutely delicious. I highly recommend sharing it as a dessert. This waffle was simply delectable and topped with whipped cream, walnuts and berries. Even Amanda agreed this was an extraordinary waffle, and she is not a waffle eater.
Brunch menu: Small plates including soups, salads, dips, Greek specialties, breakfast foods including Belgian waffles
Drink list: Wine, martinis, mojitos and brunch libations, including $5 mimosas and Bloody Marys
Price: $5.95 for hummus or French toast topped with honey, berries and cream to $15.95 for two baby lamb chops with potatoes. Most items between $6.95 and $9.95.
Location: 2940 N Clarendon Blvd Arlington, VA 22201
By Metro: Clarendon Metro Station on the Orange Line
Wish you were here,