photos by Dakota Fine
You really can’t miss KAPNOS once you arrive to the corner of 14th and W NW. Mike Isabella’s sprawling new Greek restaurant (which officially opens this Friday, July 5th) dominates the block, so much so there are two entrances: one for a bar (and we all know Mike Isabella does a restaurant bar WELL) and one for the main attraction.
168 seats of delicious greek food, alcoholic lemonades on tap and a whole lot of whole animals await inside. Mike, all smiles-and-opening-week-beards is visibly proud. After all, this is the restaurant he’s been hoping to open for a while. After TOP CHEF and Zaytinya, he says, everyone was expecting him to open a Greek place. But, he wanted to do the Greek place right. So, first came Graffiato, with the food he grew up eating, food he feels most comfortable about. Now, two years in, after learning all the lessons and getting the team in fighting shape, they were READY to do Greek right.
Right, in this case means one space with 4 distinct characters:
- the bar is 50 seats deep, and serves a solid mix of classic cocktails, seasonally appropriate twists on classics (there are 3 different alcoholic lemonades and summer-perfect wines on tap) and is bound to be a very popular hang out in its own right
- The dining room is anchored by a room built for food lovers: there is a chef’s table where patrons can observe the comings and goings in the kitchen as their food is being prepared and a 10 person carving table which will focus on a six-course, whole-animal experience (and boasts a $1500 table minimum for food). Designed by streetsense, the entire restaurant looks excellent.
- Straight ahead is the slightly more-private dining room, tucked in a little away from the hustle and bustle of 14th street, but still with a view of the kitchen.
- Should you want to be seen though, there is a more exposed dining area right off of W Street, where the patrons can enjoy their food with a side of great people watching. In early Fall, a patio is coming too.
Gorgeous decor and location aside, the food is the main attraction here. At all times, Isabella and team will have whole animals turning in the kitchen, but as is tradition with all good Greek places, Mike is fast to point out that 60% of the menu is vegetarian and 90% of it is gluten-free.
On the menu, expect: a plethora of greek spreads, garden and vegetable mezzes, as well as two different phyllo pies (roasted duck and potato) and a salt baked 2lb whole fish, which you’d have to order 24 hours in advance, plus a rotating menu of Greek classics depending on the day of the week.
The dishes we were able to check out featured charred octopus with grapefruit, fennel and cucumber, as well as some truly sparkling salads, all ready-made for your summer enjoyment-bursting with citrus and smokiness. Restaurant opens for dinner THIS FRIDAY, and the orderly line can start right HERE: