Posts Tagged ‘Roti’

In Roti, in order to reach the ordering counter, I needed to walk by a lengthy stretch of menu options on the wall. First, I saw sides like falafel, then salads, kabobs, Mediterranean plates, and sandwiches.

Although there were many doubts in my mind, when I saw the rotisseries, towering shrines of meat, gleaming with juices, I had become enlightened.

The restaurant is influenced by a variety of Mediterranean countries. Venetian Murano glass lamps hang overhead, mounds of Israeli cous-cous rest in hotel pans, and Greek vertical spits line the counter-top. With these contraptions, thick slices of seasoned meat are skewered, methodically stacked, and rotated for even heating. The machine does all of the work because the juices from one slice of meat baste the lower levels.

I ordered the Venetian—fire roasted chicken with hummus, baba ghannoush, cous-cous, and tomato/cucumber salad. My roommate made his own sandwich of Laffa bread (Iraqi pita), chicken, grilled vegetables, sumac onions, lettuce, and tzatziki sauce.

The chicken was well seasoned and, unlike some other eateries, was not kept soaking in sauce. My one complaint is that the meat was not cut off the spit for service. When you are so close to fresh meat on the spit, why give the customer a product that has been sitting in a hotel pan?

The cous-cous was tastefully simple, featuring fresh herbs and to call the cucumber salad a side dish would be an insult to its color and flavor. The hummus was mediocre and the baba ghannoush—maybe it’s just me, but I can’t think of any food that’s meant to be served, gray, mushy, and flavorless.

Roti has good food, but also a few good philosophies, one of which is captured by this French proverb: “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” To be able to create light and nutritious food that is also flavorful, vibrant, and unique is truly an art. Eat lunch out of necessity, but go to Roti out of intelligence.

1747 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, D.C., 20006


Weekday hours: 7am-5pm



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