Check Out the Menus and Look Inside Ottoman Taverna Opening Monday

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425 I Street, NW

From a press release:

“Turkish-born restaurateur Hakan Ilhan is pleased to announce the Monday, May 2nd opening of his new 160-seat restaurant, Ottoman Taverna, at 425 I Street, NW, Suite #107, Washington, DC 20001, located between K & I on 4th Street), which will open for dinner service with lunch and brunch following shortly. Atlanta-based Matt Norris of Norris Design is the design firm of record for Ottoman Taverna. The design scheme for the restaurant’s distinctive interior pays homage to the turn-of-the-century casual restaurants found throughout the arrondissements of Istanbul.

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At Ottoman Taverna, the menu will be comprised of classic dishes that incorporate traditional cooking techniques to pay tribute to the true flavors of Ottoman cuisine. Ottoman Taverna’s dinner menu will feature, soups and salads, cold and hot meze, flats breads, and entrees. Small plates will range from $7 to $14.95, and entrées from $16.74 to $24.75. Highlights from the dinner menu include Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası, red lentil soup with onion, tomatoes, and paprika oil; Grilled Calamari Fattoush Salad with pearl couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers, and crispy pita chips; Confit Garlic Hummus, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, paprika and served with pita bread; Ímam Bayıldı, roasted eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and basil oil; Çerkez Tavuğu, Carcashian chicken with walnut, garlic, and paprika oil; Karides Güveç, shrimp stew with a saffron tomato broth, garlic chips, and fresh herbs; İçli Köfte, bulgur wheat köfte stuffed with ground lamb and beef, walnuts, and parsley sauce; Sucuklu Pide, flat bread with spicy lamb sausage, cows’ milk cheese, arugula, and marinated red onions; Adana Kebab, char grilled lamb and beef kebab seasoned with red pepper and herbs; Karnıbahar, cauliflower stew with tomatoes, cipollini onions, and parsley; Hünkar Beğendi, slow braised lamb shank served over eggplant puree; Tavada Levrek, pan-seared Branzino with mashed fingerling potatoes, capers, tomatoes, olives, and sautéed spinach, as well as Moussaka, eggplant, potato, ground beef, and béchamel sauce.

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Additionally, guests will want to experience Ottoman Taverna’s Happy Hour offered Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bar. One can anticipate a featured menu featuring hot and cold meze, as well as select flat breads for half the regular menu price. Happy Hour menu highlights include Midye Dolma, mussels stuffed with herbed rice, pine nuts, and currants; Hummus, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, paprika, served with pita bread; Muhammara, red peppers, walnuts, olive oil, served with pita bread; Şakşuka, crispy zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers served over tomato and mint yogurt sauce; Sucuk Şiş, grilled spicy beef sausage; Sigara Böreği, homemade dough wrapped with feta cheese and parsley; Falafel, chickpea fritters with tahini sauce; Lahmacun Flatbread, crispy thin flat dough topped with ground lamb, special spices, and served with lettuce and tomatoes, as well as Kekikli Keçi Peynirli Pide, flat bread with goat cheese, fresh thyme, oven roasted tomato served with arugula and marinated red onions. Happy Hour menu items range in price from $3.50 to $6.”

(more info and tons of photos after the jump.)

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“Opening Date: May 2, 2016

Hours of Operation: Lunch: Opening soon for the lunch service.

Dinner: Sunday and Monday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Tuesday through Thursday: 4:00 PM to 11:00PM
Friday and Saturday: 4:00 PM to 12:00AM

Happy Hour: Monday through Friday, from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM

Brunch: Opening soon for the brunch service.

Owner: Hakan Ilhan

Executive Chef: Ilhan Erkek

General Manager: Nuray Karatas

Beverage Director: Angel Cervantes

Menu Description: Ottoman Taverna will serve classic dishes that incorporate traditional cooking techniques to pay tribute to the true flavors of Ottoman cuisine.

Dinner Menu April 2016 (PDF)

Dessert Menu April 2016 (PDF)

Wine List: Ottoman Taverna offers a highly selective list of wines showcasing Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and California. More than 20 wines available by the glass. Corkage fee is $25.

Wine List (PDF)

Menu Price: Small plates range from $7 to $12
Entrée plates range from $11 to $25

Wheelchair Access: Yes

Reservations: Reservations are accepted through Open Table.com, and walk-ins are always welcome.

Capacity: 136 seats in the main dining room and 24 seats at the bar. Three private dining rooms are also available, which are separated by folding doors. The rooms can accommodate up to 40 guests each for a seated dinner, or up to 90 when the rooms are combined. The Sultan’s table has 12 seats.

An outdoor patio is also available during the spring and summer months (weather permitting), which can accommodate 40 guests.

Interior Design: Matt Norris, of Norris Design in Atlanta, pays respect to turn-of- the-century casual restaurants found throughout the arrondissements of Istanbul, when designing Ottoman Taverna.

Ottoman Taverna pays tribute to the empire that ruled a large swath of Eurasia for hundreds of years. Instead of forcing its way of life onto the conquered, the Ottoman Empire absorbed other ideas and practices to create one of the world’s great cultures. Food is no exception to this rule. The cuisine of the Ottomans is influenced by all the great ingredients and techniques found throughout the region, melded into a complex flavor profile that is familiar to all, yet unique at the same time.

To avoid any hint of the cliché, the dining room is influenced by modern European design elements which can be found in Ankara or Istanbul today. The ceilings and floors have an old world appearance, as if the shell building was 500 years old while the elements placed within are new and sleek. This contrast provides the visual interest required to stimulate conversation and appetite. A light color palate, including a slightly off white is predominate.

The hexagon, or honeycomb shape is featured throughout the dining room as a cohesive anchor for the design. It is formative design motif found in Islamic art, and is very appropriate for a Turkish restaurant. Guests will find it in the custom light fixtures overhead, the wine cellar rack standing behind glass at the bar, and the cased openings to the bar and the exhibition kitchen. All of the wood used in the space is distressed and stained to look like sun-bleached wood seen on cliff side homes in the Mediterranean region of Greece and Italy. Lightly sprinkled about are design motifs from the Islamic and Christian religions that comingle in the great cities of modern Turkey. The arabesque pattern can be found on light fixtures and the glass party room doors, while nearby, a large mural featuring the Hagia Sophia church stands. Add to this the laser cut steel screen dividing the dining room from the bar, with its hexagonal pattern and Kilim rug influenced cutouts, and you have a metaphor for present day Turkey- where east meets west.

The bar features a backlit onyx top, mined in Turkey, fronting the copper clad back bar featuring many beers and wines on tap. A large wine cellar stands proudly nearby, stocked with the finest wines available from all over the world. The bar pendant lighting has a touch of the Mediterranean blue glass, and an arabesque shape, to reinforce the Turkish design theme. The dining room can be divided into several party rooms, should a soiree be appropriate or totally open for couples having their own private celebration.

Special attention is paid to the beautiful cooking show that will take place daily at the exhibition kitchen visible from the dining room. The charcoal pit and doner grill are placed front and center to demonstrate the authenticity of the Ottoman cuisine offered. The working kitchen will distract diners from their cell phones for a while at least. No expense has been sparred to create a beautiful space that will do justice to one of the world’s great cuisines and cultures.”

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24 Comment

  • maxwell smart

    Wow. There is a LOT going on in here.

  • JFC, this has to be the longest press release ever written about a restaurant. I live nearby and have been eyeing this place since late last summer (while on my weekly walk to Wiseguy’s), so I’ll try it out….with hesitation…and probably only for HH or brunch once they get around to that.
    .
    Also, you can’t say “Highlights from the dinner menu” and follow it with a paragraph listing of 35 menu items with every GD ingredient in it! ANARCHY!

    • maxwell smart

      Yeah.. at some point, I stopped reading. I really don’t need to know all of the nuance of the interior design, and this is coming from someone in the industry. I get it – Old meets New. Cool. Moving on…

  • Why can’t a press release just say “Good food, atmosphere, prices, and service.” That’s all I want to know.

    • Because a press release is not for you. Press releases are intended for the press, and for them to make them into prose that their audience would appreciate.

      A business fill them with adjectives and quotes that they deem worthy to have others describe their business.

    • justinbc

      That’s barely a tweet. Some of us actually have attention spans that span beyond 5 seconds.

      • Most of the reporters I work with have an attention span that barely spans beyond that. I don’t know about the food world but in politics/government, if you can’t make you’re point, they’re moving on. Makes me wonder if I’m doing comms for the wrong industry….

    • It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I was just commenting how overblown some of these things can be.

  • Pretty place and they serve iskender. I’m in.

  • Looks pretty awesome to me.

  • Will they have Salgam?

  • Looks gorgeous. Which in DC, usually means they spent WAY more on decor than all of the things it takes to turn out consistently good food at a reasonable price.

  • justinbc

    I hope they do well, there aren’t a lot of good dining options in that immediate vicinity, despite the somewhat dense population. Turkish food is one of my favorites, so I’ll definitely stop by to check it out. Here’s hoping it’s at least a fraction as good as Oleana in Boston.

    • Huh? There are dense people all over DC.

    • There’s quite a few places to eat in that vicinity. Granted, almost all are owned by that dude opening the place across from L’Hommage. Let’s hope this place while it has a similar focus on decor has a better focus on the food than L’hommage.

      I love the bar in the photo though.

      • maxwell smart

        That’s funny, because the bar was the thing that jumped out as not fitting in with the rest of the design and feeling equally cheap and over-designed.

  • “arrondissements of Istanbul” ????

  • Lamachun for 11.75? gtfo of here with that nonsense- 50 cents in turkey and appropriately priced at 4.50 at the the Simit and Smith in Georgetown. Who woulda thunk prices in Georgetown < Mt. Vern.

    • Lahmacun** – DANGIT!

    • justinbc

      Comparing something you get from a nice restaurant to something that comes from a place that more closely resembles a bagel shop than anything else is a bit disingenuous. The quality and presentation are likely a good bit better…IIRC it cost me about $8 or $9 for this at a nice place in Rhodes.

      • I agree with PG- that is an expensive pizza! Shouldn’t be priced so high.
        Justinbc- Rhodes is in Greece, IIRC.

        • justinbc

          Rhodes is in Greece, you are correct. But due to its proximity it shares more in common with Turkey, from a culinary standpoint, than its host country. And basically anywhere you go in this city you will find “flatbreads” at exactly this price, if not higher.

    • It’s just tough to compare it to being in Turkey or Greece because things are simply less expensive there (for us, as Americans). So yeah, you’re looking at paying 2-4x more for a nice restaurant in DC for the same food as you would pay at a tourist-oriented restaurant in Istanbul or Athens (and obviously touristy places have higher prices to begin with).
      .
      Now, that being said, $12 for a pide is a lot. You can get a pide for $8 at Agora, a very nice medi restaurant. You can also get very nice and CHEAP turkish food at Ezme in Adams Morgan.

  • But will they serve that thing I had for lunch in Turkey while wearing a lanyard during a Mediterranean cruise shore excursion? It was so much cheaper in Turkey, which is a place I’ve been to!

Comments are closed.