Mezè, Adams Morgan

Tuesday nights are your night to dine at Mezè – bottles of wine are half-price.  You will not go wrong with a peppy little bottle of 2009 Angora Sultana de Denzili ($16 on Tuesdays, normally $32). The sultana grape is indigenous to Turkey (among other countries), and is cultivated in the United States as – hold onto your hats – Thompson Seedless. At $32, this wine would be too expensive; at $16 it’s just fine, and actually has more balanced acidity than a Lauverjat Sancerre I tried shortly afterwards.

There are a dozen entries on the menu marked vegan, so I thought I’d have a go at it.  Patlican Ezme ($5.95) was the weakest link, although it sounded good: grilled eggplants, onions, green peppers, and tomatoes seasoned with garlic and olive oil.  More of a diced salad than a spread (which makes sense), I was yearning to put some on the wonderful, warm piece of homemade bread that came with dinner, but ended up alternating bites.

The Dolma ($4.95) were way better than the norm, although they needed to be eaten manually or else they’d crumble. Grape leaves stuffed with caramelized onions (!), rice, pine nuts, and most importantly, “cooked on gentle fire.” I could have happily made a meal of these.

But Mercimek Köfte ($4.95) was their equal. I don’t make a habit of getting thrilled about lentil cakes, but these were really good, the lentils cut with bulgur, onions, and parsley, and the little cakes hand-formed into a size similar to the dolma. This is served with a yogurt dipping sauce (*), so technically the dish isn’t vegan in toto.

A bottle of wine and three meze, and the total was $31.85 before tax and tip – not bad. Mezè is open until 1:30 AM (2:30 AM on weekends) and serves a late-night menu (listed on their website) after 10 PM.

(*) And yes I did.

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