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Trapezaria, Mediterranean (Greek) Kuzina with Homestyle Cooking on N. Washington Street in Downtown Rockville


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For the past couple of weeks Todd Kliman has had Trapezaria on his list of "where I am eating now". This was intriguing since it was listed next to Rose's Luxury and otherwise we'd heard nothing about the place. So we made a reservation via Opentable for Saturday night. Kliman's commentary that this is Greek food of a bygone era is pretty spot on. The food reminded me of the delicious goodies my college roommate's Greek grandmother (whose family had owned a South Jersey diner) used to send us.

You can tell it is a family run place. The service was friendly and attentive and once our waitress took our order (it took her a few minutes to get to us) the food came out in rapid fire. Meze is a bit of a misnomer- you get gigantic portions of Greek comfort food served family style. Prices are already reasonable, but given the large portion sizes this place is headed for legendary cheap eats status.

We were welcomed to the table with pita, olives, and what I think was a scoop of the fava dip. The pita is served warm but is what I would think of as classic Greek diner. It isn't anything special but it is also just a vehicle for shoveling dips. The fava dip was pretty awesome. It had a whopping umami to it that makes me think it either wasn't vegetarian (maybe made with chicken fat) or they used a chicken flavored boullion/MSG in it. I'm not opposed to that trick- I do it with beef flavored MSG in a vegetarian mock chopped liver that I make- but a fair warning to those wishing to avoid MSG.

I ordered the Mount Olympus cocktail (House Infused Cucumber Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice & Ginger, Infused Simple Syrup) which was tasty but sweeter than I would prefer. My husband got a Greek beer which was described by our waitress as "Blonde like you, not dark like us" as she pointed to me and herself.  

We started with the Trio of Dips opting for the Melitzanosalte (Puree of roasted eggplant, parsley, garlic, olive oil & vinegar), Tyrokafafteri (a delightful spread of feta cheese, roasted red pepper, olive oil & thyme), and Taramosalata (Mashed Potato, red caviar, olive oil & fresh lemon juice). Normally we would have gotten the Hummus but we just got back from a trip to Israel and are totally hummus-ed out right now. All three were very good, although the Fava put them all to shame.

Next we got Iman Baldi ("House Specialty" Baked Eggplant topped with caramelized onions, tomato, mint,Parsley, golden raisins & pine nuts) which along with the Htapodi Skaras (Grilled octopus with olive oil, lemon & oregano) were the two best things we had all night. The eggplant is served cold and had a great sweet and sour balance. For reference- you get half a stuff eggplant for $7 and it is easily a meal in and of itself. The octopus is served as four large tentacles,that were so soft and creamy that they must have been stewed before being finished on the grill giving the ends some crunch and the meat rich smokiness. They're served warm with just a half a lemon. Also, easily an entrée in and of itself.

Then we shared the "entrée" Trapazaria Sampler (Spanakopita, Moussakas, Dolmades Avgolemono, & Arni Psito Served With stewed green beans). It seemed like a good way to try a wide swath of the menu and it was. Except instead of stewed green beans it was stewed zucchini and it also included Pastitsio. They serve you a platter that is so piled high with a mess of food it looks like you've just walked through the buffet at the local Greek Orthodox Church Supper. Our least favorite thing on there was the roasted leg of lamb- it was tender but very gamey. My favorite was the Dolmades and the Moussaka. Some of the items on the plate weren't as warm as we might have liked them and you could tell they were reheated, but everything tasted really good- homey good- like your college roommate's Yaya would send you.

Then because we are crazy and the desserts coming out of the kitchen looked beautiful we also got the Galactoboureko (Custard Semolina Cream Wrapped in Phyllo Dough, Kept Moist in our Homemade Honey Syrup). You get two nice sized pastries; ours were still warm from the oven, along with some big chunks of cantaloupe. I'd say it was good not great. Kliman described it as fudge like. That wouldn't describe what we had. Next time I think I'd get the Baklava or the yogurt.

We over-ordered for two people. With tax, tip it came to just under $100. They do a $40 per person 20 meze "price fixe" which I think would be a very good way to explore their big menu. We watched some gorgeous whole fish, roasted chicken and lamb shank coming out of the kitchen that we would like to try next time.

Overall, I'd say Trapezaria will likely end up on our regular rotation. The food isn't refined and it isn't gourmet. It is just wholesome comfort food at a very reasonable price point with a friendly atmosphere. I can see this place becoming very popular.  Just make a reservation for a weekend night. The place was packed at 8 pm. There was a wait for tables and lots of people eating and drinking at the bar.

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Overall, I'd say Trapezaria will likely end up on our regular rotation. The food isn't refined and it isn't gourmet. It is just wholesome comfort food at a very reasonable price point with a friendly atmosphere. I can see this place becoming very popular.  Just make a reservation for a weekend night. The place was packed at 8 pm. There was a wait for tables and lots of people eating and drinking at the bar.

This was a great review. This is *exactly* the type of restaurant that plays into Todd Kliman's strengths, so between the two of you, I've confidently initiated coverage of Trapezaria in Italic in the Dining Guide.

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We went tonight as we had not had a good Greek dinner in quite awhile. Trapezaria is an excellent restaurant as pointed out by lekkerwijn and Kliman. Everything was good to great.

Fava dip

Iman baldi- unique eggplant dish as described by lekkerwijn

Bakaliaros skordalia- perfectly fried cod with a nice potato and garlic dip

Moussaka- highlight of the night. This is my Greek standard and I can't think of a better version I've had.

Kataifi for dessert had a small scoop of vanilla fudge ice cream on the side.

This is surprisingly refined Greek food. And the portions are very generous. We brought half the moussaka home. With tax and tip, cost was $70 for two. Service was very friendly and gracious.

I'd be surprised if Trapezaria does not make the next Washingtonian Cheap Eats. But it is a fantastic place for Greek, great value or not.

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Moussaka- highlight of the night. This is my Greek standard and I can't think of a better version I've had.

I'd be surprised if Trapezaria does not make the next Washingtonian Cheap Eats. But it is a fantastic place for Greek, great value or not.

This is a hell of a statement (considering the ubiquity of moussaka), and I thought the Cheap Eats issue was out this month, no?

How did they use the nutmeg and béchamel? (This is one question where a picture for an answer (to me) would be worth a thousand words, but quite frankly, I'd be more interested in reading your description.)

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I think the Cheap Eats issue was in August last year so very soon, yes.

As to the moussaka, what was unique about this one as that it was a fairly short stack compared to others I've had (and made myself as well!).  So everything was thinly layered, with the eggplant and potatoes cut thin. There were layers of bechamel on the top and bottom, two layers of potatoes, one of eggplant toward the top and a generous layer of ground beef in the middle.  The taste of nutmeg was pretty much in every bite......not sure where it was mixed in but I guess it really doesn't matter.

So it was a "concentrated" moussaka packed with flavor.  The two layers of bechamel really added that creamy element, which I love in the dish.

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Was Tom's First Bite today.  He seemed to like it and I would echo his sentiments.  My wife and I were there a few weeks ago.  We thought the staff was gracious and the food was pretty good.  I had a grilled octopus special.  It was tender and flavorful.  Accompanied by nice roasted potatoes and asparagus.  Very enjoyable.  Will surely hit it up again.

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...Moussaka- highlight of the night. This is my Greek standard and I can't think of a better version I've had.

...I'd be surprised if Trapezaria does not make the next Washingtonian Cheap Eats. But it is a fantastic place for Greek, great value or not.

This is a hell of a statement (considering the ubiquity of moussaka), and I thought the Cheap Eats issue was out this month, no?

I think the Cheap Eats issue was in August last year so very soon, yes.

The June 2014 issue is this year's Cheap Eats. It's not yet online.

This year, Washingtonian organized its Cheap Eats into categories (e.g., burgers, pizza, bar food).  Trapezaria made the Cheap Eats issue for their avgolemono soup under the category of Comfort Food.

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This year, Washingtonian organized its Cheap Eats into categories (e.g., burgers, pizza, bar food).  Trapezaria made the Cheap Eats issue for their avgolemono soup under the category of Comfort Food.

The avgolemono certainly fits the bill of comfort food--homey, creamy, rich in flavor, and very filling. I probably wouldn't want to order it prior to one of their entrees, which are large, as that would be too much food.

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My wife and I decided to try Trapezaria last Sunday.  We arrived early and there were very few people in the restaurant yet.  lekkerwjin and I must have very similar tastes because we ordered fairly closely to what they did, only less.

Service was attentive, but the waitress, who was very personable and friendly was wearing a lot of perfume.  So much so that the odor lingered and you could "taste" it.  A real no-no in my book.  My wife even commented on it every time the waitress caqme to the table.

We started with the Trio of Dips opting for the Melitzanosalte, Hummus, and Tzatziki.  All were very good.

Next we got Iman Baldi ("House Specialty" Baked Eggplant topped with caramelized onions, tomato, mint,Parsley, golden raisins & pine nuts) which along with the Htapodi Skaras (Grilled octopus with olive oil, lemon & oregano).  I enjlyed the Iman Baldi, but found the octopus, while cooked properly, to be somewhat underwhelming and bland.  Even the lemon didn't help that much.  I would have preferred a little more char and spicing.

The house salad was quite large, with a huge slab of Feta on top.  However, it was also very salty.  Not because of the Feta but the actual dressing was too salty.

We came away with the impression that while this may be authentic Greek food, it is not going to be in our rotation.  Just nothing to wow us and the odor of the perfume just made dining unpleasant.

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I ordered the Mount Olympus cocktail (House Infused Cucumber Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice & Ginger, Infused Simple Syrup) which was tasty but sweeter than I would prefer. 

We started with the Trio of Dips opting for the Melitzanosalte (Puree of roasted eggplant, parsley, garlic, olive oil & vinegar), Tyrokafteri (a delightful spread of feta cheese, roasted red pepper, olive oil & thyme), and Taramosalata (Mashed Potato, red caviar, olive oil & fresh lemon juice). Normally we would have gotten the Hummus but we just got back from a trip to Israel and are totally hummus-ed out right now. All three were very good, although the Fava put them all to shame.

I stopped by Trapezaria for lunch last week, and came away dumbfounded by the amount and quality of food I got for the money.

Walking in the door, I was convivially greeted by a gentleman who gave me a table for two, by the divider railing, just on the other side of the bar area. This was a good table, except that the air conditioner (I believe up above) was blasting out cold air, and I felt like I was sitting in front of a compressor unit. This may have been "that one unfortunate spot" that's directly in the pathway of the vent; regardless, I ignored it, and proceeded to open - with irony - Troilus and Cressida.

An equally friendly lady greeted me, and asked me if I'd like a drink. I broke my personal 6 PM rule, and ordered - also with irony - a Helen of Troy ($11), made with St. Germain, Pinot Grigio, fresh basil, and a splash of soda. Like lekkerwijn, I thought my drink was just a little too sweet, and that "splash of soda" was a pretty small smash because I detected zero carbonation. It was okay, and pleasant for half a glass, but I never did finish it.

I really only wanted an entree, but also wanted to try a little something small just to taste, so I got one dip - the Tyrokafteri ($6), as lekkerwijn described, "a delightful spread of feta cheese, roasted red pepper, olive oil, and thyme." Honestly, I didn't think it was all that delightful, and it was ferociously strong, really just mashed up feta, with just enough red pepper to turn it orange, and served refrigerator cold with an ice-cream scoop. A few bites, and I knew I was pretty much done with it. I recommend for solo diners to order something a little less overwhelming - the Tyrokafteri belongs in the trio of dips; not by itself (sort of like blue cheese belongs on a cheese plate; not by itself). It was served, however, with freshly baked pita, cut into wedges, that was delicious and still very warm.

If, at this point, you think this is going to be a negative review, you're wrong. These first two items were incidentals, and largely a result of me not ordering well. For my entree (which was essentially my entire meal), I ordered a daily special of Sauteed Filet of Sole ($12) with green beans and lemon potatoes. While this may sound somewhat ordinary, it was anything but; I would say that for $12, it was the best fish dish I've had in memory. Both sides of the fish, each one split, provided four ample filets of perfectly cooked sole. It was every-so-lightly breaded with an egg batter on the top side only, and the batter was so thin and subtle that someone scarfing down their food might not even notice it, but it was beautiful, almost like a thin tempura, and made a great dish something even better than that. Both the fish and the roasted, bite-size pieces of potato were amply covered in a reduced lemon sauce that is what I dream about in Greek restaurants, but so rarely find. Tart, thick, and full of flavor, it amplified both of these items, and was perfectly complemented by the green beans which were lightly mixed with an elegant tomato sauce. What a great, satisfying, filling plate of food this was for $12!

Nearly all the pita and dip remained, so I packaged them up and took them with me. That evening, after letting the dip sit out all afternoon, I had it with a couple of beers, and *then* it was just what I wanted - it wasn't the dip that was the problem; it was the time of day and my body chemistry (I usually go light for lunch - and even the fish by itself was really too much for me even though I somehow managed to finish every bite).

I have maintained Trapezaria in Italic, and moved it up to the #1 slot in North Rockville in the Dining Guide. I don't think the restaurant is as transporting as you'll read elsewhere (the entire time you're there, the ample windows remind you that you're smack in the middle of downtown Rockville), but it is an excellent restaurant, and I urge people to try it for lunch - the prices are low, and it was nearly empty. And gosh that lemon sauce was delicious.

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Had dinner at the bar last night. That may have been the best damn Imam Bayildi I've ever had. The spicing was perfect. I also enjoyed some tender grilled octopus and the delicious lemon potatoes. My bud had a braised lamb dish that was a little dried out but packed with flavor.

I haven't been to a better Greek joint in the area. I'll be back if I can tolerate driving the 6 miles (in 35 minutes) from my office near White Flint to Rockville Town Square.

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Had dinner at the bar last night. That may have been the best damn Imam Bayildi I've ever had. The spicing was perfect. I also enjoyed some tender grilled octopus and the delicious lemon potatoes. My bud had a braised lamb dish that was a little dried out but packed with flavor.

I haven't been to a better Greek joint in the area. I'll be back if I can tolerate driving the 6 miles (in 35 minutes) from my office near White Flint to Rockville Town Square.

This may actually be worth a detour to I-270.

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I haven't been to a better Greek joint in the area. I'll be back if I can tolerate driving the 6 miles (in 35 minutes) from my office near White Flint to Rockville Town Square.

That sounds far worse than usual Pike traffic (which is pretty bad mid-day), but Montrose --> 270 --> Falls Rd shouldn't take you more than 15.

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I had the pleasure of eating at Trapezaria again a couple of weeks back, this time for a weekday lunch. For those who might not be aware, the restaurant does some more "casual" diner-like options that are only available at lunch, such as gyros, souvlaki platters, and the like. My mom had a gyro craving, and with her previous favorite (Original Ambrosia) seemingly closed for good, we traversed to Trapezaria to scratch the itch.

Unsurprisingly, lunch was fantastic. My mom's gyro was flavorful but not overseasoned or overcooked, and my chicken souvlaki was tender . We both ordered platters "“ which came with soup, salad, and roasted potatoes. I had the avgolemono (my mom doubled up on salad), which was rich but not overwhelmingly, the potatoes were delicious and the salad nicely dressed. I don't even want to consider the impact to my waistline, but it was entirely worth it. The portions were generous "“ the prices were higher than they might be at some other Greek spots, but this is a more refined version of those diner favorites and were entirely worth it to us.

As always, the service was attentive and friendly "“ although I should note that the restaurant was relatively empty for a midday lunch considering how many offices are nearby and even in the same building, so there was certainly ample staffing. They validate parking for the lot behind the building, FWIW.

Overall, I still think Trapezaria is a true gem, especially considering the predilection towards chains or more mediocre options in the Town Square. It feels homey and friendly without suffering from being too laidback and resting on its own laurels. It is not the standout at lunch that it is at dinner, in my opinion "“ there are too many places that are capable of doing "pretty good" diner-style Greek in Montgomery County "“ but I certainly appreciate it and understand why it holds the place it does in Don's Dining Guide.

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I have to give Trapezaria a solid rating. I was surprised, and this is good Greek food.

I was laser-focused on the grilled octopus, and it didn't disappoint at all. Delicious and succulent chunks of char-grilled goodness, accompanied by grilled veggies -- you can get the potatoes, but I'm going low-carb. I almost ordered a second entree. My dining pal had the Greek chicken entree, and raved about how good it was.

This place is in my Rockville hit parade, and I will hit it often. By the way, not a bad selection of Greek wines either, and a few glasses of Greek chardonnay with grilled octopus can be enlightening. This is elevated Greek cuisine, not your neighborhood mom-n-pop pizzeria. It's easily on a par with Nostos for Greek food in the suburbs.

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We ordered Easter dinner from them, and it was solid and comforting. The leg of lamb was very nicely seasoned and perfectly roasted, the lemon potatoes delicious, and the spanakopita and tiropita really good. The horiatiki salad was also great--two huge triangles of feta on top for dissolving into the salad. 

We finished with the Galaktoboureko--a nicely modest and filling end to a truly homestyle dinner. We'd happily do this again.

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