Nine months after making its morning-to-midday debut in Georgetown, decorated chef Michael Rafidi’s hot Levantine cafe Yellow is ready to introduce dinner for the first time starting tonight.
The Palestinian American chef is best known in D.C. for his work at high-end Albi, Navy Yard’s coal-fired Middle Eastern marvel with a Michelin star and numerous accolades. For Yellow Georgetown’s dinnertime debut, he dresses things down a bit with a “(not) pizza” menu that took some time to perfect.
Sourdough takes trips through a wood-burning oven at 700 degrees to produce a parade of four opening pies that bring the heat. One is a harissa-heavy compilation with spicy cherry tomato, smoked jibne, and basil, and each 12-inch circular order can be topped with add-ons like soujek, kefta, or pickled chilis. The 60-seat dining room with a patio offers dinner from Tuesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. (1524 Wisconsin Avenue NW). Snag a seat online.
For starters — or “not pizza” — there’s smoky Palestinian olives dressed with Levantine pickles; hummus three ways (za’atar-blasted, harissa, or smoked brisket) paired with fluffy pita bread; charred corn labne with a kick from green shatta hot sauce; a fattoush salad bursting with peaches, cucumber, mint and feta; urfa hot mushrooms with scallion sumac labne; and sfeeha (lamb meat pie with garlic sauce).
Wrap the meal with soft serve labne with smoked stone fruit and oat crumbs, tahini, affogato, and a twist of baklava and pistachio brown butter. For booze, look for Persian lagers, cider, natural and sparkling Lebanese wines by the glass or bottle, and riffs on classic cocktails like a dirty chai espresso martini, shawarma-spiced Manhattan, and gin and tonic with hints of sumac, pomegranate, and molasses. An apricot spritz plays with pisco, brandy, and Topo Chico, while Lebanon’s anise-flavored spirit arak makes its way into a lemonade, rum, and orange blossom elixir.
Yellow continues to start the day at 8 a.m. with golden date lattes, flaky pastries and croissants combining French techniques with Middle Eastern flavors, meze, and wood-fired pita sandwiches for both dine-in and carryout. With the addition of dinner, Yellow now serves every square meal of the day.
The Georgetown neighborhood continues to explode with new daytime options as of late, with recent arrivals from NYC imports like Maman and Blank Street Coffee. The third D.C. locale of Baker’s Daughter is coming to Wisconsin Avenue NW soon.
Meanwhile, Rafidi’s original Yellow locale in Navy Yard is back online after a long hiatus. The pint-sized cafe next to Albi revived service in September with urfathing bagels, baklava kouign amanns, and halva honey lattes from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (1346 4th Street SE).