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Cava Mezze, The Original, Sit-Down Version Of Cava In Three Area Locations


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Hello everyone, My name is Ted and I am the owner of CAVA, which is a Greek mezze restaurant. The reason I am on this board is that it seems many of you know alot about food, restauarants and locations. Has anyone been to my place? If so, let me know what you think. My site is cavamezze.com

I am not trying to use this board as advertising, I already have some hour to 2 hour waits, so I am basically here just to be part of this board and see what feeback I can get.

Ted

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I live in Clarendon (have done for 15 years!) and I think a Greek Mezze place would do well. There is a lack of Greek restaurants in the area (since the Aegean Taverna closed) Maybe the spot that SoBe used to have would be a good location? (it has an outdoor patio and is right across from Metro).

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I live in Courthouse and I agree that a new Greek restaurant will be a welcome addition to the area. I think that old SoBe space would be good, and there are also a number of spaces available in new buildings in the Roslyn-Courthouse corridor (though I think a location with outside seating would be appreciated!)

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Hello everyone, My name is Ted and I am the owner of CAVA, which is a Greek mezze restaurant. The reason I am on this board is that it seems many of you know alot about food, restauarants and locations. We were looking to open a 2nd location in the Clarendon area, and since I dont live in VA, I dont know much about it. Has anyone been to my place? If so, let me know what you think. My site is cavamezze.com

I am not trying to use this board as advertising, I already have some hour to 2 hour waits, so I am basically here just to be part of this board and see what feeback I can get.

Ted

Geia sou Theodore! I'm curious if you actually have any of the greens that I normally find in Greece, like vlita, because I always love having those along with the usual seafood fare.

I'm looking forward to getting out to the restaurant and kalos irthes sto board!

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Geia sou Theodore! I'm curious if you actually have any of the greens that I normally find in Greece, like vlita, because I always love having those along with the usual seafood fare.

I'm looking forward to getting out to the restaurant and kalos irthes sto board!

Where is this SOBE location, anyone have an address?

Efharisto ladi kai lemoni! We do not have any of the greens, and I will explain to you why. It is different when your mother or grandmother are out picking their own fresh greens and getting the best available. Many times when we order through a distributor they bring us crappy greens, many times with dirt in them and we do not like to serve anything like that. We do get Meditteranean fish, mostly imported from Greece. Most of our food is Greek inspired. We do souvlaki very traditional, as close to Greece as you can get, we leave some good fat on it, which gives it great flavor. Our whole menu is mezze, which is about 45 small plates, and some are not Greek, but many are. If anyone stops in, please introduce yourself, I would love to buy you a dessert we call Loukoumades, which to me is the most traditional Greek dessert, simialar to a French binet.

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I finally got the chance to head up here for dinner with a friend tonight, and had a great meal that I am still stuffed from. Some notes on what was consumed tonight:

Ouzo on the rocks: Very much the classic accompaniment to mezedes and it was very refreshing. My only complaint was that it was served in a brandy snifter than the usual tall and narrow glass. This made the glass rather unwieldy and somewhat of a space hog on an already cramped table.

Tzatziki: Very well done. The right thickness and consistency that most supposed Greek places can't seem to get right. Tzatziki should not be runny and/or watery!

Saganaki: Pretty good. Could have used more lemon and perhaps could have been a little more melted. The spectacle of the table-side preparation of this dish is fun though...hopefully, it won't end up lighting someone's hair on fire!

Greek Fries: French fries prepared in olive oil and topped with various Greek cheeses like graviera, etc. This was a miss. The fries were too browned and became soggy and limp quickly thereafter.

Grilled Octopus: I was feeling adventurous tonight and ordered this dish because growing up, I used to hate octopus despite my parents' absolute love for it. So, I decided now that I've grown up, I'll give this popular mollusk a chance. In terms of tenderness and consistency, it was well-prepared. Unfortunately, it was somewhat flavorless because I can barely recall what I ate. This is probably not the fault of the restaurant because I feel like it's pretty difficult to get good octopus around here.

Mini Souvlakia Wrapped In Pita: The undisputed champion of the evening. Three tiny gyro pitas composed of pork souvlaki, tomato, some onion, and tzatziki. My first bite transported me instantly to a souvlatzithiko down the street from my grandmother's house and despite being pretty full, I felt compelled to finish this off lest this great dish go to waste.

In addition to these plates, my buddy got a cheese platter and a hummus plate, and at the end of the night, the total per person was just about $25. Will definitely be back again soon!

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I live about a mile from Cava and it has become of of my go to places. Most of the dishes are great and there is enogh variety to keep me coming back. I am happy to see the place thriving and the owner expanding. They have outdoor tables which are ok, the table either face the parking lot or the main street with a bus stop.

Cava is a lot more interesting then the chains which have opened in the Rockville center.

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Cava is not only the only DC-area Greek restaurant (discounting Komi, which moves in larger circles) in recent memory that hasn't disappointed me, but it has actually grown even better on each subsequent visit. A very welcome addition to the otherwise spotty Rockville/G'burg dining scene.

I think their saganaki is the best I've had in years. Served on twin mini-skillets, the cheese is softened to the verge of melting out, with a nice crunch to the thin crust layer, and a nice level of lemon+ouzo. The cheese has a nice level of saltiness to it, which I suspect is from their use of kefalograviera, instead of the more common kasseri. The presentation is also more theatrical than most, as it casts a veritable tower of fire when flamed...you WILL draw the attention of the rest of the dining room.

Some other standouts: zucchini fritters. Also, their hors d'oeuvre-sized spanakopita are very perky, and you can taste the freshness of the spinach filling. The grilled spicy Greek sausage is also excellent. While the shrimp loukoumades and the grilled meatballs are both very good, they weren't nearly as exciting to me.

This week the fish of the day was whole branzino, moderately seasoned and with the skin cooked to a perfect crisp. Simply delicious, but too dear at $34.

The bread basket (warm pieces of pita) is accompanied by a small three-compartment dish containing (1) a somewhat bland olive oil, (2) some delicious kalamata olives in herbed oil, and (3) an addictive sundried tomato spread. The dessert list is a bit short, and apparently there wasn't enough demand for them to keep galaktoboureko on the menu ;) Finally, if I have one criticism, it's that dill appears as a garnish a wee bit too frequently.

I've been developing a fondness for Boutari Naoussa by the glass with most of the plates, and it really plays well with the moderate salty note in many of the dishes. Tuesdays, I believe, are still half-price bottle night, but I don't drink enough by myself to warrant further exploration of their list.

Service indoors was excellent, with a brigade of proudly t-shirted staff (hey, two Greek flags per shirt!) constantly circulating among the tables. You can eat a panoply of small plates at Cava for a perfectly modest amount, and at the moment I'd choose them over the Bethesda Jaleo in a heartbeat. The dining room is pretty hopping on weekends and seems fairly popular through the rest of the week, so call ahead or plan to dine a little on the early side. The front door actually faces the Giant Food side of the plaza, not Traville Gateway Dr., so park in the massive supermarket lot.

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Finally, if I have one criticism, it's that dill appears as a garnish a wee bit too frequently.

A very mild criticism from a rather rave review! ;)

I ate there for lunch this week while at a conference nearby at U-M Shady Grove. Sat at the bar and ordered the pork souvlaki sandwich, thinking it would be fast. Wasn't. The bartender who tried his best to ignore or forget me finally said the sandwiches take longer. Meanwhile, I was envying the guys who came in after me and ordered 2-3 mezzes and were served - and finished their lunch - before I got a sight of my own food.

Anyway, as I was contemplating leaving, my sandwich finally came out. I was glad I stayed. The pork was terrific, the fries very decent. I had to scarf them down WAY too fast as I was late, but I'd go back if it weren't out of the way.

Unfortunately, work intruded the second day of the conference and I wasn't able to go back and explore some more .......

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3 of us headed out to Cava for dinner last night. Got there a little after 8 and found there would be a 45 minute wait for a table. The bar area was packed and noise level was very high. Decided not to wait. I wish they took reservations.

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3 of us headed out to Cava for dinner last night. Got there a little after 8 and found there would be a 45 minute wait for a table. The bar area was packed and noise level was very high. Decided not to wait. I wish they took reservations.

Thanks to everyone posting about CAVA, the success so far has been tremendous and thanks to feedback like this we have been able to change the menu for the better and will continue to do so. As for reservations, the restaurant is usually full by 7pm, so I always recommend people come before that time or after 8. Its a small place and hard to accommodate reservations, but hopefully we will be able to expand very soon. There are some great dishes that I would recommend, and they are the OPA shrimp, the mini sandwiches, the grilled shrimp, the stewed lamb, our lamb chops and crab cakes are great also. The spinach pie and eggplant dip are good and so is the Village salad. For dessert I always recommend loukoumades, which are a Greek take on doughnuts. The grilled octopus also has changed, we now use a baby octopus that is more tender. As for the octopus in Greece, if people really knew what they were talking about they would know that it is frozen and imported from China. They than hang them outside their restaurants to make them look fresh for the tourists. Also the "sun dried tomato" dip is actually a harissa made from red peppers and tomatoes. Lastly, the pricing of the fish is what it is. If we pay alot for it we have to pass that on. Most of the times the grilled fish is 19.99-29.99. Thanks again to all and keep checking us out, a new menu will be released in the next 2 weeks. www.cavamezze.com

PS Thanks to those who recommended Ray's steaks, I had one of the best steaks ever there.

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There are some great dishes that I would recommend, and they are the OPA shrimp, the mini sandwiches, the grilled shrimp, the stewed lamb, our lamb chops and crab cakes are great also.

Lamb Chops!!!!!

Seriously - these are extremely good lamb chops. I've been on a lamb chop bender since trying them at Cava sveral weeks ago.

May I make a suggestion? The fries are great, too, but they get very soggy very quickly sitting under the chops. Maybe place them to the side?

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txaggie and I had lunch there last week and really enjoyed it. The feta-jalapeno dip is incredibly addictive (so much so that we had a second order of it). The red wine braised meatballs (which were more of meat patties) were the other standout for me. Gonna have to go back for those lamb chops...

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txaggie and I had lunch there last week and really enjoyed it. The feta-jalapeno dip is incredibly addictive (so much so that we had a second order of it). The red wine braised meatballs (which were more of meat patties) were the other standout for me. Gonna have to go back for those lamb chops...

Was the crazy feta the orange colored version or the white colored. We tried a different recipe and I am curious to see which one you liked.

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Whaddaya know? There is good non-asian dining in Rockville.

I'm thrilled to have found this place, and it's only a 10 minute drive away. As mentioned above, the lamb chops were excellent, though they were a little more on the medium side than medium-rare as I would have preferred. I actually liked the somewhat soggy fries that came with-- that's how I remember them, when they were served beneath grilled meats, during time spent on the Greek islands. If the grilled Branzino is on special-- GET IT! It was simply seasoned and grilled to crispy-skinned perfection atop some delicious white beans.

Ask for a table away from the bar. We were seated right in front of it where the restaurant is at its narrowest. The bar crowd narrowed the flow through this area even more, so we were often in near collisions with the plate-laden busboys. Our waitress was friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about the joint. I have to give Cava props for having the most non-strip mall interior for a strip mall restaurant I've ever seen.

Thanks for a fine meal Ted,

Al

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My wife and I stopped in at Cava yesterday. It was our first time, and I will say up front that we both decided that we would be willing to come back.

It is a medium sized space, fairly noisy but so what.

We ordered:

The Rocket Salad, baby arugula with feta, shaved kefalograviera cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette. It wasn't bad at all (I let her choose it since I'm not into arugula) but if anything had too much cheese.

Eggplant and Red Pepper Dip - Roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, garlic, herbs & olive oil. It was served with a basket of hot pita pieces. Excellent, with a smokey flavor.

Fried Kalamari - Olive oil crisped kalamari served with lemon wedges and a dipping sauce that I can't really say what it contained. It was very good however, and the kalamari was light, crisp and not at all chewy.

Grilled Octopus - marinated in oil and lemon and grilled. This was my favorite dish, and since my wife will not eat octopus, I got to eat it all. I'll come back just to get this again.

Grilled baby lamb chops - served with lemon and oregano with olive oil crisped fries. The lamb chops were great, but the sauce was soaking the fries and turned them into limp lumps of potato. Good flavor, but not at all appetizing in appearance or texture.

We washed it down with a bottle of a 2006 Cchia Pinot Grigio (fair, a little to acidic, but at $27 not bad for Montgomery County.)

My complaint is that this place bills itself as a wine bar as well as a mezze place. I don't know if it is possible to have a real wine bar in Montgomery County, but the wine list here is ordinary at best. The prices are good for MoCo, but aside from the fact that there are quite a few Greek wines, there was nothing that would have excited even the most casual of wine geeks (which I admit to being). Perfectly alright for the casual wine drinker, but please, a wine bar, not hardly. Having a lot of wines availabel by the glass (and admittedly most of the wines on the list were) does not make a wine bar. Well maybe for MoCo it does, but if I was serious about having a wine bar, I would have opened it somewhere that makes it possible to have exciting wine on a consistent basis. However, as a restaurant, it was fun and worth the cost. As I said, we will be back. I don't know that we'll make it a destination, but when we are up at that end of the county, it will get consideration.

I must say that they have quite a list of martinis, and that appears to be their focus. However, since I hate martinis, I didn't try any of them. I'd call it a mezze restaurant and martini bar before I'd call it a wine bar. So go for the food, and the martinis, and have a great meal.

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Cava is a great place. I live less then a mile away in the Willows and usually run into half of my neighbors when i go. I would not call Cava a serious wine bar but the selection and price is great. The food would not mix well with a pretenious $150 burgundy and I'm glad they don't offer it. This is all about food , friends, conversation and a couple of glasses of wine.

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Cava is a great place. I live less then a mile away in the Willows and usually run into half of my neighbors when i go. I would not call Cava a serious wine bar but the selection and price is great. The food would not mix well with a pretenious $150 burgundy and I'm glad they don't offer it. This is all about food , friends, conversation and a couple of glasses of wine.

I have no problem with the wines they chose, and as I said their list would be more than adequate for the casual wine drinker. But wine bar to me means that I can get something exciting, and where the focus is the wine. In now way would I consider Cava to be focused on wine, martinis maybe, but not wine.

Agreed the food would not match well with a pretentious $150 Burgundy, but it would match well with an unpretentious Cotes de Rhone or a nice Rioja.

And as I said, I liked the place and will go back.

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Love CAVA but got to say I am nervous about more than one location. I have been the sad witness of more than one really good local restaurant in Rockville going down hill after ambitous expansion. I don't even want to think about what I will do without my Friday Metro and Lamb Chop!

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I have no problem with the wines they chose, and as I said their list would be more than adequate for the casual wine drinker. But wine bar to me means that I can get something exciting, and where the focus is the wine. In now way would I consider Cava to be focused on wine, martinis maybe, but not wine.

Agreed the food would not match well with a pretentious $150 Burgundy, but it would match well with an unpretentious Cotes de Rhone or a nice Rioja.

And as I said, I liked the place and will go back.

As far as the wine goes, your right...the montgomery county mafia has held me back from doing what i wanted to do when we opened. When we open in DC, you will see why we billed ourselves as a wine bar. The Greek wines are really good, besides Italy, Greece has the most indigenous varieties in the world. I offer more Greek wine, because i am Greek and have been many times and just know more about them. I had a rioja and a cote du rhone and neither sold, so I replaced them with Greek wines that I think are amazing. Some recommendations are the malagouzia, and roditis, both of which are white. The reds, we have a Mountrihas Petite syrah that is great, and a bottle called Monopatis which is $60 and can be had for half price on Tuesday. This winery was named one of Europe's top 50. I like to think that we are a wine bar in the sense that for our size and the are we serve in we offer over 50 wines and not the normal Luna di luna like you find at every other restaurant. Thanks for the nice reviews everyone.

PS The Santorini Gavala is our most popular and I will be adding more wines from santorini. TThe vines are cultivated in low basket shaped crowns, close to the ground for protection from the strong winds. Coming off the sea, the nocturnal fog brings needed water to the vines during the hot summer nights. Its very interesting to see the vineyards in Santorini...

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Love CAVA but got to say I am nervous about more than one location. I have been the sad witness of more than one really good local restaurant in Rockville going down hill after ambitous expansion. I don't even want to think about what I will do without my Friday Metro and Lamb Chop!

Dont be nervous my friend, there are 3 of us owners, and we would not over expand, but we feel between 3 of us, we can make sure that the standards are up held.

Ted

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I stopped in a couple weeks ago and had a pretty good solo meal. I had the souvlaki, which was ok, and the braised beef and olive oil fries, which was initially outstanding. Essentially upscale-chili-cheese-fries. I was impressed by how large this second dish was and I was over-stuffed when I left (even though I resisted filling up on the tons of bread they put on your table). I would actually call the size/amount a drawback, though, b/c I would have been over-stuffed if it was the only thing I ate, the quality of the fries and cheese suffered as it sat on my table, and the sauce with the braised beef wore on me as I slowed down, though I loved it when it first arrived. But for $8, you can't beat this dish. And I'd love it even more if it was 20% smaller and cost a buck less. Too bad I forgot to try the lamb chop, though that whole fish was quite tempting, too.

Pax,

Brian

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As far as the wine goes, your right...the montgomery county mafia has held me back from doing what i wanted to do when we opened. When we open in DC, you will see why we billed ourselves as a wine bar. The Greek wines are really good, besides Italy, Greece has the most indigenous varieties in the world. I offer more Greek wine, because i am Greek and have been many times and just know more about them. I had a rioja and a cote du rhone and neither sold, so I replaced them with Greek wines that I think are amazing. Some recommendations are the malagouzia, and roditis, both of which are white. The reds, we have a Mountrihas Petite syrah that is great, and a bottle called Monopatis which is $60 and can be had for half price on Tuesday. This winery was named one of Europe's top 50. I like to think that we are a wine bar in the sense that for our size and the are we serve in we offer over 50 wines and not the normal Luna di luna like you find at every other restaurant. Thanks for the nice reviews everyone.

PS The Santorini Gavala is our most popular and I will be adding more wines from santorini. TThe vines are cultivated in low basket shaped crowns, close to the ground for protection from the strong winds. Coming off the sea, the nocturnal fog brings needed water to the vines during the hot summer nights. Its very interesting to see the vineyards in Santorini...

I will go back to try the Greek wines, I just wasn't in the mood (and my wife loves Pinot Grigio) for something else at the time. I want to reiterate that I am not berating you for not haveing what I consider great wines, because you have a better than average selection of Greek wine, but rather that in MoCo, it is probably not possible to have a good wine bar and I found Cava to be more focused on the martinis than the wine (it may have been because it was $5 martini night) and I had gone expecting more of a wine bar. All in all, I really enjoyed my meal and I will definitely return whenever I am up that way.

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I will go back to try the Greek wines, I just wasn't in the mood (and my wife loves Pinot Grigio) for something else at the time. I want to reiterate that I am not berating you for not haveing what I consider great wines, because you have a better than average selection of Greek wine, but rather that in MoCo, it is probably not possible to have a good wine bar and I found Cava to be more focused on the martinis than the wine (it may have been because it was $5 martini night) and I had gone expecting more of a wine bar. All in all, I really enjoyed my meal and I will definitely return whenever I am up that way.

I didnt think you were berating me, I just wanted to explain how we were held back a little by the county and the fact that we were newly opened. We have now added a tempranillo from rioja, a Howell Mt. cab, and now have over 30% of our list offered by the glass. We have added over 10 new bottles and hope people will try some of the Greek varietals. We are a work in progress, hopefully by our 1 year anniversary we will have perfected it all. Any wine additions recommended here, I will surely take into consideration for adding to out list.

Ted

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Since we have a $20 Tuesday scheduled here a few weeks from now, I thought I'd belatedly post about a lunch that the Rockville Pike Lunch Club had here a few weeks ago.

We had:

Spicy hummus (very good hummus, spiked with harissa)

Saganaki (just the perfect amount of oil and lemon, and melted all the way through)

Dolmades (A touch oily for me, but good flavor, probably the least interesting dish we had)

Baby lamb chops (We should have specified medium rare, but even at medium well, these were fabulous)

Braised meatballs (BIG meatballs, though I thought the tomato sauce could have used a little more punch)

Fried calamari (Breading needed a bit more kick, but perfectly crispy and very tender squid)

We left stuffed (probably could have ordered 1 less dish), but with tax, tip, and soft drinks, we were still under $20. Definitely a fine addition to the Gaithersburg/Rockville dining scene.

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My friends and I formed a group of eight tonight. They were very nice to us.

Ditto everything everyone said about the lamb chops. Holy crap, I was trying to prise what I could off with my teeth. Amazingly tender. The meat platter was simply fantastic.

Zucchini fritters were also a winner as were the dips. French fries really didn't do it for me. Spanakopita was creamy and good, but seemed to blend in with all the dips that we were consuming. I loved the taramosalata, which was made from salmon roe unlike cod roe that I've had before. We also had the flambeed cheese, whichever that one was. It reminded me of halloumi but a little bit more pliable. The outside was crisp and delicious.

I really wish the place had more light so I could really see what I was eating. It's a bit too loud for it to be romantic, so you might as well turn the lights up, unless it's a club atmosphere. And we were definitely the youngest folks in the place by a long shot, except for the servers.

We had the Loukoumades (Greek donuts). I wished they were a little more porous as they didn't really soak up the honey. They reminded me of the donuts you get at Chinese buffets - very dense and almost roll-like. But then I don't know what they are supposed to be like, so who am I to say.

This was very odd. I ordered a soda, which I almost never do, and it was very flat. I asked the bartender for another one, and it was a little bit better. But still... weird!

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Cava continues to produce very good food and drink and moderate prices.

Had the following:

Baby lamb chops (grilled to a perfect medium rare) - the bed fires just merely acceptable, little too thick an undercooked for my liking

Grilled Meatballs - very tasty and a big hit with kids who thought they were hamburgers

Grilled Octopus - just merely good nothing to really right home about

Spanikoptia - big hit with my 6 year old

Also had the calamari (little greasy) and Hummus for the kids which were also very good. All in all another great meal here. Good attentive service and good value.

Arrived close to opening around 5 pm with a few tables already seated. When we left about 1 hour later place was packed and we had to fight our way out the front door.

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From Tom's chat Wednesday:

Rockville, Md.: Hi Mr. Sietsema, Cava chef owner here with a quick question, what do think of the area where Belga Cafe is at for a new Cava? Thank you.

Tom Sietsema: You mean the EXACT SPOT or the area AROUND Belga? Either way, I'd show up.

Any thoughts on this possibility? I've never been to this place in Rockville, but it sounds like it could be a good addition to the Hill--certainly better than Taverna! I wonder what building he may be looking at?
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A brusque review of this brusque restaurant:

Reception - Curt.

Service - Efficient.

Wines - Workable.

Pita - Respectable.

Taramosalata ($5.95) - Ample.

Avgolemono ($5.95) - Comforting.

Zucchini Fritters ($5.95) - Moist.

Grilled Octopus ($10.95) - Adolescent.

Greek Fries ($6.95) - Disjoint.

Lamb Kapama ($9.95) - Burdensome.

Loukoumades ($6.95) - Undercooked.

Life's too short to dislike Cava; life's also too short to rush back.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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From Tom's chat Wednesday:Any thoughts on this possibility? I've never been to this place in Rockville, but it sounds like it could be a good addition to the Hill--certainly better than Taverna! I wonder what building he may be looking at?
They've taken over the Marty's space, as of very recently.
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They've taken over the Marty's space, as of very recently.

Seriously?? I had the most horrendous breakfast of my life at Marty's a few years back (how do you f*** up toast, fer chrissake?), and have wished for its demise for years. I figured it was too popular to go down, but this is good news, as far as I'm concerned. (Glad to hear about Le Pain Quotidien, too.)

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Last night was crazy at Cava. The owners need to expand or rethink their policies. My wife and I arrived at 7pm and were told 45 minute wait. No problems, since the bar was jammed we walked over to another place(name escpares me La Vinque) for a glass of wine. Came back at 7:45 and did not get seated for another 45 minutes. Then the place was so loud and dark that it was hard to read menu of talk to waitress. Food at this point was thrown at us faster then once could imagine how it is really cooked to order.

My predicition is that Cava is soon to be a victim of its sucess. What started out as pleasant, tastly and popular is now crazy and obnoxious.

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Last night was crazy at Cava. The owners need to expand or rethink their policies. My wife and I arrived at 7pm and were told 45 minute wait. No problems, since the bar was jammed we walked over to another place(name escpares me La Vinque) for a glass of wine. Came back at 7:45 and did not get seated for another 45 minutes. Then the place was so loud and dark that it was hard to read menu of talk to waitress. Food at this point was thrown at us faster then once could imagine how it is really cooked to order.

My predicition is that Cava is soon to be a victim of its sucess. What started out as pleasant, tastly and popular is now crazy and obnoxious.

A few things in reply to this email. As the owner, I would like to touch on some subjects written here.

"The owners need to expand or rethink their policies."

WHEN WE FIRST HAD AN IDEA TO OPEN A PLACE, NO ONE WOULD GIVE US A SHOT...NOT A SHOPPING CENTER, NOT A SINGLE LANDLORD. WE TOOK THE SPACE THAT WE COULD GET AND NOW IT HAS BECOME SO POPULAR PEOPLE ARE DEMANDING WE EXPAND. WE ARE OPENING A 2ND LOCATION THAT IS 3 TIMES THE SIZE IN THE NEXT 2 MONTHS. IF ANYONE IS LOOKING TO DONATE TO THE EXPAND CAVA FUND PLEASE LET ME KNOW, BECAUSE LAST TIME I CHECKED THE ECONOMY WAS IN SHAMBLES AND IT IS NOT SO EASY TO JUST EXPAND. ALSO, OUR WAIT TIMES ARE NOT THAT LONG BETWEEN SUNDAY AND THURSDAY, NOR ARE THEY THAT LONG ANYTIME NOT BETWEEN 7 AND 8PM. EVERYONE LIKES TO GO OUT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7PM TO 8PM AND I UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT YOU HAVE TO IMAGINE THE PRESSURE IT PUTS ON A 60 SEAT RESTAURANT IF 200 PEOPLE ARE AT THE DOOR.

"Then the place was so loud and dark that it was hard to read menu of talk to waitress."

PEOPLE ENJOY THE DARKNESS AND LOUDNESS...MANY TIMES THE ATMOSPHERE IS A MAJOR DRAW. IF IT WAS TOO DARK AND YOU HAD MENTIONED IT TO THE SERVER, WE HAVE SMALL LIGHTS THAT WE SUPPLY FOR CUSTOMERS OR LIKE MANY PEOPLE DO USE THE CANDLES AT THE TABLE WHICH ARE PLASTIC FLICKER LIGHTS AND NOT REAL WAX.

"Food at this point was thrown at us faster then once could imagine how it is really cooked to order"

THIS ONE GETS ME THE MOST. IF YOU ARE GOING TO QUESTION THE INTEGRITY OF MY RESTAURANT, PLEASE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. I INVITE YOU ANY DAY YOU WANT TO WATCH MY KITCHEN STAFF PREPARE THE FRESHEST FOODS AND ONLY COOK TO ORDER. WE ARE A MEZZE RESTAURANT, WHICH IS LIKE TAPAS. IF YOU ORDER 10 PLATES YOU WILL GET 10 PLATES. THE POINT OF THE PAPER MENU IS SO THAT YOU CAN ORDER 1 OR 2 THINGS, AND ADD ON AS YOU GO ALL THE WHILE SHARING THE SMALL PLATES.

"Came back at 7:45 and did not get seated for another 45 minutes."

ALL I CAN SAY TO THIS IS THAT THERE IS ALWAYS 2 SIDES TO A STORY. BUT I AM NOT HERE TO ARGUE WHETHER I AM RIGHT OR WRONG, BECAUSE THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. DID YOU ASK FOR A MANAGER THAT NIGHT TO EXPLAIN THE SITUATION? I AM SURE WE WOULD HAVE DONE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED IF IT WAS SOMETHING WE WERE AT FAULT ABOUT.

"My predicition is that Cava is soon to be a victim of its sucess. What started out as pleasant, tastly and popular is now crazy and obnoxious."

THIS ONE STRIKES ME OUT AS SOMEONE WHO HAS AN AXE TO GRIND. A VICITM OF OUR SUCCESS? WHAT WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE AN EMPTY RESTAURANT WHERE I MAKE PEOPLE WAIT OUTSIDE IN THE COLD? ALSO CRAZY AND OBNOXIOUS IS A PERSONAL OPINION, SOME PEOPLE WOULD CALL IT CHARMING AND ALIVE.

WE TRY OUR HARDEST TO PLEASE EVERYONE AND MAKE SURE THAT THEIR EXPERIENCE IS SOMETHING THAT WILL BRING THEM BACK. MANY TIMES OUT OF 300 PEOPLE SERVED ONE OR 2 MAY HAVE A PROBLEM, AND WE TRY OUR BEST TO MAKE SURE WE FIX IT THAT NIGHT. WE CANNOT FIX PROBLEMS IF WE ARE UNAWARE OF THEM. OUR FOOD IS FRESH DAILY AND COOKED TO ORDER FOR EVERY SINGLE ITEM. CAVA IS WHAT IT IS...IT IS A SMALL RESTAURANT WITH GREAT FOOD AND GREAT ATMOSPHERE. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A CHAIN WITH CERTAIN EXPECTATIONS THAN THIS IS NOT THE SPOT FOR YOU. MY PREDICTION IS THAT CAVA WILL BE SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE WE ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO TAKE CARE OF OUR CUSTOMERS. I HAVE 1000 EMAILS TO BACK THAT UP. FINALLY, I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU MAY HAVE HAD A FRUSTRATING NIGHT, BUT I HAVE BEEN TO SO MANY PLACES, INCLUDING TOP 5 PLACES, BEST BARGAINS, TOM SIETSEMA'S FAVORITES AND HAVE HAD BAD EXPERIENCES AT SOME AND I HAVE ALWAYS GONE BACK AND MANY TIMES I HAD A GREAT 2ND EXPERIENCE.

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A few things in reply to this email. As the owner, I would like to touch on some subjects written here.

Ted

I'll be back and yes it could have been a bad night.

The lamb chops were great but when the other 5 dishes we ordered came at the same time we were overwhelmed.

Mark

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Ted

I'll be back and yes it could have been a bad night.

The lamb chops were great but when the other 5 dishes we ordered came at the same time we were overwhelmed.

Mark

When I went to Cava a couple weeks ago, I held onto the menu and coursed out the meal, ordering course x+1 whenever I was halfway through course x. Like Cork and Zaytinya, Cava brings everything when it's ready, so unless you want to be bombarded, you have to space out the ordering; our server was perfectly comfortable accomodating this.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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When I went to Cava a couple weeks ago, I held onto the menu and coursed out the meal, ordering course x+1 whenever I was halfway through course x. Like Cork and Zaytinya, Cava brings everything when it's ready, so unless you want to be bombarded, you have to space out the ordering; our server was perfectly comfortable accomodating this.

Cheers,

Rocks.

I am a Cava regular as I work just down the street. I agree wtih Rocks that you need to control the pace of your own dining experience there, but I also think a well trained server would explain this to a patron.

As a frequent diner and fan of the restaurant, I do find that the kitchen is not always consistent, I can tell when Dimitri is not in the house. When "Cava-2" opens, I wonder what will happen to the quality at the original location if Dimitri isn't in the kitchen.

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I am a Cava regular as I work just down the street. I agree wtih Rocks that you need to control the pace of your own dining experience there, but I also think a well trained server would explain this to a patron.

As a frequent diner and fan of the restaurant, I do find that the kitchen is not always consistent, I can tell when Dimitri is not in the house. When "Cava-2" opens, I wonder what will happen to the quality at the original location if Dimitri isn't in the kitchen.

I do not think you would you know when Dimitri was in the kitchen or not. I am not saying that to be rude, but Dimitri is a professional and is capable of training a chef while at the same time being hands on and keeping the consistency. We have become more consistent in the last few months, and if your interested you may email me at ted@cavamezze.com and I will have Dimitri and another chef prepare you 3 dishes and you may try to pick out which was made by whom. I am pretty sure that Jose Andres is not cooking at jaleo, zaytinya, minibar, oyamel..etc all by himself every night. Does he get a pass for being famous? Anyways, let me know if you want to take me up on that offer, of course the dishes will be on me.

Thank you

Ted

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I am pretty sure that Jose Andres is not cooking at jaleo, zaytinya, minibar, oyamel..etc all by himself every night. Does he get a pass for being famous?

I'd say he's gotten the biggest free pass in the history of this city.

(Congratulations on your new opening!)

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I do not think you would you know when Dimitri was in the kitchen or not. I am not saying that to be rude, but Dimitri is a professional and is capable of training a chef while at the same time being hands on and keeping the consistency.

Thank you

Ted

I tasted some of their mezze at Whole Foods the other week, and I can honestly say that they were some of the best I have ever had (outside of when I was up in Lebanon). I am so excited that they are finally open up nearby and can't wait to get there.

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I tasted some of their mezze at Whole Foods the other week, and I can honestly say that they were some of the best I have ever had (outside of when I was up in Lebanon). I am so excited that they are finally open up nearby and can't wait to get there.

The Crazy Feta dip is unreal. I can easily plow through a whole container in one sitting.

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They are currently open for dinner only. Once dinner is running smoothly they will ease into lunch, no clear time line yet. Still figuring out reservations-it sounds like they haven't decided what to do yet. For now I recommend giving them a call.

Rainy Thursday night, a week and a half after they opened, and they were packed, bar included.

Dinner tonight surpassed expectations. Our waiter was attentive and helpful. The portions are generous; the food uncomplicated and good. Two of us had 4 mezze and one dessert. We left stuffed.

The lamb sliders were the highlight of the evening. Nice size, excellent meat to toasted bread ratio, just enough topping to add to the lamb. Juicy and delish.

Fried calamari is a close second. Some of the best fried calamari I have had in a long time. Light, crispy fry, tender squid, tasty seasoning in the batter. Not a fan of the accompanying sauce, but the calamari alone were so flavorful you don't need it.

We also had the eggplant spread and a mushroom grits dish (don't remember the name). Both were also very good.

Andre, one of the owners, stopped by a number of times to check in on us. He was very receptive to suggestion and feedback. I noticed throughout the night that he made a point of stopping by many tables to check in.

The only two major negatives are that the background music is very loud and the dip that was brought out with a basket of warm, tasty pita. Don't know what the dip is made of because it was sooooo spicy that we were unable to discern any other flavors. The dip (which is also served with olives and olive oil) was placed down without any warning about how spicy it was. I hate to think of what would happen if a little one or someone with a sensitive palate dug in.

I've never been to the Rockville location, so I can't compare, but if the CH location is able to keep up what they pulled off tonight I think they have a good future ahead of them.

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