Turkish restaurant Ottoman Taverna opened last month in Mt. Vernon Triangle. Istanbul native Ilhan Erkek is executive chef, and the menu focuses on traditional Turkish dishes and small plates like mezze, flat breads, and kebabs. There's also a unique raki-heavy cocktail menu and plenty of desserts.
The design incorporates materials and elements from Turkey, and the bar features a backlit onyx top. There are also blue glass pendants and honeycomb-shaped features found throughout the dining room. The open kitchen shows off a charcoal pit and doner grill.
The Just Right Decor News: Blogger BadWold DC writes, "The restaurant's interior is not 'old world' but the Turkish elements included are just right. Obviously a lot of care went into the design. The public cooking space is amazing, filled with flames and brass and the smell of cedar as the wood heats." Blogger Man Talk Food also says it's "beautifully designed." [BadWolf, Man Talk Food]
The New and Exciting Cocktails News: Instagrammer @menslifedc writes, "The cocktails... are not to be missed." Yelper Vanja D. says the drinks are "so good" and "the...selection is something new and exciting." Yelper Merve D. also writes, "the cocktails were also delicious. I can't recall the name but the cocktail with Raki in it that our server recommended tasted so good." [Instagram, Yelp]
The Inexplicably Bland News: One OpenTable poster writes, "Everything was inexplicably bland except for the shepherd's salad... It was like the kitchen forgot all of the salt, herbs and acid in everything else. " Yelper Naeem M. writes, "...a common complaint at the table was the meat's under-seasoning (more salt/pepper)." [OT, Yelp]
The Portions News: OpenTable poster LaLaJerzeeGirl writes, "portions a bit on the small side" and another poster writes, "The portion size of the main dishes was too small for the price." But Yelper Kim L. counters, "The portions were generous — we took our leftovers home." [OT, Yelp]
The Turkish Flat Bread News: Brightest Young Things writes, "My favorite was actually the pide, something that reminds me so much of being in Turkey. Pide are these flatbreads, kind of like pizza with crunchy bread smothered in tomato sauce and cheese." But one OpenTable poster writes, "The pide crust was nice, but the toppings were one-note." [BYT, OT]
The Must-Try Filo Dough Filled with Cheese News: DCist writes, "... cheese lovers will want to order up the Sigara Boregi—crispy rolls of filo dough bursting with melted feta cheese and parsley." Instagrammer @theurbanomad also liked them, and Brightest Young Things says it's a must-try item. [DCist, Instagram, BYT]
The Best Iskender Kebab News: DCist suggests, "For a well-made standard, try the Tavuk Iskender ($21.75), a heaping plate of doner kebab with pita bread, tomato, and yogurt sauce." OpenTable poster MsDuende says it was especially good "with its rich and creamy yogurt on the side." Foursquare poster Berk Uysal says the dish is "the best!!!" [DCist, OT, FS]
The Phenomenal Lamb News: The lamb dishes are big hits with diners. Yelper B W. writes, "The lamb chops are the most phenomenal item on the menu (the lamb shanks are great too, and fall off the bone, but there's something about the lamb chops that are to die for!)." Instagrammer @thefoodandwinediva says the lamb chops are "delish," and the dish is also a favorite of blogger Man Talk Food. [Yelper, Instagram, Man Talk Food]
The To Die For Dessert News: Blogger Man Talk Food writes, "try the Kunefe, a cheesy baked... pastry soaked in anise syrup." DCist says it's "a surprise hit," Yelper Tarik Y. says it’s "to die for." [Man Talk Food, DCist, Yelp]
The Pricey News: Some PoPville commenters think the prices are too high, particularly for the pide (Turkish flatbread). Yelper Josh T. also writes, "...everything was priced 50% too high ($14 cocktails, really?)." But an OpenTable poster says, "A little pricey but on par with comparably nice restaurants."