7/11/2013 11:11:00 AM

Kapnos From Mike Isabella Fires Up in DC

Photo: Greg Powers
Kapnos, chef/restaurateur Mike Isabella’s latest venture, opened last week on the corner of 14 and W Streets N.W., an area that has seen an explosion of notable new restaurants this year. In a setting that mixes industrial and earthy Macedonian design, Isabella celebrates northern Greece with a menu of mezze and spit-roasted meats. Not surprisingly, given his celebrity and culinary cred, there’s already a hip bar scene.

The Space: Guests are greeted by a long distressed wood bar backed with a colorful bottle display, with communal perches along the window side of the room. The dining area in back wraps around a display kitchen where goats, pigs and chickens roast over open flames. Counter seating by the carving station brings one close to the action. The dining area itself has a mysterious feel with velvet drapes, Moroccan lanterns and deep earth tones.

The Food: Kapnos means “smoke” in Greek, which translates on the menu into use of the wood-burning grill to flavor vegetables and other ingredients in classic mezze, as well as the sharing plates of roasted meats. There are delicate seafood crudos, flatbreads baked in a brick oven and served with appetizing dips, and some classic fish preparations.

The Drinks: Three spiked lemonade punches - enlivened with trendy ingredients like grilled lemon juice, thyme syrup and lemon verbena - are on tap. Housemade sodas and bitters are also featured in the cocktails. The wine list draws heavily, but not exclusively, from Greece.

The Vibe: Expect an upbeat, slightly mysterious and relaxed mood, with a modern soundtrack that sometimes seems to echo haunting gypsy themes.

The Details: 2201 14 St. N.W.; 202-234-5000


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