Kapnos (DC)

Last week, I talked a little about how I spent some time working in a Greek/Italian restaurant in college. I talked about the pizza there, but the owners of the place were actually Greek. I got most my learning about cooking in that kitchen from a tiny Greek woman named Irene. She taught me all about the general flavor profiles, some standard dishes, and how to pronounce the ridiculously long, but actually fairly phonetic words. I started at the Bistro just a few months after they opened and was with them for their first few years, so they became like family to me. Greek food is sometimes my comfort food.

I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am quite the Top Chef fan (go figure, I just love food). So, I always take special notice of any and all Top Chef activity in the District. So, when Mike Isabella opened a greek place, it went on the list. It got bumped down a little bit for being small plates, but it was still a must try. After bouncing around at least 10 different places and looking at countless menus, we settled on Kapnos for a rare Sunday brunch.

My first impression when we walked in was that is was LOUD. I had a bit of a headache, so I started off a little irritated. I noticed that we were seated really close to a bridal party who has clearly gone bottomless. I almost asked to be moved, but we sat down, I got some coffee, and it ended up being alright save for the occasional burst of cackling. I all but forgot about the noise level once they brought our Tzatziki spread. I make a mean tzatziki myself, but this was amazing. There was fresh dill and like a citrus (maybe grapefruit and orange?) zest on top. The stone oven bread it was served with was the perfect amount of fluffy. We ran out of bread, but I kept the rest to eat with my entrée. I ordered the Spit Chicken and Waffle and she ordered the Greek Coffee Waffle. The spit chicken was delicious. Nice, crispy, flavorful skin, juicy chicken. The waffles were nice and crispy and held up to the syrup well. There was also toasted quinoa and rice sprinkled over the top of everything. Oh, and the chicken didn’t need the tzatziki, but tasted really good with it. The lady’s waffles were much softer and less crunchy, but deliciously coffee-y. They were served with cinnamon butter and whipped cream. I had a couple of bites and want to figure out how to make coffee waffles at home. Such an awesome idea I never would have had myself.

Tzatziki

Tzatziki Spread

Greek Coffee Waffles

Greek Coffee Waffle

Spit Chicken and Waffle

Spit Chicken and Waffle

We’ve now officially had waffles from two DC-based Top Chef contestants. Your move, Spike. Waffle burger? Waffle pizza? Steak and waffles with bernaise? Call me when you decide.

  • Favorite thing I had: Everything I had. The spit chicken and waffles. The tzatziki with the stone oven bread.
  • Favorite thing she had: The greek coffee waffles. Basically dessert for brunch.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The baklava french toast (I’m so curious about what that’s even like) But really, all of it. I really dislike the small plates concept, but I think I have to go back for dinner. And we’ll definitely be back for brunch. Damn you, Mike Isabella! Making irresistibly delicious food in a small plates concept.
  • What makes this place stand out: The open kitchen area with giant spits and rotisseries. I was sitting with my back to this but kept turning around to check it out. It’s also one of the few upscale-ish greek places I’ve been to. Most are more… cozy. Dare I say, tacky?
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I’m not going to be able to stay away from that brunch for long. There are so many places on our list, but as soon as we were done here, I wanted to do it all over again. I’d go back tomorrow if I could.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We wandered over to Smucker’s Farms shop across the street. Then hopped in the car and tried to go up 11th street to hang out at The Coupe or Room 11 or something. Being that it was prime brunch time, everything was packed. You could just go do your grocery shopping at the new Trader Joes a few blocks down 14th.
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