In March, I bopped over to Fifth and Massachusetts for a patio brunch before the Nationals v. Braves game. The location of choice was Tel’veh, a Turkish restaurant that’s less than a year old with a killer patio.
I find the neighborhood to be a bit too filled with massive apartment developments and high rises to be of my liking. But, I bet the rent is affordable and you get a lot of bang for your buck. And while it’s no surprise that Buddha Bar was unable to survive, local restaurant Sixth Engine is thriving (and has a great brunch).
Tel’veh is a welcome addition to the neighborhood; I’m sure, as there were plenty of groups of young professionals enjoying bottomless mimosa on the patio.
As for me, I was thrilled to be sitting on the patio under an enormous umbrella on one of those glorious first days of spring.
We started with waters and OJs, and I ordered an espresso. The menu has Turkish and traditional style brunch items, and bottomless mimosas or Bloodys will run you a mere $13.
However, the Espresso machine was broken, so I was brought a Turkish coffee instead. The little shot of dark caffeine was served in a charming Turkish teacup. The coffee was quite good, which leads me to believe you need a machine to make it, as when I tried to make Turkish coffee with what I brought back from Istanbul it was really really bad.
The mezze platter, which is prototypical Turkish and available at all meals at Tel’veh, was the best part of brunch. The dips were hummus, cacik (a yogurt cucumber dip), and htipiti (a red pepper feta dip). I’ve sampled them all multiple times (in Istanbul and in Turkish restaurants), and can vouch for the dips being authentic, fresh, and delicious.
The platter with rustic bread rather than pita, which I not only prefer but I know is authentically Turkish based on my visit to the region.
I opted for my brunch staple, the crab cake Eggs Benedict. The eggs were poached more solidly, just like I like and requested them. The English muffin was good, normal, and properly toasted. But, the crab cake was just so-so. It was good, but it had a lot of filler and you could tell it wasn’t the most fresh or most high-quality of crab cakes out there.
My brunch companion, a handsome strapping young gentlemen, ordered the grilled chicken, served with fried eggs, spinach, and a cucumber yogurt sauce. The dish looked fresh, healthy and delicious, but he complained that the chicken was dry.
We concluded with the chocolate hazelnut crepe, which is served divided into three and perfect for sharing for dessert. As for the dish, the Nutella was of course decadent and delicious, the strawberries were fresh and there were even hazelnuts as a garnish. However, they definitely used Hershey’s syrup as chocolate cause on the plate. While mostly for decoration, I find this very gauche.
As for the service, why is service always so much slower on the patio? Is it just merely that it’s farther away from the kitchen? I swear, I’ve never had great service on a patio, ever. Obviously, I’m more likely to stay awhile, and less likely to complain about the speed of service. (Full disclosure: Tel’veh invited us in, so this brunch was on them).
The Bitches say: B. A great patio and a killer brunch deal with reliable brunch food with a Turkish flair. Definitely a great neighborhood staple and good for large patio parties.
401 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Tel’veh serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.