Mediterranean cuisine is in the spotlight at CAVA at Turkey Creek

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Spouse Grub and I experienced an incredible twist of luck last week. I was planning to revisit Azul Tequila Mexican Grill in Farragut, but for some strange reason drove us to Dos Agaves in Turkey Creek (I was confused by my memory of the old Agave Azul restaurant in Western Plaza) . Upon arriving in Dos Agaves, however, I realized that I had already checked this place off my list. Then when I tried to redirect us to Azul Tequila I learned that it was permanently closed.

Luckily, on our way to Dos Agaves, The Spouse had noticed a new place called CAVA, also in Turkey Creek, in the old Zoës Kitchen space, only a minute or two from our location at the time. Even better, we discovered that CAVA serves Mediterranean cuisine, one of our favorites. Things couldn’t have gone better.

Inside, the establishment looks a lot like it did when Zoës was in the house, but the concept and menu are different (although both chains offer/offered customizable fresh and healthy food).

One option is to opt for one of the pitas or bowls selected by CAVA. For example, the crispy falafel pita includes refried chickpeas in a bread pocket, along with roasted eggplant, pickles, coleslaw, tomatoes, onions, and skhug and garlic dressings. Harissa Avocado Bowl includes Honey Harissa Chicken, Crazy Feta (description below), Hummus, Feta, Avocado, Fire Roasted Corn, Persian Cucumber , pickled onions, basmati rice, SuperGreens and warm harissa dressing.

You can also create your own pita dish or bowl. Start with a base, which can be any number of greens, grains, or RightRice (for a bowl) or a pita or mini pita shell for a pocket meal. From there, you can add 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 salad dressing, tahini caesar, dill yogurt and more).

Spouse and I went with signature dishes. I ordered the spicy lamb meatball pita ($12.17), which consisted of meatballs and hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled onions, coleslaw, pickled pickles and of skhug and garlic dressings. Spouse got the Chicken and RightRice Bowl ($10.77), consisting of grilled chicken, tzatziki, hummus, tomato, onion, Persian cucumber, pickled onions, arugula, Greek dressing and RightRice (a rice alternative made with a mixture of lentils, chickpeas, peas and traditional rice).

We also decided to order the side dish pita chips and Crazy Feta ($3.95), an exclusive creation made with imported Greek feta cheese infused with extra virgin olive oil, jalapeño peppers and onion. While we’ve passed on all of their unique beverage choices, CAVA offers a variety of seasonally fresh juices, teas, and sodas (including the Maine Root brand), available both in bottles and at the beverage fountain.

Our order was prepared while we were in line. CAVA had opened recently, so employees were still putting together orders based on recipe cards, but the staff we interacted with did a great job answering our product questions and preparing our orders. in right time.

I have to admit, based on the menu descriptions alone, I was cautiously optimistic about CAVA’s cuisine, but the meal itself confirmed my hunch and more. Everything was fantastic, starting with the pita chips and Crazy Feta. The bread was warm and soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the outside. The dip had that signature twang of feta and a subtle tang of jalapeño.

My lamb meatball pita bread was phenomenal. The warm, savory flavor of the lamb remained a constant, though it was complemented by a diverse contingent of tasty and wholesome ingredients, including plenty of chopped vegetables and the distinctive kick of skhug sauce (traditionally prepared with peppers, coriander and spices) . The sauce tended to drip slowly from the bottom of my pita, but its outer wrapper helped me keep some control over this tasty mess.

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Spouse’s Chicken and RightRice Bowl were equally enjoyable. It was a case of proteins, vegetables, greens, sauces and grains working together to deliver a satisfying meal in every way.

We had often eaten at Zoës Kitchen as it served deliciously healthy meals at a reasonable price. CAVA ticks those same boxes and goes even further. I will always be a regular customer at Yassin’s Falafel House, and have even made Naf Naf Grill part of my regular rotation, but in my opinion CAVA offers a much wider selection of ingredients and dishes.

The bottom line: If you like this style of cooking, try CAVA. If you’re like me, you might have to juggle more Mediterranean restaurants than your schedule allows.

IT’S OKAY

Food: 4.5

Service: 4

Atmosphere: 3.75

Globally: 4.25

Address: 11378 Parkside Drive, Suite 2510

Call: 865-288-9905

No alcohol service

Hours: 10.45 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday

This new supplier of Mediterranean cuisine in Turkey Creek checks all the boxes when it comes to serving up delicious, healthy dishes at very accessible prices.

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