Young and Hungry

Young & Hungry Dining Guide by the Day: Zaytinya

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One by one, we’re running through the 50 restaurants that made the cut on this year’s Young & Hungry Dining Guide. If you have visited the day’s featured restaurant, let us know what you think. If you’re planning to visit for the first time, tell us about your meal when you return.

Ever since Mike Isabella took over the kitchen at Zaytinya in 2007, I have been drawn to this downtown power spot in an unhealthy (and unsustainable) way for someone of my tax bracket. I dare say that, these days, I’m far more likely to be ordering small plates here than at José Andrés’ three temples to Spanish gastronomy, which either means that Isabella’s one helluva chef or that I’ve picked up some seasonal allergy to cured meats. I think it’s the former. Isabella has, to my mind, solved Zaytinya’s once-maddening inconsistencies while injecting a creative seasonality into the mezze menu. A recent plate of spring bean plaki was as fresh as a snap pea from the garden, while a special of fried squash blossoms pulled off a neat trick: They were simultaneously rich and delicate.

Addendum: Will Mike Isabella stick around Zaytinya following his Top Chef appearance?

 Zaytinya, 701 9th St. NW, (202) 638-0800

Photo courtesy of Zaytinya

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