This blog has a history with the folks over at Cava Mezze. You might remember THIS. It was followed by THIS. Needless to say, Cava Ted probably wasn't planning on sending Brad Kanus a Christmas card this year. And I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a staff bounty for giving me a wedgie or a swirlie if I ever dared to darken their doorway. Thank God nobody knows what I look like.
The most important part of all that was written about Cava Mezze on this blog before was the fact that no matter what I thought of the place, my wife would be the one making the decision whether or not we'd go eat there. She loves the place - as I stated. We went last Saturday. So there... My reviews mean shit in the grand scheme of things.
The wife was craving a couple of their dishes and insisted that we head there early during the Clarendon Baby Hour (Saturday and Sunday before 6:00 p.m. - same as Clarendon Octogenarian Hour) for some eats and drinks. I told her that I hadn't been in a donnybrook in ages and didn't yearn to break that streak today. Then I remembered that she doesn't read my blog and therefore has no idea why the staff at Cava Mezze would want to tenderize me with their fists. So I dropped my opposition to the idea and pouted about the wasted use of "donnybrook" on a conversation that went nowhere.
We arrived with the Snot Machine and were guided to a back patio area that couldn't have been better suited for dining with a toddler. It's a shaded and roomy almost completely enclosed courtyard. Great for any time of the day dining and even better for private events. Do check it out.
Things were looking surprisingly good since I gauged from where we were sitting that the kid would have to throw food items pretty far to bother other people and that acoustics were favorable to dampening her random brain shattering screams. For once daddy needed a drink in celebration of going out to dinner with the Snot Machine, not to cope with going out to dinner with the Snot Machine.
With menus in hand we were immediately greeted by Adam Levine. Okay, not the Adam Levine, but a guy who looked just like him, but better looking. Adam Levine if he had decent biceps and a notepad... I'm secure in with my masculinity - I don't mind admitting that even I thought the guy was better than average looking. Should I have given him my number? No, but neither should my wife have either! Just kidding - I'm not gay and I didn't give him my number... Not sure if my wife did or not - she paid and it took a long time to sign her name (how long does it take to sign "Janis Kanus?")
(Just a note to men out there: Adam Levine is that guy who sings most of those annoying pop songs you hate and the guy your girlfriend/wife thinks of when you are engaged in sexual congress.)
We'll call the waiter "Cava Levine" because I didn't catch his name - I was too busy admiring his perfectly scruffy, but precisely arranged beard. At this point it didn't really matter what the food was like for my wife. Cave Levine could bring my wife a plate of worms covered in spiders and she'd love it - because Cava Levine brought it.
Cava Levine is a very effective tool for separating women from their money without them noticing. It think they know it too because they kept seating giggling groups of girls on the back patio where Cava Levine was working. Had Cava Levine had a guitar and a talent for John Mayer knock-offs - bras and panties would have been flying (no, not mine assholes). Do go just to see Cava Levine - the most beautiful man in Clarendon.
Now to the food.
If you read the other reviews, you'll know that I hate Mezze/Tapas/Midget Appetizers for a myriad of reasons, but the biggest being the requirement that you share your food. I did not become a disgusting fatass by sharing my food. Mezze is against my food outlook on food - MINE! I WILL BITE YOU IF YOU TOUCH IT!
The atmosphere on the patio helped me relax and try to open my mind a little. Besides, it was the day before Father's Day - if I dropped $300 on what I wanted to eat, nobody (my wife) was in a position to complain. I'm 20 percent sure I'm that baby's father and I'm entitled to one day a year of being an asshole without recourse.
My wife's biggest craving - and the reason we ended up there - was for a dish not even touched by fire. A cold dish. What I thought would be a dull dish.
You see, I don't always eat Tapas, but when I do - it's hot meat of some kind. Salsa is not food - it doesn't even count as an appetizer, or against your Weight Watchers points. Ditto for chopped up olives or other oily vegetable nominally placed in front of you to chew on while you decide how you're going to get your eat on! That sentence is an indication I was trying way too hard there. Please disregard the entire effort.
I was wrong about this dish. It's called "Crazy Feta" and it comes with little straight jacket-shaped pita bread and is arranged on the plate to resemble Charles Manson. Just kidding! Or am I?
The Crazy Feta is quite simple, but tastes like how dating Cava Levine would feel - amazing. It's aged barrel feta with jalapeno whipped together to make the best "dip and chat" cold appetizer I've ever had. It's good - really really good. The feta is salty, creamy and shows signs of it's brine - it's good feta, not the shit Giant sells. That salty creamy texture is livened with bits of stout jalapenos and cream. Hot, salty, tangy and hard to stop eating. Oh, and let me be clear - it's actually hot. It's not some wimpy little dish with pantywaist peppers meant to give people a false confidence in their ability to ingest spicy food. It's actually hot enough to make it enjoyable. There are three ingredients in this masterpiece and you'll recognize them all in every bite - exactly how it should be. If you happen to be sitting at the bar just for drinks - do yourself a favor and spend the $7 on this plate.
While we snacked on the Crazy Feta we ordered alcohol. I'm not going to get into the drinks thing because it's a pretty simple thing to get right. Their wine list covers the taste and price point of their clientele. Their beer selection is on par with most every other place in Clarendon. I ordered beer and a bottle of wine because that's how I roll. In fact, I ordered like five beers and we downed two bottles of wine and sold our kid to a meth addict for $20 and a bottle of Thunderbird. Only part of that sentence is true - you decide. No matter the truth - the price was right for what we consumed and we were satisfied.
In a strategy that could have only been aimed at seeing Cava Levine as frequently as possible, my wife ordered the next few dishes one at a time. I didn't mind, the kid and I were completely engrossed in a newly released Dora the Explorer episode on my iPhone - the delay would allow us to finish the episode and discuss the different plot lines we would have taken.
First came the orzo because we wanted the kid to share in the feast. Perfectly cooked, spiced strategically so that it's more than just pasta impersonating rice and absolutely a great partner to the Crazy Feta. Yes, the baby liked it too.
Then came the Braised Lamb Shank in a tomato risotto. My wife happens to be a lamb connoisseur and she loved it. I loved it. The kid never got a chance to love it. We inhaled that plate like we were being timed. The lamb was so tender it was hard to tell it texture wise from the risotto. I don't have to go into further detail - simply order it and enjoy it.
And that's all I can reliably remembers given this has taken so long to write... shit. I know we ate some other stuff and we loved it, but I can't really recall everything and I don't want to lie to you. I tried to ask my wife, but she reminded that I'm only allowed to ask her questions on Thursdays (don't ask). So that's it. That's all I have. Sorry if this isn't the traditional way of ending a restaurant review, but what did you expect from me?
Hot guys, spicy cheese, lamb and orzo - it's all at Cava Mezze in Clarendon. Go there when you get a chance and avoid anything "on the rocks" they charge for ice.
Check them out http://cavamezze.com/locations/clarendon.