Saturday, September 21, 2013

Roti Mediterranean Grill Food Review

Don't ask me how; but I'd never been to Roti Mediterranean Grill before yesterday. In fact, I had no idea it was a straight-up sandwich/rice bowl shop. Given its sheer size (downtown at 16th & K Streets, NW) I wrongfully assumed it was a sit-down Italian chain. Oops. New intel in hand, I revelled in delight as I found a new Chipotle-like eatery with Spanish Eggplant as a standard topping (score!)

To be fair, Roti looks like a sit-down restaurant... wide and spacious, with an upscale cafeteria style: It's also brand-new clean, even though it's been open for three years. Kudos to management for literally "keeping up appearances." I arrived late in the afternoon (3:30 PM) and almost had the entire space to myself. I received a warm welcome, and lots of information about Roti's awesome toppings: Always tell someone when it's your first time. I placed an order for a Chicken Roti (Naturally raised FreeBird Chicken) pita sandwich for $6.95. Click here to see their full menu.

Chicken Roti Sandwich

Cashier 3 took care of me from start to finish, loading my sandwich with Cous-Cous, Tomato & Cucumber and the aforementioned Spanish Eggplant... with a generous dash of Roasted Red Pepper sauce for good measure. Cue drooling. I added a fountain drink ($1.95) and two Chocolate Chip cookies ($1.50) to round out my meal. $11.44 total, including tax. Great service: Would it be matched by great food?

The answer is a resounding yes. Roti's toppings are all top-quality, resulting in a delicious sandwich. I'm tempted to try their falafel next time (it's also available as a 3-piece nosh for $2.25) but their chicken was mighty tasty this go around. The mix of eggplant, red pepper sauce and salsa is pure perfection... and an obvious new favorite of mine. Portions are better than most, and the atmosphere (see below) couldn't be better. I suppose it didn't hurt, that I had to share it with just two other people: Trust me, this place "packs 'em in" at lunchtime.

Great interior

Add Roti to my mix of standout fast casual options. With high-quality, low-cost alternatives like this, why would anyone ever go upscale again?

Outdoor dining