Pasha in the Press

   

    Pasha Mezze perfect for nibbling this & that

      Virginian Pilot, posted on: 4/30/2009

      by Judy Cowling

 

 

You might say I eat like a horse, but that would be in terms of manner, not quantity. I like to take my time and graze, relishing the flavors. Nibbling a bit of this and that … resting … then nibbling some more. Pasha Mezze is the perfect place for that.

Pasha is the Turkish word for Lord, and Mezze is a selection of appetizers or small dishes, much like the word tapas. Loosely translated – Lord of Appetizers. On a recent Thursday night, two fellow grazers and I leisurely discovered our new favorite pasture.

The interior is warm and stylish, with its uptown brick walls accented by expanses of terra cotta and cinnamon and colorful Turkish upholstery on the comfy banquets. Pasha by day is bright and airy, thanks to an abundance of plate glass windows. Nighttime transforms Pasha into a romantic jewel box with flickering candles and soft music.

 

Our friendly waitress, Regan, talked us through the unfamiliar terms on the menu and guided us to Pasha’s Signature Sampler ($14) with crispy homemade bread. The muhammarah – homemade organic red pepper paste combined with walnuts, spices and extra virgin olive oil – was to die for and disappeared way too fast. The red lentil pate was our least favorite as it has the consistency and blandness of refried beans. The hummus was the best we had ever tasted. It was a silky smooth and light puree of chickpeas, tahini, spices and olive oil. The fried zucchini cheese puffs were crispy and moist. The sirkonto zucchini was not as interesting as the others as it was merely an oily slice of zucchini with an almond on top.

We also ordered the Salad Sampler ($14) and got to choose five from a list of 12 meats, grains and vegetables. We opted for the chicken curry salad (all I can say is wow), the smoked salmon (perfect), the grilled chicken (moist and slightly smoky slices of heaven), the tabouli (divine) and the kale salad (tasty greens to pair with the other proteins).

We tried to order the cheese tray, but they were out of some of its items. We opted for the slow-cooked tender lamb chunks ($9.90) . The lamb and its accompanying jasmine-orzo rice was moist and flavorful, but we would have liked a dab of mint jelly .

They offer a varied wine and spirits menu, but we chose to enjoy our meal with the Turkish tea ($2), a fragrant, warm tea served in a little hourglass with a container of organic agave nectar .

We decided to have our desserts under the stars out on the patio. We shared the rice pudding ($5) and the lemon cake ($5) and found them delicate and delectable.

We decided that small portions of delicious foods, enjoyed unhurriedly among friends, is the only way to go. Pasha rocks my grazing world. (If you are a fan of Internet-friendly coffee shops, try the Pasha Coffeehouse with homemade pastries and organic coffees. It’s a hidden gem of a place to work on your laptop, put together a puzzle over a Turkish coffee with friends or sit outside and watch the clouds roll by.)