Dish of the Week: Gypsy Kitchen’s menemen

Media Credit: Anna Boone | Staff Photographer

For a relaxing bohemian ambiance and a menu featuring a wide range of choices, check out Gypsy Kitchen on 14th Street.

At Gypsy Kitchen, the cozy bohemian decor and menu items sampling from Spanish, Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan and Israeli cuisines will transport you to the Mediterranean.

Located at 1825 14th St. NW, Gypsy Kitchen neighbors popular restaurants like Ted’s Bulletin across the street and Compass Rose around the corner on T Street. But Gypsy Kitchen’s rooftop with a clear view of Logan Circle, charmingly colorful decor and tapas-style menu with diverse cuisine options sets it apart from nearby restaurants.

The center of the room is furnished with four rows of eye-catching red leather booths. To the left of the booths you’ll find multiple large round wooden tables with cushioned statement chairs and to its right is the bar with about 15 stools for seating. Oriental rugs fill the floor of the dining room, upside down woven baskets fill the ceiling with lights hanging beneath them and red velvet curtains are placed throughout doorways inside.

The restaurant also features a rooftop patio, which is lined on each side with wooden tables, colorful pillows decorating the wall side of each table and lanterns scattered around the space.

Both the brunch and main menu include extensive small plate sections ranging from $7 to $22 per plate. If you’re dining with a group, I would recommend ordering a variety to share, or you can pick out a few that would fill you up if you’re looking for an individual meal.

I started my meal with the labneh with charred pole beans, za’atar and warm flatbread ($10) and had plenty to share with my three friends. Labneh is one of my favorite foods for its tangy yet creamy taste and this one did not disappoint. The Crispy Chicken Briouat ($9) which is phyllo wrapped Turkish-spiced chicken with tomato jam and the kale and arugula salad ($11) with sumac onions, strawberries and manchego cheese were other small plates that caught my eye.

My friends and I ordered off of the brunch menu, which is available from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends. The Tunisian hot chicken sandwich ($12) with yogurt slaw was a popular brunch order at tables around me but  I decided to try the menemen ($9) for a breakfast dish.

Menemen is a classic Turkish dish consisting of eggs, tomato, green peppers, warm spices, cheese and charcuterie meats. At Gypsy Kitchen, the dish is served in a small cast-iron skillet with a base of sautéed tomatoes, heirloom peppers and Turkish tomato sauce. A layer of baked Kefalograviera sheep’s cheese tops that along with a poached egg, a sprinkling of fried onion pieces and chopped chives.

The stewed tomato pepper base was acidic yet smoky with hints of warm spices like paprika and floral notes from the sumac spice. The sheep’s cheese was broiled on top to make a crispy bubbly layer and added a funky and rich element. And after I punctured the poached egg, the runny yolk was a moist, rich component that unified the dish.

I wasn’t in the mood for dessert when I visited, but next time I’ll be sure to taste the banana semifreddo ($9) with sherry roasted dates, crispy phyllo and walnut dust from the sweets menu.

Both the brunch and main menu offer cocktails like the ‘Primavera Botanica’ ($13) with manzanilla, st. germain, bergamot and cava or the ‘Can I Kick It?’ ($13) with vodka, lychee, passionfruit and butterfly pea flower to start off your meal.

For a relaxing bohemian ambiance and a menu featuring a wide range of choices, check out Gypsy Kitchen on 14th Street.

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