Despite its 2 a.m. closing time, if you’re looking for another late-night hotspot for drunken food binges and shouted conversations, the recently-opened Morso Express isn’t it. Nestled in a sliver of real estate along on M St. near Rhino Bar and Dean and Deluca, this place is classy.
Gawk at the mod-style lamps! And the awkwardly shaped bar stool-chair hybrids! But the decor—and the trendy vibe Morso seems to be after with its Facebook page and Twitter feed—is ultimately at odds with the restaurant’s authentic Turkish offerings.
Anybody unfamiliar with Turkish cuisine may feel a bit overwhelmed by Morso’s menu, replete with kabobs, mezes, and pide. Luckily, the employees seem eager to help. (And if you’re stubborn enough to order on your own, like I am, the recommended meat, topping, and sauce combinations printed onto a sheet of paper at the register are helpful guides.)
I tried two of the wraps yesterday when I visited: the lamb and pistachio kabob wrap, filled with ground lamb and topped with tangy sumac onions, grilled tomatoes, and tahini yogurt, and the grilled chicken wrap, topped with grilled onions, hummus, and a mayonnaise sauce.
The lamb kebob wrap, a dish featured on Morso’s YouTube page, is deceptively satisfying—your wrap might be skinny-looking, but these guys don’t skimp on the fillings. Grab one after class and you’ll have enough for a study snack later that night. The grilled chicken wrap is a bit lighter of a meal, and not without flaw. I would criticize the tough chicken or the overpowering taste of the mayonnaise, but then again, the place opened five days ago. The chefs in the kitchen will work it out.
But, those prices. While the wraps are tasty—and more importantly, a nice reprieve from a diet of Chipotle, Five Guys, Tuscany pizza, and Leo’s waffles—they don’t come cheap. Most dishes at Morso Express cost $7 to $9 and do not include drinks or sides. The 20 percent Georgetown student discount, offered until the end of April if you have a GOCard, helps to cut down the cost, but in all honesty, you can get a better meal for that kind of price.
Admittedly, Morso Express and its soon-to-open sister restaurant, Morso, gave themselves a tough spot to fill at 3277 M Street, an address that begs some trendiness. But to succeed, the restaurant needs to toe the line between chic fast-food of the Sweet Green and Crêpe Amour persuasion and cheap.
I’d love to see a great DIY wrap place make it in Georgetown, but not one that sells itself well past the quality of its dishes. Keep the lamb kebob wrap (stacked high with toppings, of course), the friendly attitude, and the late-night hours. Just think about picking up some high-backed chairs, too.
Photo from Morso Express’s Facebook page