The Crest Café offers tasty fare at reasonable prices – the costliest item on the menu is the $9.99 sampler – so this is a popular spot with Capitol staffers, newsies and the K Street rovers. An added inducement: You can polish your linguistic skills. If you can pronounce every item on the menu, you don’t win a prize but you certainly win our respect.
For appetizers, there’s the Baba Ghannouj – sesame tehini and roasted eggplant – at $4.99 and the Tzatziki, sliced cucumber, yogurt and mint, $3.99. Then there’s the Dolmathes – otherwise known as grape leaves stuffed with ground meat – for $4.99.
This is real Greek cooking, so the pocket bread offerings are delicious and varied, and for $2 more you get a big load of rice. There are the Shawarma twins, beef or chicken for $7.99 and $6.99, respectively. The House Chicken and Garlic Chicken, each for $6.99, are spectacular. I’m not a big fan of the Lamb Gyros, $6.99, but I’m definitely in the minority here and others tell me I’m missing out on a treat. Okay, I’ll buy that, but not the Falafel – an unencouraging mishmash of garbanzo beans and tahini sauce – for $4.99. Usually, I’ll eat anything that doesn’t eat me first, but I give falafel a pass whenever I can.
But the Grilled Eggplant, grilled with olives, feta cheese and baba ghannouj, is first rate, as is the Cucumber Fetachicken, grilled chicken topped with tzatziki and served with a side of Greek salad.
The Hummus Pita, a pocket break sandwich with olives, tomatoes and feta cheese, is a bargain at $5.99. This is one of the most popular items at the restaurant.
If you aren’t sure what to order, go with the salads, which all cost $6.99 and are varied and tasty.
There’s the Crest Greek, with house dressing over Greek olives and imported feta cheese, and there’s the Couscous Special, with tomatoes and cucumber topped with saffron couscous and a pungent garlic sauce. The Combination Salad, at $8.25, is the house special. It comes with cucumber, lettuce, assorted spices and a choice of lamb, beef or chicken. For $1.50 more, you can get extra lamb or chicken.
More salads: There are assorted Caesar wraps for Garlic Chicken, Grilled Eggplant, Lamb Gyros and chicken or beef Shawarma. All are $7.99.
There is a selection of Panini for $7.99 each, including The Campagnolos, which is provolone cheese, roasted peppers, grilled chicken and romaine lettuce.
The beverages – soft drinks, iced tea, hot tea, coffee, orange juice and bottled water are all $2, except for Pellegrino, which is $2.25. For dessert, there’s rice pudding and baklava (yummy!) for $3 or less.
1017 K Street
Hours: Mon-Tue, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wed-Thu, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday, Noon – 10 p.m.