I am not sure why the Fourth of July, a holiday about independence, also came to be about backyard barbecues. Many Americans spend the day consuming mass quantities of hot dogs, baked beans, barbecue chicken, and strawberry shortcake. Since the theme is freedom, this year we decide to take the meaning in another direction and go out for Greek food.
Trapezaria, in the heart of Rockville Town Center, is a popular Montgomery County destination. While there have been positive reviews in The Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine, word of mouth among my friends is mixed. One friend tells me she has a decent meal at Trapezaria, but warm and attentive service fuels her enthusiasm for the restaurant. Another friend tells me the opposite- great food and spotty service. It’s time to form my own opinion.
I suspect the restaurant will be quiet on July 4, and this is indeed the case. I breathe a sign of relief when food can be the focus, rather than decibel level distractions.
The sea blue interior of Trapezaria lulls me into vacation mode. I am not alone. Todd Kliman in his Washingtonian review says: “Trapezaria is nearly as transportive as a ticket to Athens. ”
Our first taste is stuffed grape leaves with rice, herbs, pine nuts, olive oil and lemon, served with tzatziki. The dish should be accompanied by a Mediterranean breeze.
Iman Baldi is a “House Specialty” of baked eggplant topped with caramelized onions, tomato, mint, parsley, golden raisins, and pine nuts. It is sweet, luscious, and mandatory for a return visit.
Garides Tourkolimano translates to sautéed shrimp in white wine, baked in tomato sauce and topped with feta cheese. The dish is far from fussy, but the ingredients speak for themselves. The shrimp are expertly prepared, floating in a slightly tangy sauce, with a perfectly portioned dusting of feta. The eggplant is not the only dish I imagine ordering on future visits.
The downside of large portions? No room for dessert. We skip it on this visit, but now have something else to add to the list of musts for a return.
It’s hard to judge service on a slow night. Our waiter is attentive, but not overbearing. I stop to chat with Christos Vellios, the floor manager, on the way out. When I compliment him on the food, he smiles broadly and exclaims how proud he is of the positive reviews from local critics. I don’t let on that I have a blog, and am about to add to the public praise.
We finish our meal just in time to catch a glimpse of fireworks. They are fun to watch, but we prefer the sizzle that has been served up by the team at Trapezaria.
Washington Post review by Tom Sietsema: “Trapezaria brings real Greek food to the table”
Washingtonian review by Todd Kliman: “Greek Rush: Trapezaria”
Trapezaria, 11 North Washington Street, Rockville