Monday, February 9, 2015

Café Divan (Carry-Out) Food Review

Döner Kebab Sandwich

It's difficult to miss Café Divan. Its unique shape (Georgetown's pint-sized version of NYC's Flatiron Building) certainly grabs your attention; and its authentic Turkish cuisine keeps you coming back for more. I've enjoyed a couple of good dinners there; but this time, I decided to visit their Carry-Out niche for a quick lunch. Have standards slipped? A little, but thankfully their sandwiches still rock.

As you might expect, eating in the main dining room is a lot more luxurious. Divan's Carry-Out is small and far from spectacular. There's a big menu against the wall, a small counter to place orders and a couple of tables with stools by the window. Service is suspect at best (far from friendly) but most orders are likely to-go; so you can't expect too much. Or can you? I visited after 2:00 in the afternoon (I was the only person in Carry-Out; and there were just two people in the restaurant next door) so it's not like I caught them in the middle of a lunch rush. I placed an order for a Döner Kebab Sandwich ($8) with French Fries (an additional $2.75) and a soda. Grand total? $14 even. The order taker's energy level? Low. Really low.

French Fries

The tables are small, yet afford a nice view of Wisconsin Avenue (facing the Social Safeway.) Unfortunately, my table was right next to a refrigerator full of bottled drinks and cans of soda. Servers opened/closed it three different times; but not once, did they say excuse me, etc. Details, details. I had to wait about 10 minutes; until I heard my order announced (in broken English.) It was left on the counter, without a drink. Would it kill them to bring it to my table? I waited a few moments, until the manager came back. I asked him for my fountain drink (which wasn't left on the counter) and he instructed me to grab a can of soda instead. So far, customer service left a lot to be desired.

Fries were relatively bland, and of the frozen variety. On the positive side, they were crispy and free of oil. Also free of seasoning; but the salt and pepper shakers on my table looked sorta nasty, so I decided to skip adding any. The sandwich, on the other hand was amazing. Nestled inside a crisp, flaky pita pocket, it was full of beautifully marinated (and thinly-sliced) lamb and veal with two pickle spears on top. There was also lettuce, a pair of tomato chunks and a single green pepper. Each bite tasted better than the next; and I was tempted to add it to our list of Top 5 Best Sandwiches, but ultimately couldn't overlook the customer service negatives.

As stated earlier, I've enjoyed previous visits to Café Divan. Even the Carry-Out area has its pluses: There's nice background music (Turkish, of course) and the individual restroom is clean & tidy. A lukewarm greeting and no good-bye (with miscues along the way) spoke volumes... sadly enough to drown out a terrific sandwich.