- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A recent addition to the wave of trendy restaurants on Annapolis’ inner West Street is Kyma, a hip meeting place as well as a spot to experiment with some of the city’s newest food offerings.

Kyma (pronounced kee-ma) offers modern versions of classic Greek and Spanish cuisine.

The menu is made up of tapas and mezzes — small plates — and are creations of executive chef Jose Picazo, formerly a chef at the District’s Jaleo and Kyma’s sister restaurant, Mie N Yu in Georgetown.

Kyma opened on July 5 and touts an extensive wine list that features 90 bottles and 24 wines by the glass. The list is represented by vineyards of Greece, Spain and the United States.

Since cocktails appear to be making a comeback, Kyma is ahead of the curve with a menu offering more than a dozen signature drinks. The Mediterranean Martini ($13) is a smooth, not-too-sweet concoction of Three Olives citrus vodka, Alize and white cranberry juice. For fun, there’s a gummy fish “swimming” in the blue beverage.

There are also the Mo-Jo-Jito, a fun twist on the popular mojito that features Captain Morgan passion fruit rum, mint and fresh juices, or the Queen Sofia, with ouzo, Hidalgo cream Napoleon sherry, Cointreau and fresh juices.

The Greek-Spanish restaurant is a partnership between the owners of Mie N Yu and the Sfakiyanudis family of Annapolis.

The restaurant, in a 200-year-old building, is another addition to the renaissance of the inner West Street area. “We opened six months later than anticipated because we wanted to make sure we did everything the best possible way,” said General Manager Victoria Caplick.

Kyma’s design was created by award-winning architects Theodore Adamstein and Olvia Demetriou. It was the first Annapolis venture for the team, which has designed a number of the District’s restaurants, including Zaytinya, Zola and Bistro Bis.

The look and colors of the interior are very nautical — something as appropriate to Annapolis as it is to the Mediterranean.

White and blue tiled walls are backlit with etched panels against rich dark woods along with exposed brick walls.

There is an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven.

Dark wood floors adorn the first and second floor. Each floor features a tapas bar, with a large lounge on the second floor.

We were told that for dinner the kitchen recommends ordering at least three small plates per person.

Greek-style shrimp ($7.75) are delivered with tomatoes confit, barrel-aged feta and parsley. Seasoning will make or break a shrimp dish, and this was definitely a winner. Traditional flavors paired with expertly cooked shrimp were key. The tomato added depth, and the feta a tart contrast.

Mini chorizos ($6) rest atop small dollops of mashed potatoes with olive oil and a garlic sauce. Since done in miniature, there was plenty of the crispy casing to heighten the eating experience. These sausages probably could be classified as a “sweet” style, because the chorizo had the wonderful characteristic paprika flavor but was not fiery like versions served elsewhere. The garlic really dominated the flavor of the potatoes, which provided a nice flavor and texture contrast.

Grilled sirloin ($9) was served in three small slices with mushroom sauce and a button skewer. The beef was ordered medium rare and arrived that way. The richness of the mushroom sauce went well with the tender meat.

Octopus and olive oil ($6.50) is paired with a thin slice of potato with paprika to replicate a traditional main dish. While it is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine, I can see why it hasn’t really caught on in America: The octopus was quite chewy. The flavor was nice, like a sturdy fish steak, but not appealing enough to overcome the texture.

Spanish cannelloni ($7.25) is made with pork, beef, foie gras, bechamel and Manchego, Spain’s most famous cheese. This dish definitely focuses on the richness of the ingredients. The filling is only very lightly spiced, which allows the actual flavor of the foie gras to shine through. The bechamel also relies not on spices but on the buttery richness of the Spanish cheese.

Marinated rabbit stew ($6.50) is plated with vegetables, dried fruit and red wine. The wine and fruit really add a depth and richness to this dish, which features meaty chunks of tender rabbit. A small wedge of bread to sop up the flavorful broth would have been appreciated.

Individual Mediterranean-style pizzas are called pides. The Athenas ($6) featured tomatoes, Greek meatballs, eggplant and feta. Because these pizzas aren’t smothered with sauce the way most American versions are, the individual flavors of the toppings really come through. The feta was wonderfully tart and the meatballs were seasoned to perfection. The thin bread adds a nice crunch, and isn’t too doughy or filling.

Desserts are true to the Mediterranean cuisine, there wasn’t chocolate anything on the menu. The traditional Spanish flan ($5) was rich and creamy in both flavor and texture, a true treat for the mouth. Balsamic strawberries added a nice contrast. Greek-style yogurt also offered a creamy texture, but this was accentuated with the crunch of caramelized hazelnuts and gooey honey. The wonderful tartness of the yogurt cuts down the sweetness of this decadent dish. Spanish almond cake ($5) features almond ice cream. For something different, there’s a dessert “cocktail” featuring orange sorbet, tequila sauce and grenadine gelatin.

Kyma is open seven days a week.

RESTAURANT: Kyma, 69 West St., Annapolis; 410/268-0003; www.kymarestaurant.com

HOURS: Lunch Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 3 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to midnight

PRICES: Soups/salads $4 to $14, breads/cheeses $2.75 to $8.75, small plates (tapas and mezzes) $5 to $9, large plates $19 to $49, desserts $4 to $5.50


CREDIT CARDS: All major cards

PARKING: Street or nearby garages

ACCESS: Wheelchair accessible

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