Rachel and I had the opportunity this past weekend to check out Cava Grill, the fast-casual offshoot of the popular Cava Mezze restaurants, scheduled to open this Tuesday in Bethesda Row.
Located in a prime location on Bethesda Avenue, Cava Grill is targeting visitors looking for authentic, freshly-prepared Greek cuisine in a time and budget-conscious setting.
Think of it as a Greek spinoff of Chipotle.
Diners first decide how they want their meal constructed as they have a choice of their food being prepared in a pita, bowl with Basmati rice, three open-faced mini pitas, or a salad.
You then have a selection of dips and spreads to choose from, ranging from tzatziki to hummus to their contagious “Crazy Feta” (feta fused with jalapeno). Patrons can choose as many spreads as they want, although it is recommended to use two at most in order to avoid contesting flavors.
The next step is selecting your protein. Options include chicken, ground sirloin, lamb, Loukaniko (pork sausage), or falafel. All the meats are seasoned and grilled while the falafel is prepared in-house. Cava Grill also offers a veggie option without using any meat or falafel.
After that, you can top off your creation with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, shredded red cabbage, romaine lettuce, and of course, feta cheese.
I ordered a chicken pita with hummus and eggplant & red pepper spread, and then topped it off with shredded cabbage, diced onions, and feta.
I took my first bite as the pita was overflowing with ingredients. While I may have overdone it on the spreads, it was still a very delicious wrap. Everything just tasted so fresh but didn’t leave me feeling full to the point of reaching a food coma like a burrito typically would.
Rachel ordered the minis platter, mixing and matching her lunch with chicken and hummus, falafel and tzatziki, and lamb and Crazy Feta. She felt the minis offered the proper balance of both variety and portion size.
Meanwhile, it’s amazing how fast the space, previously occupied by Organic To Go, has been transformed. Cava Grill installed reclaimed wood which panels the walls and adorns the tabletops, while empty glass bottles are hung from the ceiling. Its modern interior makes the venue appear more upscale yet offers affordable selections.
Cava Grill has also embraced the composting approach used at other eateries such as Sweetgreen. Customers can place all of the restaurant’s disposable items, such as bowl and cutlery, for composting in designated bins.
Overall, we expect Cava Grill to be an instant hit when they open this week. Based on Cava’s already established brand in the area as well as their fast-casual approach, it’s hard not to envision them being slammed during lunch hour from nearby office workers in downtown Bethesda, or with families on the weekends.
Cava Grill is located on 4832 Bethesda Avenue and will open to the public this Tuesday.