Courtesy of Groupon, the boyfriend and I went to dinner at Mourayo’s Friday night. Mourayo’s, “unique, contemporary and traditional Greek cuisine” (awful tagline), was rated #53 of DC’s 100 Best Restaurants by the Washingtonian this year.
Random tangent: I am a big fan of the Washingtonian, probably DC’s most widely circulated culture and lifestyle publication, since their food and dining section is the best that I’ve seen in an analog publication. Their reviews are in general, fair, though from a limited point of view but the restaurant finder feature on their website is absolutely top notch. They provide all the information you could ever want and need and should expect from a restaurant review: hours, nearest Metro stop, recommended dishes, price range, scene description, etc.
So we had reservations at 6:30 PM, made it there on time. There were only two other tables at the time. The waiter was very helpful and patient with me when I forgot to print out the Groupon coupon (which, if you’re listening, Groupon or any other ticketing/coupon online system, is a serious usability weakness). They actually let me get online and print it in the restaurant office. I’m especially grateful for their patience since I was clumsier and more frazzled than usual that evening. Aside from forgetting the coupon, my phone died, the internet wasn’t working in the restaurant office for a while, I dropped the menus from our high-top table, I nearly swept my wine and water off the table. It was so bad that T ordered me to stay in my seat and not move, for fear of worsening the series of unfortunate events.
When finally settled down, I ordered the Pythagoras “Theorema” (cute name), three pork loin medallions with figs, almonds, manouri cheese and honey sauce. I normally don’t order pork but the waiter’s recommendation was titillating. T ordered the Arni “Thraki” which was diced top round lamb with mixed vegetables and feta baked in phyllo, cumin and red wine sauce. Descriptions from the menu. I also had a spicy red wine, per the waiter’s recommendation also, that was really good. I could have drunk a whole bottle of it in an hour. I think it was the Aivaili, (Aghiorgitiko), Nemea, (not sure what that means), from the Peloponnesos region. The pita bread they served was warm.
The pork medallions are in the foreground and the lamb baked in phyllo is in the background.
Topped with figs, honey sauce and manouri cheese, the pork medallions were scrumptious! Tender, with a slight pungent taste usually characteristic of lamb, sweet and savory at the same time. Oh it was good. I am not a big fan of sweet entrees (separation of entree and dessert should be a law) but this was one of those exceptional exceptions. I also surprised myself by not ordering lamb (my favorite meat) but this dashed my mild concern that I didn’t stick with what I know I like. That dollop of white stuff at the top of the plate is the restaurant’s Greek yogurt. It was thick, creamy, tasted a little like sour cream (not gonna lie, that’s what I thought it was at first). T’s lamb baked in phyllo was great as well. The dish was kinda like a stew baked in a crust, so it was very hearty and savory. I only had a small bite but T devoured it in like three minutes (and then spent the next half hour watched me slowly savor my pork).
For dessert we ordered the Eros, yogurt, thyme honey and strawberries in a phyllo nest. It was messy to eat but very refreshing. Between the honey ice cream at the Bent Spoon and this, my love of honey is coming into full fruition. That yogurt too, I’ve never had anything like it. I could eat huge bowls of fruit, honey and that yogurt every day.
Thanks to Groupon, the bill was very reasonable. Even without it though, I think the prices are still reasonable for a restaurant of that caliber. I would have willingly paid full price for the meal we had, maybe not on a random Friday night, but for a special occasion meal. My expectations weren’t high but Mourayo’s definitely raised the bar in what to expect from a quality Greek restaurant! The restaurant is located in Dupont Circle, two blocks from the Metro. Convenient!
For service and food, 5 out of 5 stars.