Almost 16 yrs in the past all-around Thanksgiving, longtime good friends and Washington natives Ted Xenohristos, Ike Grigoropoulos, and chef Dimitri Moshovitis opened their initially Cava Mezze in Rockville. Fast ahead to the existing, and they have four more full-provider dining establishments, as well as a booming quick-everyday empire with 155 shops and counting. On Monday, November 22, they’ll add another location to their portfolio: Melina, a splashy modern-day Greek restaurant, which joins sister eating room Julii in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose enhancement.
Moshovitis identified Melina’s head chef on Instagram. He was scrolling when Aris Tsekouras’s Greek micro-bakery drew his attention—it’d been a pandemic facet-gig for the chef, who formerly worked at Vasili’s Kitchen in Gaithersburg’s Kentlands enhancement and at good-dining places close to Greece. Moshovitis ordered some loaves, tasted them, and hired Tsekouras on the spot. “I fell in love—it reminded me of my childhood,” says Moshovitis, who’s a co-govt chef. “I’d never tasted everything else from this person, but if one thing as simple as bread could deliver me back to that put, I understood he was the right person.”
Diners can start with housemade breads served with a wide variety of dips, spreads, and Greek olive oils, and end a meal with treats like warm Greek doughnuts with herb-infused honey. When brunch launches in the coming months, search for a riff on Jerusalem bagels—a well known avenue snack in Greece—with whipped spread and trout roe.
The group took comprehensive trips to study their household roots in Greece, which knowledgeable the modern day design of cooking at Melina. “You see how Greek cooking has progressed and modernized in a superior way,” Moshovitis claims. “Some purists might say Greek meals is Greek foodstuff and you can not contact it, but it can be hip and also hold its traditions.”
On Melina’s menu, that translates to a bounty of vegetable mezze—since vegetables are the hippest these days—often performed up in whimsical strategies. Roasted beets are delivered in a pot with yogurt and pickled blackberries, then lined in a “soil” of smoked walnuts and carob. Fried potatoes and eggs—a favourite childhood snack in Greece—is reimagined with crispy fingerlings, tzatziki, feta product, and fixed egg yolk.
That’s not to say meat and seafood really don’t discover their way to the table. Diners can dig into hearty entrees like a slow-roasted lamb neck in parchment served with homemade sourdough pita, herb-onion salad, crispy potatoes, and mint tzatziki (you can vogue very little sandwiches). Or shrimp saganaki reimagined as a creamy tomato-feta pasta. To match: Greek wines and cocktails that choose cues from the kitchen, this sort of as Greek gin blended with an organic mountain tea and herb-infused honey syrup.
You may know the staff as “the Cava guys,” but Melina pays homage to the females in their life. The ethereal 80-seat restaurant is named right after Moshovitis’s 12-year aged daughter. Blue tiling, white cushions, lush plantings, and a Koroneiki olive tree in the center of the restaurant are meant to conjure a additional feminine aesthetic than the dark woods and moody lighting of Cava Mezze. Appear spring, significant sliding home windows will create an indoor/outdoor feel with a massive patio and bar that is 50 percent inside of, fifty percent al fresco.
“When you search at myself, Ted, and Ike, our mothers ended up so critical,” states Moshovitis, who grew up around Gaithersburg. “The route we took was mainly because of that delicious foods and household. We want to rejoice that.”
Melina. 905 Rose Ave., North Bethesda (at Pike & Rose)