There has been a trend in the last few years of the build it yourself concept of quick serve restaurants. Being able to pick add-ons, style of meal [salad, sandwich, plate], and sides, to create a meal that is perfect for you. I thought it was possible for me to grow tired of this trend.
Having moved back to the East Coast from Colorado, the birth place of Chipotle, and a slew of other copycat restaurants in this style, I thought I knew what to expect when I finally walked into Roti. From the name alone, I assumed it was an Indian restaurant, and was surprised to see a Middle Eastern cuisine.
Billed as “Food that loves you back,” Roti Mediterranean Grill, at least for me, has the capacity to make me feel loved. Upon walking in, I was greeted by the restaurant’s manager. I had arrived shortly before the lunch rush and he kindly walked me through the restaurant’s menu and concept.
While there were no paper menus at the entrance, the menu was placed on the wall at the entrance to the food line. I looked and had a choice of proteins that included: chicken kabob, steak roti, chicken roti, falafel, or roasted vegetables. I chose to get the steak roti, with a side of falafel – because I can’t ever go to a Middle Eastern restaurant and not get falafel. It’s an old rule of mine left over from my years as an undergrad.
I opted to get the plate meal and sit down to enjoy it slowly, given that lunch was still coming and it was not crowded. Leaning heavily upon the Mediterranean diet and its heavily plant based philosophy; roti loads your plate up with three sides on top of your protein and base choice. I chose the eggplant [because I love eggplant], the hummus [because you can tell a lot about a place by trying their most standard for the cuisine fare], and the cucumber and tomato salad [because it looked refreshing and I like to leave a meal feeling a little refreshed.]
I was not disappointed. My meal was filling but not stuffing. You should be left with a little room at the end of your meal. I ended up taking my falafel to go. It was extremely good with my pita which I also took to go. And while I sat, I got to see the lunch line and crowd grow until it reached almost all of the way to the door. The majority of their customers took their food to go.
Even in the middle of lunch hour, service was prompt and friendly. It is definitely a healthy quick option for a meal in the middle of your work day. And with twelve locations in the greater Washington, DC area, and two slated to open in Manhattan, take the time to show your stomach some Mediterranean love. And the even have a smart phone application to accumulate points and earn free food. Next time I go, the falafel and hummus is on them.