Photos by Nicholas Karlin, words by Kaylee Dugan
Eatonville. Mulebone. ShareSpace. 2121 14th St NW has gone through more than a few different phases, but its latest iteration is hopefully here to stay. Moving away from southern inspired food and coworking spaces, Ancient Rivers focuses on Middle Eastern cuisine, drawing predominantly from North Africa, Iraq and Lebanon. Its menu is mainly focused on small plates and fresh drinks with housemade juices, making it a good spot to share a bunch of different dishes with friends without breaking that weird juice cleanse you’re on.
Speaking of juice, these are some of the healthiest tasting cocktails I’ve ever had. Occasionally The Gibson or Dram & Grain will experiment with some smoothie-esque cocktails, but Ancient Rivers is really gunning to be your go to place for fresh squeezed juice with booze. The Garden of Eden is sure to be a favorite. Made with gin, cucumber juice, a housemade honey tarragon syrup and fresh lime juice, it tastes rejuvenating. This is the kind of cocktail you should drink when you’ve had a rough night. It’s not boozy enough to make you nauseous and it’s jam packed with things that feel good for you. If you want to kick the booze factor up a notch, check out the Sahara with rye whiskey, apricot cinnamon syrup, lemon juice and a red wine float.
If you eat meat, don’t leave Ancient Rivers without grabbing an order of the lamb hummus. It’s honestly just a handful of herb ground lamb on top of hummus with some pine nuts thrown in and it’s damn good. The lamb is filled with flavor and the silky hummus is a great combination. Damn I love lamb. The Baba Ganoush is also a good bet. The savory roasted eggplant pairs well with the crunchy sweetness of the pomegranate seeds.
Don’t want to spend your entire meal eating various dips? Grab an order of the Batata Harra, spicy fried potatoes paired with harissa or the cauliflower that has been fried with Middle Eastern spices. They’re both fried, so throw your diet out the window and enjoy.
Ancient Rivers is located at 2121 14th St NW. They’re open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday.