The Grub spouse and I experienced an amazing twist of luck last week. I had intended to review Azul Tequila Mexican Grill in Farragut, but for some bizarre reason I navigated us to Dos Agaves in Turkey Creek (I was confused by my memory of the old Agave Azul restaurant in Western Plaza). However, upon our arrival in Dos Agaves I realized I had already crossed this place off my list. Then when I tried to redirect us to Azul Tequila, I was told it was permanently closed.
Luckily, on our way to Dos Agaves, The Spouse had noticed a new store called CAVA, also in Turkey Creek, in the former space of Zoë’s Kitchen, just a minute or two from our location. Even better, we found out that CAVA serves Mediterranean cuisine, one of our favorites. It couldn’t have gone better.
Inside, the decor looks very similar to when Zoës was in the house, but the concept and menu are different (although both chains offer/offer fresh and healthy food that’s customizable).
One option is to go with one of CAVA’s curated pitas, or bowls. The Crispy Falafel Pita, for example, features the fried chickpeas in a breadbag, along with roasted eggplant, cucumber, coleslaw, tomato, onion, and skhug garlic dressings. The Harissa Avocado Bowl features Harissa Honey Chicken, Crazy Feta (description below), hummus, feta, avocado, fire roasted corn, Persian cucumber, pickled onions, basmati rice, SuperGreens, and spicy harissa vinaigrette dressing.
You can also create your own pita or bowl entree. Start with a base, which can be any number of veggies, grains, or RightRice (for a bowl), or a pita or mini pita bowl for a pocket meal. From there, you can order up to three of their six dips and spreads, a protein (falafel, grilled chicken, braised lamb, and more), toppings like avocado, Kalamata olives, and lentil tabbouleh, and one of eight dressings (Greek vinaigrette, Tahini Caesar , yoghurt dill and more).
Spouse and I both went with signature dishes. I ordered the Spicy Lamb Meatball Pita ($12.17) with meatballs plus hummus, tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, coleslaw, pickles, and skhug garlic dressings. Spouse got the Chicken & RightRice Bowl ($10.77) consisting of grilled chicken, tzatziki, hummus, tomatoes, onions, Persian cucumber, pickled onions, arugula, Greek vinaigrette and RightRice (a rice alternative made with a mixture of lentils, chickpeas , green peas and traditional rice).
We also opted for a side of pita chips and Crazy Feta ($3.95), a signature creation made from imported Greek feta cheese, infused with extra virgin olive oil, jalapeño peppers, and onions. Although we’ve shared all of their unique beverage selections, CAVA stocks a variety of fresh, seasonal juices, teas, and sodas (including the Maine Root brand) available both in bottles and at the beverage fountain.
Our order was prepared while we waited in line. CAVA had recently opened so the staff were still assembling orders based on recipe cards, but the staff we interacted with did a great job answering our product questions and processing our orders in a timely manner.
I have to admit that I was cautiously optimistic about CAVA’s cuisine based on the menu descriptions alone, but the food itself confirmed my suspicions and then some. Everything was amazing starting with the pita chips and crazy feta. The bread was warm and soft in the middle and slightly crunchy on the outside. The dip had that signature feta twang and a subtle zest from the jalapeño.
My lamb meatball pita was phenomenal. The warm and tangy flavor of the lamb remained a constant, but was complemented by a diverse contingent of tasty, wholesome ingredients, including the abundance of chopped veggies and the distinctive kick of the skhug sauce (traditionally made with chili peppers, coriander and spices). . The sauce tended to slowly drip off the bottom of my pita, but its outer covering helped me maintain some control over this tasty mess.
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The spouse’s chicken and RightRice bowl were equally enjoyable. This was a case of protein, greens, veggies, sauces and grains working together to deliver a meal that was satisfying in every way.
We had eaten at Zoës Kitchen many times because it served delicious healthy meals at a reasonable price. CAVA checks the same boxes and goes one step further. I will always be a regular at Yassin’s Falafel House and I’ve even added Naf Naf Grill to my regular rotation, but IMO CAVA offers a much wider range of ingredients and dishes.
The bottom line: If you like this kind of cuisine, definitely give CAVA a try. If you’re like me, you might find yourself juggling more Mediterranean cuisine restaurants than your schedule might allow.
The atmosphere: 3.75
In total: 4.25
Address: 11378 Parkside Drive, Suite 2510
No alcohol service
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m
This new purveyor of Mediterranean cuisine in Turkey Creek ticks all the boxes when it comes to serving delicious and healthy food at affordable prices.