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A lot of thought has been put into Cava Grill, the first of what is planned to be a chain of “fast-casual” restaurants from Cava Mezze. Its Bethesda location uses, according to an opening press release, reclaimed wood for all interior millwork, and disposable items like bowls, cutlery, cups, napkins, and bags that can be composted.
But what about the food? In a Don Rockwell thread, Cava business partner Brett Schulman responded to a question about its lamb preparation:
We braise the lamb fresh every day for about 3-4 hours in batches (on the stove top in a pot with bay leaves, onions etc) to soften the meat. If we straight grill the leg of lamb, it can sometimes come out a bit “tough” if not completely trimmed (and we like to keep some fat on it for flavor). We then finish on the grill and chop it right off the grill onto the line. Dimtiri wanted to keep some of the souvlaki elements the guys grew up on, hence the grill step at the end as opposed to a straight, long braise (like some of the dishes at our full service restaurants). We tested a number of preparations in this service format and found this combination to give the best results in consistency of flavor and juiciness.
Will that attention detail form the foundation of a national chain? Seems like a good start, for sure.
More early impressions of Cava Grill here and here. [DonRocks, Washingtonian, TBD]