MVT Spotlight:

Thursday December 12, 2013

Tel’Veh is an intimate 60-seat café and wine bar features small plates, flatbreads, cheese, and charcuterie that complement the carefully curated selection of wine. Tel’Veh has a 12-seat wine bar where guests enjoy a featured, rotating list of international wines available by the bottle and glass. The wine bar is equipped with a Vinotemp Wine Dispenser; a temperature and humidity-controlled wine system that preserves open bottles of wine with nitrogen gas. The venue’s wine list is organized by region with an emphasis on New World and Old World varietals. An extensive selection of  wines are available by the bottle and 50 wines available by the glass. We recently asked Tel’Veh’s Executive Chef, Dimos Kolouas, to talk to us abut Tel’Veh.

MVTCID: Tell us a bit about how you came to Tel‘Veh and what makes it unique and special, particularly for Mount Vernon Triangle residents?

Dimos: Coming to Tel’Veh Wine Bar was an amazing opportunity, as well as a challenge for me. I liked the idea of helping a brand new restaurant and concept establish itself in DC, and it was definitely an exciting one. What makes Tel’Veh so unique (among other wine bars) is the size of the wine list offered. We offer over 200 bottles, and also specialize in Mediterranean cuisine, which complements so many of our wines perfectly. Our customers love the fact that various menu items can bring out differing tastes among our differing wines. We seem to be surrounded by Irish pubs as well, so our offering of wine and Mediterranean fare is also unique in the Mount Vernon Triangle.

MVTCID: What changes did you make to the menu and what are your favorites?

Dimos: Good question. Well, when I first came onboard with Tel’Veh, our main focus was just wine. Our customers primarily came for a good time and a glass of something off the beaten path. At the time we were serving fairly lite fare, such as salads and cheese plates. Given the large wine selection, we decided that it was only right to enhance the experience of wine through food, so as a result I created the menu from scratch. To me it seems they’re always in rotation, but my favorite menu items right now are the Little Veal Quails, which are stuffed with pesto, asparagus, and ricotta, then topped with Madeira sauce. The Chilean Sea Bass, which is slowly braised with tomatoes, onions, capers and olives, is another go-to. Our Pancetta, which is pan roasted with herbs and sweet molasses sauce, is another favorite. Overall, we’re very happy that our expanded menu has been such a hit and warmly received by our customers.

MVTCID: We hear much in the news these days about the importance of pairing wine and food – how do you recommend a diner approach selecting food and wine from your menu?

Dimos: Pairing food with the perfect wine is something we’re asked often. What we always recommend, is it to keep it simple. Actually choose a wine or type you’d enjoy drinking alone, absent food, and match your wine to the pronounced flavor of your meal. The flavor is generally going to be brought forward by the sauce base of your meal, or the seasonings and rubs used to prepare it. Another good consideration is the balance. Neither the food nor wine should overpower each other. Aside from the base sauce and cooking method, the fat in foods will generally lean your pairing in a direction. You’ll likely arrive at the conclusion of a red with grilled, fattier or heavier foods, like beef or fried lamb chops. Poached chicken, seafood and most salads will likely have you leaning toward whites. It shouldn’t be used as a total guide, but darker, earthier foods generally tend to pair better with reds and lighter fare such as poultry, fish and light pastas tend to pair better with whites. Whatever your preference, our staff is very knowledgeable and would be more than happy to guide you or make recommendations. If you’re looking for the ultimate experience, we also host monthly wine classes that are great for beginners and experts alike!

Editor’s Note: You can find more information on Tel’Veh at