Kellari Taverna for Restaurant Week
I decided to try Kellari Tavern- the new Greek restaurant on K Street- during restaurant week. An interesting evening with some service issues. They were clearly trying to please, as someone came over and introduced himself as our "conductor" for the evening. not our waiter- just someone to make things run smoothly because the wait staff was still new and RW meant a packed house. The conductor couldn't help us order Greek wine, and our waiter was MIA, so someone else came to talk to us about wine. Unfortunately the waiter assumed he had taken our order- he had not. So after over 30 minutes plus, we finally caught the waiter's attention so we could order. In the middle of my ordering, the waiter's cell phone rang. He answered it and walked away, leaving our party stunned. He came back, started over, and the same thing happened once more.
My friend ordered her salad with no onions. He came back to the table to make sure that was how she wanted it, and then the salad came with onions. We ordered dessert in the middle of dinner at the waiter's request. He never came to inquire about coffee. The desserts came out wrong. Our conductor came back and we told him the waiter was terrible. He nodded and did not ask why. The person we ordered wine from came by as well (turns out he was a manager) and he gave us each a dessert wine as an apology. He knew we were not happy but again didn't ask why. He came back with a bottle of olive oil for each of us- nice touch! But we finally insisted on telling him about all of our issues- he had assumed we simply weren't happy with the timing of the meal. There were a number of other issues with the waiter- but I won't go into further detail. We never saw him after the dessert course and had to seek someone else out to get the check.
On to the food: Two people in my group started with spanakopida and three people had the greek salad. The greek salad was mostly tomato, a bit of onion, and a nice piece of feta. It was fine and fresh but nothing special. I thought the same of the spanakopida- fine not memorable. The lamb was well-prepared and tasty but not something I can rave about. The people who had fish were very happy with how the fish was prepared and more than satisfied with the flavor. There was a yogurt dessert with cherries that was quite good.
I would give Kellari another chance because there were a number of interesting things on the menu and I really liked the look and feel of the room. Perhaps it was our mistake for trying a new restaurant during such a busy time.
I've been to Kellari twice now and had excellent food and service both times. First time was for lunch about a month ago, where two of us shared several appetizers and didn't get entrees, including the best taramasolata I've had and very good cod fritters.
Last week I went for dinner and ordered off of the restaurant week menu. I went to three different RW dinners and three lunches and this was the only place I'd return to based on that experience. We had grilled squid and octopus for appetizers. Both were generous portions and very fresh. The squid was good but the octupus was outstanding, quite possibly the best I've been served in this country. The portion was large nough for an entree. Entrees were seared scallops with squid ink pasta and sea bass steamed in banana leaves. Both were excellent. Desserts were the only weak point. The baklava was ok but heavy, and the custard didn't do it for me at all, although my friend liked it. Next time I'll just grab a cookie on the way out. They are good. I have found both times that the bartenders and the servers go out of their way to be helpful, so you may have just gotten a clunker of a waiter. There is no excuse for that but it can happen anywhere. So don't write this place off. I'm going again Wednesday night. And I never ever eat at the same restaurant in the same month, never mind within a week, especially not a pricey one, but I really like this place and want to try more dishes, The wall of fresh fishes call to me so I'll pass on the desserts and focus on the sea food and spreads.