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  1. I'd suggest Pasta Plus as well. I was hoping to stop there on the way back from an O's game last weekend, but it was a little too early for dinner and we didn't stop.
  2. I look at this as "new opening" experience, but not a good one. Mia's had been open about 10 days when I dined there last Sunday evening. It retains the layout established by Carluccio's: The bar is in the back left of the 1st floor, with dining tables at the front. The former bakery area is now a pizza oven and "bar style" seating for dining. The main kitchen and a dining area on the second floor. Overall, I liked the decor and interior look and feel. The menu looks great, though our food was a mixed bag, as was the service. They have a number of issues to work out in these early days. We arrived for a 7:30 reservation at 7:21 and were told (unapologetically) it would be a few minutes before we could be seated. The place was busy, but I didn't feel welcomed at all by the host. (Perhaps he was trying to accentuate an air of exclusivity and buzz. Hmmm.) I initially thought the bar was in the front by the host stand -- and it was full. But this is bar seating at the pizza oven. There's no bartender there. So we left and had a drink at Pizzeria Paradiso, to return in a little while. When we returned we were seated with our party. Where to begin? The service was ok, with exceptions. The food was a mixed bag, as were the drinks. Definitely a lot to process here -- for me and for Mia's. They have a nice cocktail and wine list. I enjoyed their camomile tea-infused Negroni and we ordered a nice bottle of wine (delivered by a manager with radio in her ear and on her hip). But the Bellini was a problem for one of our companions. They had eaten at the bar a few days before and enjoyed Bellini's there. But this one was different. The menu lists "prosecco, peach purée, orange juice, lavender bitters." They believed the original was either missing the bitters or had much less. And the same for the orange juice. They found this one disappointing. The four of us ordered a spinach salad and capresse to share, with 2 pastas, eggplant parm, and a pizza (which looked like a "flat bread" to me). First the salad arrived. We saw a Capresse coming at the same time, but it wasn't delivered to our table. It was ~10 min before we asked about the capresse almost as one was arriving. The spinach salad was fine; solid. The Capresse has some of the best mozzarella I've tasted. Very fresh and delicious. But it was served with grape tomatoes, and not enough of them for the generous cheese slices. I could swear I saw slices of tomato on the first Capresse I saw, but not sure. About the same time as the Capresse arrived, the pizza arrived. The pizza's are rectangular and cut diagonally thought the center, and perhaps two more times--I didn't really study it.. Again, it seemed like a flatbread, though I didn't taste. (I'm not familiar with rectangular Italian pizza, maybe that's a thing.) Unfortunately, that meant that one us had his dinner too early. I ordered a "spicy" shrimp Diavolo with fettuccine (the online menu shows this as "LOBSTER FRA DIAVOLO"--that was not on offer). Other meals included RIGATONI ALLA CALABRESE, and EGGPLANT & PORCINI “POLPETTA”. The house made pastas are delicious. My pasta was light and delicate, despite the wide noodle. The Calabrese was a very tasty sauce and the pasta was a bit more al dente but delicious. I liked the eggplant, though I'm not much of a connoisseur in that department; our companion found the portion too large and the breading a little too much. Now back to the shrimp. It was devoid of spice. The only hint of spice was the red pepper I shook onto it. The tomato sauce was flavorful and fresh tasting, but the chef forgot to add several spices I suspect. That was another disappointment. The pasta dishes were still tasty enough that we took home what we didn't eat. When our waiter came back we chatted with her about all of these observations and we got nothing more than "oh, sorry" this and that, as well as an exaplainaton that the pizza kitchen is separate from the main, so food might come out differently. Uh, ok, it's still a poor experience. What annoys me is that after trying to give genuine, helpful feedback we go no acknowledgement. We should have been comped the Bellini at a minimum. Maybe offered a discount on the check or on a future visit. The manager should have been called to talk with us (they were NOT remotely busy by this point). We were told how the staff had trained for a month before opening. I think they missed a few things in training. I also wonder what the management trained on. I also have to mention that the seating is too tight in the tables by 1st floor windows. There is barely enough room for waitstaff to get between the tables perpendicular to the windows and the chairs of patrons seated in the tables parallel to the windows. I was bumped at least twice, my sweater was brushed off the back of the chair, as was my wife's coat. I looked a the layout and wondered what the managers were thinking. I saw staff struggling to get through the gauntlet of patrons' chairs and window tables with less than 3 feet of clearance. The divider between dining and bar should be moved 2-3 feet toward the bar. I want Mia's to succeed and I'm generally a fan of Alexandria Restaurant Group's efforts and what they bring to the community. This location has a history of being difficult -- it's sad to think about how long it's been vacant over the past 15 years. I note that there are several Italian restaurants on this block (Il Porto, Landini Bothers) and a pizza restaurant (Pizzaria Paradiso). So I have to wonder whether an Italian kitchen is what the 100 block of King St needed. Is this a slap in the face? The gauntlet thrown down? I'll leave that for others to decide.
  3. Over Christmas Mr. MV and I visited Osteria. In a word: fantastic. We started with the bread- two kinds of rustic bread and grissini, served with a light fruity olive oil. The salted bread was soft, chewy and fresh. The pizza was simply the best I've ever had. Seriously. We had the Lombarda which has mozzarella, bitto cheese, cotechino sausage and a baked egg in the middle. The pizza dough was thin and done perfectly throughout the pizza. The crust had some nice blisters and the egg was immensly rich. The size is about 12 inches around, in case anyone goes and wants to gauge how much to order. Pizzas are cooked in a 700 degree wood fired brick oven. We will be back for the pizza alone, let alone the rest of the menu. We also split a lobster spaghetti special, which has a whole lobster with meat taken out, shell on bottom topped with spaghetti and chunks of lobster in a light tomato sauce. This was a big dish. Next we had suckling pig which was brined and braised. It was intensely flavored with fennel and a hint of garlic. We ended with a cranberry and hickory nut tart/cake toppped with zabaglione gelato. All meats (except proscuitto which is cut to order on a killer Berkel slicer positioned among the tables), gelato and many pastas are made in house. I am now in search of cotechino sausage. It's flavored with cloves and nutmeg. The space is warehouse meets warm tones and wood on a red wine stained concrete floor. There are 2 bars- one around the L-shaped kitchen and one in the back. For the above meal plus two glasses of prosecco we paid around $150. We were stuffed. I can not wait to go back. Between the pizza, antipasto, primi, secondi, contorno, dolci and daily specials, there are too many ways to enjoy this gem to go only once. And...of course we had a roast pork with sharp provolone and rabe at DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market.
  4. NEW ITALIAN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT FIOLA MARE SIGNS 15 YEAR LEASE AT MRP REALTY PROPERTY WASHINGTON HARBOUR Washington, D.C., February 26, 2013 "“ MRP Realty, a real estate operating company, today announced that Fiola Mare signed a 15 year lease for 9,000 square feet at 3050 K St., NW (Washington Harbour) in Washington, D.C. The Class-A space will be will be an Italian seafood concept owned by restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi. Fiola Mare is expected to open by end of 2013. "Fiola Mare will be exceptional complement to the restaurant tenant mix we have at Washington Harbour," said Bob Murphy, managing principal of MRP Realty. "Having recently completed a significant renovation project at Washington Harbour, Fiola Mare will add to the level of sophistication that we are bringing to our tenants, residents and the community." Recent renovations at Washington Harbour include: extensive upgrades to the upper and lower level plazas with fully renovated fountains, specialized lighting and animated water jets during the warm weather and the addition of an approximately 12,000 square feet ice rink during the winter months. Additionally, the retail storefronts have been substantially replaced on both plaza levels and a new 3,200 square feet state of the art fitness center has opened with onsite personal trainers and renovated lobbies, elevators and bathrooms. John Asadoorian of Asadoorian Retail Solutions represented MRP Realty during the transaction. MRP Realty acquired the Washington Harbour property two years ago. About MRP Realty Founded in 2005, MidAtlantic Realty Partners, LLC ("MRP Realty") is a real estate operating company focused on the Washington DC metropolitan area. MRP provides a full array of real estate services including acquisition/disposition, development/construction management, property management and asset management services. MRP Realty's senior leadership team has worked together in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding market area in various capacities for periods ranging from eight to 25 years and has wide ranging experience across a multitude of product types in both urban and suburban settings. MRP Realty's managing members have been involved in over 20 million square feet of investment with a total capitalization in excess of $4 billion in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
  5. A coworker is touting the quality of Vace's pizza, saying it's the best slice in the city. Having never been, and not seeing a thread for it here, I ask for your opinions. There's also a Bethesda location. http://www.vaceitaliandeli.com/ 3315 Connecticutt Avenue (202) 363-1999 (Cleveland Park) 4705 Miller Avenue (301) 654-6367 (Bethesda)
  6. We went to the new Ghibellina on 14th Street last night. The good news: thoroughly enjoyed the bianca pizza with rapini, mozzarella, garlic, calabrian chilies,fennel seed, and pecorino romano. The crust was perfectly charred and flavorful. I prefer pizzas that retain their crispness, and this pizza did just that. It was one of the best pizzas we've had in awhile, and we've been eating pizza quite a bit lately. We also enjoyed the fresh ingredients in the Insalata Ghibellina - arugula, avocado, confit, tomatoes, emmenthaler, pine nuts, pesto. My husband and I shared Spaghetti Alla Trabaccolara. The menu listed the ingredients as tomato, white wine, cod, pollack, golden tilefish, and fennel. The dish arrived and I was a little disappointed in the fact that the pieces of fish were small and not very plentiful. Then I noticed that one of the fish had been replaced with squid. My husband keeps kosher and squid is not okay. We called the server over and she apologized and said that the chef frequently toys with the ingredients in this dish. I don't really think it's appropriate to add shellfish to a dish and not alert diners. There are people who are severely allergic to shellfish, not to mention others who don't eat it for religious reasons. Before leaving we asked to speak to a manager, and he echoed the server in saying that the chef had made changes to the dish. I was really enjoying Ghibellina until the squid incident. I still think it's a great place for pizza. But I feel that the staff minimized the situation with squid. Any kind of dietary restrictions require the diner to take responsibility for inquiring about ingredients. But a restaurant should also take responsibility when they substitute one ingredient for another- particularly if it's something that may have an adverse effect on their patrons.
  7. I can't find an existing thread. If there is one, please merge. I did not go here, but my wife did, for lunch. Here's what she said 'And I had an absolutely AMAZEBALLS lunch today. AMAZEBALLS. Did you see the picture I texted you? It was horribly expensive for lunch though. But daaaaaamn!' You have to understand, she's in publications and just doesn't talk like this. Apparently, it was a really good lunch.
  8. For a short time only (I would guess), but very good right now at 2 Amys: Durham bread crostini with fava bean puree, olive oil and shaved pecorino. Bonus -- watching every member of staff variously set to skinning fresh favas at each lull in their other duties.
  9. After a soft opening on Sunday afternoon for friends and neighbors The Red Hen officially opened last night. Menu is not on the website yet, but Washingtonian has a scan. We were hoping to walk down right around 5:00, but never made it out the door; it was apparently packed (as expected given the neighborhood excitement for this place). Early Comments I've read so far are very good on the food, so-so on the value (although no cocktail is over $10, so hooray?). Portions size comes up most, but there are lots of small plates. We're very much excited to try it out. Has anyone been yet?
  10. If I was a guy and wanted to impress a non-foodie hot girl, I would totally take her here. Because it is probably one of the most romantic restaurants in DC. Period. There are wonderful trees within a courtyard that canopy the outdoor eating area. There's a lovely walkway flanked by tables as a bar area. The interior is reminiscent of the lush lounge at the Tabard. But the two food items I sampled were some of the worst things I've had in a loong time. A goat cheese torte came out in a slab like pate, was pink and came out with roasted red pepper sauce. Not a nice little tart shape as we were expecting. And let me say again... PINK! It didn't taste of anything. The chicken liver pate with green peppercorns was extremely kicky, but was a scatological dark brown and not the unctuous deliciousness that I've had at other places. I'd maybe stroll over to enjoy the atmosphere after a dinner at the Tabard, but that's about it.
  11. @MichaelBDCand I went with our personal trainer to L'Ardente just before Christmas to thank him for keeping us relatively in shape throughout the year. He can also put down a lot of food so as a bonus, we got to order several dishes to try. Highlights were the Duck Hunt (four individually served duck ravioli in foie gras and truffle), Vitello Tonnato & Tonnato Vitellato (veal carpaccio w/ tuna sauce and raw tuna w/ veal sauce), and the sausage ragu pasta. The duck ravioli was my favorite dish of the night. It was very luscious and just melted in my mouth. When the other two hesitated a little too long about who should get the fourth ravioli, I happily claimed it for myself. the veal with tuna sauce and tuna sashimi with veal sauce was a close runner up. The kitchen really let the ingredients shine, which I really appreciated. And the sausage ragu pasta was the favorite pasta dish of the night. It definitely tasted like what you imagine sausage ragu pasta would taste like, except it was the best sausage ragu with the best pasta. Other dishes of the evening were the panzanella di funghi with oyster mushrooms, veal osso bucco pasta, and the famous 40 layer lasagna. Honestly, the lasagna was our least favorite dish of the evening. It was way too rich and there was nothing to cut the richness of the combination of short ribs, truffle mornay, and rich cheese. It was the only dish we didn't finish. Overall, we loved our meal and can't wait to go back to try more of the menu.
  12. McLean is a fairly nice locale with a dearth of particularly good restaurants. Aside from one entree salad at J. Gilbert's that I happen to like, there is nothing in McLean that makes me want to head there for dinner. Or, at least, there wasn't anything in McLean worth the trip until Friday night. Assaggi Osteria in McLean (in the same shopping center as the Balducci's), related to the Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda, is conducting its soft opening this weekend. One of the people involved in opening the McLean location is a client of mine, and I scored an invitation to the first night of the soft opening (12/11). The meal was complimentary, though my wife and I paid for drinks and tip. I must note that I am generally disinclined to go to Italian restaurants. I'm not a huge fan of pasta, and I don't like cheese. But my wife, who lived in Italy for a year, craves both pasta and cheese, so this was a good opportunity to appease her Italian craving. And appease the craving it did; my wife used phrases like "this is heaven," and "oh my god," and words like "fantastic" and "amazing." Before discussing the food, I will state for the record that the service is still working out some kinks. Our waiter, who was extremely pleasant, probably pointed out and explained 75% of the menu options, some unnecessarily. (I think most diners now know what gnocchi is.) This was likely connected to the fact that we were participating in the soft opening; I doubt the waiter will always be inclined to take up so much time going over the menu. On a somewhat more substantive note, the timing of the food service was off; our bread came out 20 or more minutes after we were seated, and every course took an eternity to arrive. Ultimately, our dinner became a two-and-a-half hour affair. But I cannot believe that this will be how the restaurant normally operates, and I think a restaurant's opening-night service and timing should be afforded a great deal of leeway. On to the food. Normally, I wouldn't remark on the bread because I tend to avoid the bread basket when I know I'm in for a three-course meal. But I was famished when the bread basket arrived, and gave it a whirl. I am in no way exaggerating when I say the bread was amazing. Hot, crusty, tender, flavorful; the bread was perfect, and we couldn't stop remarking on it. I started with a half-order of the sweet potato ravioli sprinkled with crushed amaretti cookies. Not an original menu item by any means, but the execution was notable. The ravioli were small, hot, and, if I had to guess, pan-fried. The sweet potato filling was satisfying, and the brown butter sauce was delicious, neither too thick nor too thin, making every bite a pleasure. My wife started with the carciofini salad, a mix of greens, artichokes, sunchokes, and cherry tomatoes, tossed in a simple vinaigrette (possibly with a faint lemon undertone). For an upcharge, the restaurant offers either buffalo mozzarella or burrata on the salad. My wife asked for mozzarella, and thought she received it, though we noted on the check at the end of the night that the waiter entered burrata on the ticket, so she is now unsure which she had. Regardless, she, for lack of a better expression, flipped out over how good the cheese was. The only pauses she took in eating the half-ball of cheese was to remark about it being utterly fantastic and heavenly. She hadn't had cheese on par with Assaggi's since she lived in Italy, and she is already planning on bringing her family to Assaggi to try the cheese. The entrees were very good, though not quite on par with the appetizers. My wife had the cavatelli with broccoli, which she enjoyed and about which she made uniformly positive remarks. We both felt that the menu could benefit from one or two more vegetarian entrees, including a simple pasta with red sauce. I had sea bass, but I'm not sure which preparation I ended up with. There were two striped sea bass entrees on the menu, and I believe the special was also a sea bass. I ordered the sea bass dish that should have come over a ragu of vegetables; I specifically avoided the sea bass dish that came with chopped potatoes and olives because I dislike olives. I ended up, however, with the latter dish, which I opted not to send back because (i) it was 10:00 p.m. by that point, (ii) I was not hungry enough to worry about the sides, and (iii) I'm not ungrateful for a free meal. I tried to spear a few of the chopped potato chunks, but they were so undercooked that getting a fork into each chunk was difficult. That is, however, a problem that I'm sure the kitchen can and will quickly remedy. The sea bass itself was very good; nothing innovative or amazing, but well-cooked, tasty, and worth ordering again. Dessert was top notch. My wife's deep dish of tiramisu consisted of a top layer of thick, sweet, frosting-like cream with layers of cake and rich espresso flavor beneath. She enjoyed it, though she didn't have room to finish it. I had a small, round, pumpkin-filled sweet cake served with cinnamon ice cream. It was an elegant little treat to end the meal. The restaurant's interior is classy, though not regal. The combination of bright yellow walls, dark wood trim, floors covered in a cork-like carpet, and white tablecloths leaves a slightly generic impression. Don't get me wrong; it looks and feels like a nice restaurant, one appropriate for business dinners or first dates. It just needs a little more personality, which may come with the addition of artwork on the walls. Assaggi in McLean impressed us, and I am sure it will become more impressive as it gets some time under its belt.
  13. Couldn't find a free-standing Pines of Florence thread, but arlnow.com reports that they have reopened on Columbia Pike. They are offering a 50% off deal until 8/18.
  14. Pretty slick looking (Washingtonian) City Paper Soft opening July 21, debut August 4. Three, five, and eventually eight course prix-fixe tasting menu format. Masseria. 1430 Fourth St., NE; 202-608-5959 "Masseria combines the raw and simple look of an Italian country estate, the industrial grit of the Union Market district, and the undeniable contemporary chic of its fashion-savvy chef-owner."
  15. Former Tosca chef Massimo Fabbri serving up Tuscan food inspired by his home town osterias. Appears this is in the old Thally space. Washingtonian with the story website
  16. *ANC 6C ABL Committee* Tuesday, Nov. 3rd 5:30pm (early this month due to conflicts) Specialty Hospital, 700 Constitution Ave. NE (entrance on 7th St.) *Draft Agenda *1. New license application CARMINE'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT 425 7th St N.W. CR (restaurant) license NATURE OF OPERATION New Italian family style restaurant with occupancy load of 720 featuring southern Italian cuisine and a summer garden with 18 seats. HOURS OF OPERATION Sunday through Saturday 7 am "“ 2 am HOURS OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE SALES/SERVICE/CONSUMPTION Sunday 10 am "“ 2 am & Monday through Saturday 8 am "“ 2 am SUMMER GARDEN HOURS OF OPERATION AND SALES/SERVICE/CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES Sunday through Saturday 11 am "“ 2 am This place is going to be massive! Carmine's Website
  17. Little Coco's for dinner tonight. It's about 3 blocks away, so easy walk. We ate appetizer buffet, and it was tasty. Also wine. If you like their pasta (we weren't in a pasta mood tonight), Thursday is pasta and prosecco night there. So, a deal on 2 pastas with 2 salads and a bottle of wine.
  18. Hard to believe a restaurant in business since 1977 has no thread here, unless I missed it. Wife and I were in Bethesda tonight strolling around and decided to give it a shot after years of driving by it. Short story - average old school Italian, awful wine list, great service, decent value for what you get. Handwritten receipt - love it. Would rather head here when looking for Italian over Olazzo and other mediocre Italian spots in Bethesda. Not many options here for Italian food, someone save us.
  19. We used to be fans of La Strada before it closed, but only recently found out (via a Daily Deal) that a new restaurant had long since taken its place. I'm surprised that I didn't hear of its replacement before. Apparently, the new place has been in operation about 2 years. Before we went, I read that it was owned by the same owners as Pines of Florence, of which I had not heard good things. Nonetheless, we gave it a try last night and were impressed. We enjoyed the caprese, mussels with linguini, and spaghetti bolognese. Bread was good too. My husband said the minestrone soup was the highlight of his meal. We like the menu choices - solid Italian-American which I miss from my childhood in Brooklyn. We will be back to try other tempting menu items like eggplant parmesan and seafood pasta! The only nit was that the mussels were small, but they were tasty and the marinara sauce was delish. I recommend that people give it a try. I am worried about the survival of the mom and pops.
  20. I've eaten there in the past, for dinner and for weekend brunch. I haven't been there in a few years because it wasn't that good, but I might give it a try again....it's literally right around the corner from Mediterranean Gourmet Market, so if I'm in that neighborhood, I'm usually there for my MGM fix.
  21. Gonzalo and Melina Pardo met at Paradiso in 2003, and they dreamed of opening their own restaurant for over a decade. The Argentine family, joined by their two sons and a chef from New York, recently opened La Fiamma in the former Paradiso space. I plan on giving it a try, but the exterior is nicely refreshed, and the menu has some items like Seafood alla Veneziana, which Lady KN will devour, homemade black linguine and all....and count me in on the veal chop with Barolo reduction. Opening a family-owned single restaurant on the tail end of a pandemic -- with the Delta variant looming -- takes a special set of equipage. I'm rooting for them to succeed, and I applaud their fortitude. I'm thinking this is a cooler weather kind of restaurant, but it's on my list.
  22. Edan Macquaid, long-time pizzaiolo at 2 Amys, is partnering with the owners of 2941 to open a pizzeria in downtown Falls Church. The name is to be determined, and the location is best kept off-the-record for now. This has been in the works for some time, and, at least on paper, has the potential to be one of the most exciting restaurants to open in 2008. Look for Macquaid back in action as a full partner, serving up wood-fired Neopolitan pizza - possibly with DOC status - antipasti, a full selection of beer and wine, possibly a liquor license, an exhibition kitchen, and seating at the bar. Not all details have been resolved, and I don't wish to overstep my bounds, so this is all I feel comfortable saying for now. Congratulations to everyone involved, and we'll see you soon. Cheers! Rocks.
  23. Surprised there hasn't been discussion of Batali's extravagant new venture - Eataly. I'm going to be in NYC next week and it'll be hard not to give this place a visit. This is so over the top but the success of the one in Venice makes one think this could actually work.
  24. I've lived in McLean for a little over 3 years now, and I keep forgetting this place exists, even tho I'm a regular visitor to Moby's just next door. Anyway, I finally grabbed a takeout menu, and we gave this place a shot...very pleasantly surprised! The menu notes that the pasta is homemade, and i believe them. We got an order of the Ravioli alls Panna, which came with 6 large raviolis (Maggianos large? No, but certainly large enough and homemade!) in a tasty parmesan and cream sauce. By the taste and texture, I think they're not only homemade, but made that day, too. Anyway, really good. We also got the Pollo Francese, which were 3 bread filets in a lemon-oil sauce. Again, I though the portion ample, moist and tasty. My wife thought it was too lemony, but I didn't agree. It also came with a side of spaghetti (you could get salad instead), which was solid. Not the best red sauce I've ever had, but very serviceable and not an embarrassment either (take note Roccos!). We got an order of Fried Zucchini, and it was huge, but didn't travel very well. I think the food was so hot that it continued to steam in its container, so it wasn't very crispy. It's something that needs to be tried at the restaurant for a real evaluation, tho i'm not rue i'd get it for takeout again (it wasn't that bad). Dare I say that there may be a pretty damn good Italian restaurant in McLean...
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