Adventures of a DC Foodie - Nostos
The other day I was on my way to lunch at Chef Geoff's, when I saw a banner across the street saying "Now Open" at what looked like a Greek restaurant. I decided to try it out and changed course.
Nostos is an upscale Greek restaurant - something that is sorely lacking in the Tyson's area. Don't get me wrong, I love my Plaka, but it is not a good place for a nice dinner and drinks - Nostos definitely is. The interior is very modern with clean lines, stark white walls accented with dark furniture, and black and white photos. It is meant to look like the "sugar cube" houses of Greece with rounded, white washed walls and an exposed rafter effect. There is a main dining room lined with windows and a smaller room that could be used for private events. The large bar area is nicely separated from the main dining room, reducing noise interference. The bar is also well stocked with a wide selection in addition to Ouzo and Greek wines. The hostess told me that they are working on happy hour specials - I think that this may become a great place to hang out.
On to the food! The menu is clean and fresh, offering upscale (but still simple) versions of traditional food. There were a wide selection of mezze plates categorized as vegetarian, cheese, meat, or seafood in addition to several dips and salads. There were a few traditional entrees, and a wide selection of fish - prepared simply grilled with olive oil and lemon. I decided to order the "traditional sampler" entree in order to try a variety of dishes. The sampler came on a lovely, white, sectioned plate with moussaka, spanakopita, dolma, and arnaki fournou. The moussaka (layered casserole) was made the way that I prefer it - with potatoes in addition to the eggplant and ground beef, and topped with a nice layer of bechamel. The potatoes were very tender and the meat had a nice tomato-y flavor, though I would have preferred a touch more cinnamon. There was a nice bit of chewy, browned cheese on top. The spanakopita (spinach and cheese stuffed phyllo pastry) had a wonderfully herb-y flavor, though it was not terribly crisp. The dolma (stuffed grapeleaf) was tender and filled with a lovely mixture of ground beef, rice, and mint. It was topped with a delicious creamy egg yolk and lemon sauce that was like the Greek equivalent of Hollandaise. The arnaki fournou consisted of slices of slow roasted lamb in a gravy sauce. The lamb had a nice flavor, though it was not as tender as I would expect after "slow roasting". The gravy was lighter than I expected it to be, with a hint of lemon flavor.
As it was lunch, I did not have dessert, though I would like to come back and try the galaktoboureko, baklava, or rizogalo. I would also like to make a meal out of several of the mezze plates. Nostos is definitely worth a return visit - several, in fact.