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.
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.
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.)
“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.
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.
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.”