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Look (was Teatro Goldoni), 9,000 Square Foot Lounge and Nightclub on K Street Downtown - Closed


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It's a shame because I remember eating at the original Goldoni's, before they were booted for the West End Ritz Carlton building and very much enjoying the restaurant and food (of course this was many years ago before I became a food snob)...but I do remember the first Goldoni's as being pretty well regarded, now it just seems like the restaurant is a joke.

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I used to live next door to Conconi on P St. in the early 90s. He always struck me as something of a creep.

This seems to be becoming a Goldoni thread. I remember the original Goldoni; it was excellent the one time I ate there. What was the restaurant that had been in that same building before Goldoni? I ate there once too. I ate at the current Teatro during Restaurant Week about three years ago, and it was pretty appalling. They stuck a page of crappy choices at the back of the regular menu, and then treated you like riffraff for ordering from it (including acting all surprised that we wanted to order a bottle of wine). The food was lousy, too.

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I tried to go to Kolumbia (K between 18th & 19th) for RW yesterday for lunch and they turned me away at 2pm. They said they were too swamped (even though the dining room was half empty and there were 4 people at the bar) and couldn't serve me for at least 30 minutes. I have to say, I have never been told to come back another time, RW or no RW. So, I went to Teatro Goldoni and had their $12.50 Chicken Cannelloni with a glass of wine. Much better service, delicious meal, and noone told me they didn't have time for me - AND THEY WERE SWAMPED at 2pm!

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One reliable strategy when going to an overpriced, expense-account Italian restaurant (read: Cafe Milano, Il Mulino) is to order homemade pasta in lieu of a $75 veal chop. It failed tonight at Teatro Goldoni.

A plate of house-made whole wheat Taglierini ($15.50, only available at the bar) was a light-brown long, thin strip of noodle, served with "Shitake mushrooms" which seemed very much like a dried potpourri, baby arugula, little strips of carrots, nastily roasted pine nuts, and topped with dried ricotta (which displayed an interesting tendency not to melt), all served in a little pool of sweet white wine roasted garlic sauce. The dish was a failure, with nothing at all standing out as individually interesting, and the ingredients competing and clashing, rather than unifying as a whole. When I finished, all I had left on my palate was the overwhelming aftertaste of roasted pine nuts, which remains even as I type.

The service at Teatro Goldoni is polite if whipped into place, and remains the bright spot, unless you consider the "I wannabe Cafe Milano" vibe a bright spot, and if I were a restaurant, I wouldn't wannabe Cafe Milano unless I was the accountant.

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. The napkins stink.

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The service at Teatro Goldoni is polite if whipped into place, and remains the bright spot, unless you consider the "I wannabe Cafe Milano" vibe a bright spot, and if I were a restaurant, I wouldn't wannabe Cafe Milano unless I was the accountant.

According to Zagat, it sounds like there's more "I wannabe Cafe Milano" going on. Earlier this month, ZagatBuzz reported, "Fabrizio Aielli and his wife, Ingrid, are selling Teatro Goldoni," and "[t]heir sous-chef, Nicola Amarune, will be taking charge of the kitchen at Teatro, where new owners plan to woo the nightlife crowd with later hours on Thursday–Saturday nights starting in the fall. An outdoor patio is planned for next spring."

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Sorry if this was already posted, but I didn't pull it up in a search. I just got around to reading last week's City Paper, and Carman gives a glowing review to Goldoni and specifically Enzo Fargione, favorable comparison with Fabio Trabocchi included. Has anybody dined here recently to provide confirmation (or a polite rebuttal :lol: )? I've admittedly only eaten there a couple times a few years ago and not on my dime. The food was firmly in the good-to-occasionally-noteworthy category, but at those price points I would choose spend my dollars elsewhere.

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Sorry if this was already posted, but I didn't pull it up in a search. I just got around to reading last week's City Paper, and Carman gives a glowing review to Goldoni and specifically Enzo Fargione, favorable comparison with Fabio Trabocchi included. Has anybody dined here recently to provide confirmation (or a polite rebuttal :lol: )? I've admittedly only eaten there a couple times a few years ago and not on my dime. The food was firmly in the good-to-occasionally-noteworthy category, but at those price points I would choose spend my dollars elsewhere.

Because of this post, I had dinner here on Monday evening. I'll sum it up in one word: wow. Remember the name Enzo Fargione, because he seems poised to take his place among the top chefs in the Washington, DC area.

Enzo just came out with a new dinner menu in the past few days. The bar menu remains what it was before, but will be changing soon as well - until it does, order small plates off the full menu.

Carpaccio Branzino con porcini e affumicato nella scatola al tavolo ($16) is a little composed plate of branzino carpaccio, presented with citrus, spring onions, porcinis (more on porcinis in a moment), pea shoots, and roasted garlic. In and of itself, this would be a pleasant, but ultimately forgettable, dish - the ingredients probably costing the restaurant no more than a couple dollars. If I paid sixteen dollars for just this, it wouldn't have been worth the money. So why is it worth the money? Why is this the coolest dish in town? Because the plate is placed inside a wooden cigar box, along with a little smoldering dish of applewood charcoal. The box is closed for precisely three minutes, during which time it is presented to the diner. The server then opens the box, now full of smoke, and the dish is actually eaten out of the cigar box. "Don't eat the charcoal," my server joked. The little strips of branzino could just as easily be tilapia or flouder - the star here is the porcinis which really pick up the smoke. If I could make one recomendation, it would be to get the heavily roasted garlic even smaller, in order to get its bitterness in perfect counterbalance with the sweetness of the citrus.

Cappuccino di piselli con il rotolo di porcini e porri croccanti ($13) poses an interesting dilemma for the diner. The dish is a duo: a cup of green-pea cappuccino topped with porcini froth and crispy leeks, and a little wooden basket containing a ricotta, red beet, and porcini-stuffed roll. You have six implements with which to eat the dish, and I suggest using them all. Spoon a little porcini froth, then a bit of the cappuccino underneath. Fork a bit of stuffing from the roll. A few dabs of herb-infused dressing on the plate can be swept up with your knife onto your fork. Pick up the cup by the handle and have a sip of soup. Use your hand to pick the roll from the basket, and enjoy it like an eggroll. Finally, take a piece of bread to sop up what remains. Another beautifully presented dish - arguably a winter presentation of summer ingredients, in the form of a cup of coffee and a pastry.

I had originally ordered the Roasted Whole Duck ($29) stuffed with porcinis and black olives, served with rosemary sauce and a spinach-potato puree (note that all three of the above dishes contained porcinis - the chef loves them right now, and I had every intention of cobbling myself together a porcini tasting menu). At this point I need to disclose that I was recognized at some point in the meal by the chef - Roberto had apparently introduced us one evening at Bebo - and Enzo came over and basically steered me toward what turned out to be the star of the evening: Petto d'anatra al sale salsa di olive nere e carciofi arrosto ($38). These are slices of salt-cured Moulard duck breast, cooked only thirty seconds if I'm remembering correctly, and very much like a pile of the most exquisite pastrami you've ever tasted. The condiment of roasted artichoke quarters topped with a bit of black olive sauce complements the duck very well, and the spinach whipped potatoes lend the plate a bit of needed starch to round it out. This was a fantastic dish, and I've been craving it for the past two days. I have no way of knowing whether I got a supersized portion of duck, but the pile I got was worth the price and then some.

Teatro Goldoni had been quite good in the past, but then went through a down period. Now, however, it's better than it has ever been, and if this one meal is any indication of things to come, then Tim Carman is absolutely correct in his predictions of greatness for this restaurant.

Bonus: At the bar, all bottles of wine are HALF PRICE up to $100 Monday through Thursday, 5-8 PM. On Friday, the deal runs from 5-9 PM. I had a 2004 Monsanto Chianti Classico that was on the list for $60, but only cost me $30 - there are plenty of good wines in the $40-80 range that are screaming bargains at half-price. This is a great deal, and for two people, the bar at Teatro Goldoni should be on anyone's short list to try because there are 14 different small plates to choose from on the main menu, all priced from $12-16. Nosh away, and I'm looking forward to reading your opinions.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Following our dear leader's suggestion I stopped at the bar last night to take advantage of the 1/2 price wine bottles and sample the new chef's efforts. This is indeed a worthwhile spot to put on your rotation. The wine list is extensive, featuring both Italian and American wines (plus some French sparklers) priced from the $30 dollar range to a couple of thousand for the Gajas -- and I only really perused the white list. I had the taglierinni with porcini and duck ragu which was a full pasta serving ( and the bartender said all the bar menu dishes were full plates). The taglierinni was extremely savory, amply sauced and the pasta itself lovely. My friend had the cheese sampler which was realy enough for 2 or 3, so I helped her out with that too. Didn't look at the dessert menu, so that will be for another day. But Don's praise for Teatro Goldoni is well founded and I second his recommendation to go see for yourself and report back.

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Had an excellent dinner at Teatro last night. The kitchen sent out the smoked bronzini carpaccio, which was uber creative in presentation and execution, and unusually flavorful. My companion started with a delicious eggplant, goat cheese and tomato terrine - clean, fresh and beautifully prepared. For her main she had the salt cured duck (served with roasted artichoke and artichoke flavored mashed potatoes), which was reminiscent, flavorwise, of duck prosciutto, but texturally like a roasted duck breast - it was yummy! I started with the 4 fish tartar cones - tuna, salmon, scallop and bronzini. My clear favorite was the scallop cone - could have eaten a half dozen of those. For my main course I did 2 half orders of pasta - the veal stuffed tortelli and the parpadelle with lamb ragu. For me the parpadelle was the dish of the night and one I look forward to devouring often this Fall.

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Had an very good lunch at Teatro today. The menu is very different from the times I've been here before and that is a plus from this new chef. I started with the smoked tuna app, which was really creative (although it lacked the smoking box special effects described above by Don and others). It was a pile of nicely dressed crisp fennel with pieces of smoked tuna wrapped around it and some basil sauce on the sides with a mini-half green apple. The smoked tuna looked and tasted somewhat like corned beef but still had a fish-like texture and fish after taste. The smokiness was more like a cured meat here, then BBQ smoke flavor. Very different for me and fun. The little apple was gelatin but had a texture like a soft green apple sorbet - it went really well with the rest of the dishes adding some extra brightness. One of the more creative and tasty dishes I've had lately. For main I had the buccatini with duck, porcini ragu which was perfectly cooked, fresh pasta with lots of duck meat crumbled throughout and topped with some cheese shavings. The meat was well cooked and the porcinis gave it a meatier more lamb-like flavor which I really enjoyed. The sauce is almost all meat and mushrooms with a thin broth like base and some remnants of tomatoes - different than your usual red sauce ragu and really good. I'd highly recommend either dish. My dining companions enjoyed there linguine and clams and saffron risotto with asparagus too. The one dish that took creativity alittle over the top was the caesar salad which comes as big leaves of romaine standing straight up with parmesan shavings on top with a giant crouton wrapped around the base. While the presentation was very cool, the person who ordered it had to take a poll of the table on how he should eat it (putting the whole thing on its side - was the final vote and seemed to work well). The only complaint was the service was a bit slow.

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Carpaccio Branzino con porcini e affumicato nella scatola al tavolo ... If I could make one recomendation, it would be to get the heavily roasted garlic even smaller, in order to get its bitterness in perfect counterbalance with the sweetness of the citrus.

This garlic in any almost other dish would we unpleasant, but it works so well in this dish just for the reason you give, a really nice counter to the sweet orange, and the sour citrus juice.

Bomboloni di pomodoro alle animelle e cotechino in salsa di noci e pancetta croccante was described on the menu as:

Tomato pasta filled with braised veal sweet breads and cotechino sausage over a creamy toasted walnuts sauce and crispy pancetta and shaves of parmesan

While the flavor of this dish was impressive, the sweet breads and the sausage were quite finely chopped and the flavor and texture of the sweetbreads were completely lost, also there was nothing to hold the filling together so it presented a crumbly mess as the raviolis were brought from the plate to the mouth.

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I can't rate the entire restaurant bold in the dining guide, because I'm well aware that people dining in the dining room aren't dining at this level.

This is exactly what I was wondering as I continued reading. We actually cancelled a reservation next week because of the hard hit of the economy, but it was for the regular dining room. Your qualification makes it a little less disappointing. But we hope to go someday. What are the best directions to go in the regular dining room?

Pax,

Brian

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Bonus: At the bar, all bottles of wine are HALF PRICE up to $100 Monday through Thursday, 5-8 PM. On Friday, the deal runs from 5-9 PM. I had a 2004 Monsanto Chianti Classico that was on the list for $60, but only cost me $30 - there are plenty of good wines in the $40-80 range that are screaming bargains at half-price. This is a great deal, and for two people, the bar at Teatro Goldoni should be on anyone's short list to try because there are 14 different small plates to choose from on the main menu, all priced from $12-16. Nosh away, and I'm looking forward to reading your opinions.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Can anyone comment as to if this promotion is still going on? I'd like to grab dinner and a bottle of wine at the bar tonight if the deal is still in place.

Thanks.

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On the lunch menu they offer Bucatini with a duck ragu with shaved Bra cheese on top. The dish is absolutely delicious, but it is like two dishes in one. The first are the noodles, they do pick-up some of the juices from the ragu providing a nice flavor. The second is the ragu, a lovely meat sauce, but nearly impossible to get in the same bite as one of the thick noodles. The Bra adds a nice taste and a welcome change from the usual cheese toppings. Another bonus is the shaved pieces of long pepper that spike the dish with a lovely fruity/pepper flavor. I love liver, and the menu mentioning that it contained duck livers is what drew me to ordering this dish, but I did not notice anything or any flavor that said liver to me.

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On the lunch menu they offer Bucatini with a duck ragu with shaved Bra cheese on top. The dish is absolutely delicious, but it is like two dishes in one. The first are the noodles, they do pick-up some of the juices from the ragu providing a nice flavor. The second is the ragu, a lovely meat sauce, but nearly impossible to get in the same bite as one of the thick noodles. The Bra adds a nice taste and a welcome change from the usual cheese toppings. Another bonus is the shaved pieces of long pepper that spike the dish with a lovely fruity/pepper flavor. I love liver, and the menu mentioning that it contained duck livers is what drew me to ordering this dish, but I did not notice anything or any flavor that said liver to me.
I wholeheartedly agree - this is a great dish (I've had it twice in the past few months it is so good), but it is a bit tough to eat (not too annoying to not order though).
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What a disappointment. After reading the posts, my party of six showed up on Saturday night expecting to be blown away. There was barely a breeze.

The first thing someone should mention is that this is one of the most expensive restaurants in town. $15-20 apps, $30-45 pastas, $40-50 entrees, $13-20 desserts. I am perfectly happy to spend on food - I've never regretted the tab at Citronelle, Komi, CityZen, Eve, and lots of others, but it does up the ante. If you are going to charge those kind of prices, it had better show up on the plate, the atmosphere, somewhere...

Two of our party started with the minestrone soup, which contained an elaborate menu description including that the broth is poured from a coffee pot. What it doesn't mention is that the broth is watery and the only thing that gives the soup flavor are the fried onions floating on top. Another person had the seafood cones, which were delicious. Two others had pedestrian salads. I had the pea cappucino, which was very nice but hardly memorable. For entrees, the spinach-ricoota ravioli with runny egg yolk was really good, the lamb shank and fish (tuna?) were fine but dull (the big block of spinach polenta that came with the fish wasn't good at all), and the lobster risotto was fine but didn't have much lobster for the $44 price tag. Caramel and chocolate gelato for dessert, both solid singles.

Overall, the evenng left me dazed and confused. Is this the same place others rave about? Did we order wrong (except for the seafood cones and the revioli)? Is the chef's table that different than the regular menu? Did they jack up the prices for Inauguration weekend? I'd love to know.

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The mozzorella was placed in a martini glass over pesto. The presentation of the food just came across arrogant.
Could you elaborate on this a bit more? I'm visualizing the kitchen plating your entrée with a painted stroke of sauce on the far end of a long plate and a large bodyguard facing you. :P

I thought it a refreshingly unusual metaphor. "Ha! We dare you to eat it without making a slob of yourself!"

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The first thing someone should mention is that this is one of the most expensive restaurants in town. $15-20 apps, $30-45 pastas, $40-50 entrees, $13-20 desserts.
I've commented on my own good experiences at Teatro higher up in the thread, but these really high prices have been true at Teatro for many years now. I do think it is pricey when ordering for the regular menu - I haven't done the chef's table to guage the value there. I also agree with the comments about some of the presentation of dishes making it tough to eat the food - the old form vs. function problem.
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What a disappointment. After reading the posts, my party of six showed up on Saturday night expecting to be blown away. There was barely a breeze.

The first thing someone should mention is that this is one of the most expensive restaurants in town. $15-20 apps, $30-45 pastas, $40-50 entrees, $13-20 desserts. I am perfectly happy to spend on food - I've never regretted the tab at Citronelle, Komi, CityZen, Eve, and lots of others, but it does up the ante. If you are going to charge those kind of prices, it had better show up on the plate, the atmosphere, somewhere...

Two of our party started with the minestrone soup, which contained an elaborate menu description including that the broth is poured from a coffee pot. What it doesn't mention is that the broth is watery and the only thing that gives the soup flavor are the fried onions floating on top. Another person had the seafood cones, which were delicious. Two others had pedestrian salads. I had the pea cappucino, which was very nice but hardly memorable. For entrees, the spinach-ricoota ravioli with runny egg yolk was really good, the lamb shank and fish (tuna?) were fine but dull (the big block of spinach polenta that came with the fish wasn't good at all), and the lobster risotto was fine but didn't have much lobster for the $44 price tag. Caramel and chocolate gelato for dessert, both solid singles.

Overall, the evenng left me dazed and confused. Is this the same place others rave about? Did we order wrong (except for the seafood cones and the revioli)? Is the chef's table that different than the regular menu? Did they jack up the prices for Inauguration weekend? I'd love to know.

Dear Pork Belly,

I am very sorry you had such a negative experience at my restaurant.

I indeed value your opinion and I thank you for your comments: I will try harder to please every single guest of mine

It seems to me you had a poor night and though I don't think you had ordered the wrong items, maybe the menu per se was not detailed enough in its descriptions: the minestrone soup is supposed to be liquid for many reason and the puree of cannellini beans, once stirred with the soup would have given it the right consistency and texture. Yes , against my personal will the prices were marked a little higher for 3 days of the Inauguration period. For that I can only apologize.

For the quality of the food, maybe you just did not like it or you were expecting something different.

It seems like you had the opportunity to taste every single dish your party ordered. So I am not sure with what intent you had decided to have dinner with us.

My mission is to make every single guests of mine happy and satisfied and it saddens me if they walk out of Teatro with a bad experience.

I do value your opinion and I hope you would be gracious and brave enough to come and see me at Teatro and I will be mostly happy to make sure that your previous experience would turn into a bad memory only

Thank you very much Pork Belly for your point of view and I remain hopeful to finally meet you when and if you will give me the chance to prove you what we really do here at Teatro Goldoni

Chef Enzo Fargione

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Dear Pork Belly,

I am very sorry you had such a negative experience at my restaurant.

I indeed value your opinion and I thank you for your comments: I will try harder to please every single guest of mine

It seems to me you had a poor night and though I don't think you had ordered the wrong items, maybe the menu per se was not detailed enough in its descriptions: the minestrone soup is supposed to be liquid for many reason and the puree of cannellini beans, once stirred with the soup would have given it the right consistency and texture. Yes , against my personal will the prices were marked a little higher for 3 days of the Inauguration period. For that I can only apologize.

For the quality of the food, maybe you just did not like it or you were expecting something different.

It seems like you had the opportunity to taste every single dish your party ordered. So I am not sure with what intent you had decided to have dinner with us.

My mission is to make every single guests of mine happy and satisfied and it saddens me if they walk out of Teatro with a bad experience.

I do value your opinion and I hope you would be gracious and brave enough to come and see me at Teatro and I will be mostly happy to make sure that your previous experience would turn into a bad memory only

Thank you very much Pork Belly for your point of view and I remain hopeful to finally meet you when and if you will give me the chance to prove you what we really do here at Teatro Goldoni

Chef Enzo Fargione

Chef Fargione -

Thanks for your message. It means a lot to me that you took the time to respond and that you obviously have so much passion for your food. I also appreciate your honesty in acknowledging that the prices were raised around the inauguration. I suspect your restaurant was not the only one. You should know that while you may be able to make a few additional dollars on out-of-towners, it gives the impression to those of us who live here that your place is overpriced.

Regarding the fact that I tasted what everyone in my party had, you seem to think I am a reviewer or something. I am not. I just love food - as does the rest of my family - and we want to try as many things as possible. If I were a reviewer, I would have been back at least once to see whether I was just there on an off night. For better or worse, most of us on this board have to make judgments based on a single visit - especially when it's in the price category yours is. Those who read the postings understand that this is one person's experience on one evening and that it's one data point in assembling an overall picture. I look forward to returning when I can to provide another perspective.

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Hi All:

Just got back from lunch at Teatro Goldoni and have an incident to report. I ordered the whole rock fish served with potatoes and cabbage. The plate came out and the waiter showed it to me with the detail that he would de-bone it. That's great b/c I was wearing a dry-clean only business suit. He de-boned it and then, to my absolute horror, dribbled olive oil all over it!

I could taste that underlying the layer of EVOO taste was a really good lunch but that heavy oiliness left me not wanting more. I didn't even eat half, which was embarrassing as I didn't pay and hate wasting food.

Given the reviews and pictures here, I was expecting greatness. Are they worth another shot? I will stay tuned.

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He de-boned it and then, to my absolute horror, dribbled olive oil all over it!

Perhaps you'd rather your fish wasn't dressed with olive oil, and perhaps your server should have asked if you'd like olive oil on your fish before he started dribbling, but absolute horror?

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Hi All:

Just got back from lunch at Teatro Goldoni and have an incident to report. I ordered the whole rock fish served with potatoes and cabbage. The plate came out and the waiter showed it to me with the detail that he would de-bone it. That's great b/c I was wearing a dry-clean only business suit. He de-boned it and then, to my absolute horror, dribbled olive oil all over it!

I could taste that underlying the layer of EVOO taste was a really good lunch but that heavy oiliness left me not wanting more. I didn't even eat half, which was embarrassing as I didn't pay and hate wasting food.

Given the reviews and pictures here, I was expecting greatness. Are they worth another shot? I will stay tuned.

Please forgive me but the many raves and photos on here are about a specific meal: the CHEF'S TABLE. You went for LUNCH. You haven't had the first "shot," you haven't experienced the CHEF'S TABLE.

The CHEF'S TABLE.

Many of the dishes Enzo serves for this prix fixe blow out CHEF'S TABLE are not on the restaurant's regular menu; they are special to his CHEF'S TABLE in the same way that the six seats of MiniBar are a different meal and a different experience from Cafe Atlantico. Part of this experience is Enzo's personal involvement. You are his guests, he spends time with you, you sit only a few feet from where this is prepared. It is an incredible experience that we are fortunate to have available to us. When I and others rave about the extraordinary experience that the CHEF'S TABLE provides it, like MiniBar, is exclusive to the CHEF'S TABLE.

LUNCH is not the same. Of course Restaurant Week at Cafe Atlantico is not the same as MiniBar either! Has anyone on here ever complained about Cafe Atlantico's lunch not living up to the expectations of MiniBar? But this IS the point: MiniBar is an extraordinary experience that Andres builds his reputation on; the same can be said for the CHEF'S TABLE at Teatro Goldoni.

AS for the "absolute horror" of olive oil and "an incident to report": perhaps he should have asked but I would suggest that this is as traditional as drizzling olive oil on pizza, pasta fagiole, sub sandwiches, etc. But that's me. And, I really like olive oil. Even on fish. At the CHEF'S TABLE.

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Hi All:

Just got back from lunch at Teatro Goldoni and have an incident to report. I ordered the whole rock fish served with potatoes and cabbage. The plate came out and the waiter showed it to me with the detail that he would de-bone it. That's great b/c I was wearing a dry-clean only business suit. He de-boned it and then, to my absolute horror, dribbled olive oil all over it!

I could taste that underlying the layer of EVOO taste was a really good lunch but that heavy oiliness left me not wanting more. I didn't even eat half, which was embarrassing as I didn't pay and hate wasting food.

Given the reviews and pictures here, I was expecting greatness. Are they worth another shot? I will stay tuned.

Is that sarcasm I detect? I certainly hope so.. .because EVOO... the HORROR!

Next time ask for light on the oil, or, for goodness sake, get over your dry clean only suit and cook the fish yourself!

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Good people of DR.com, won't anyone come to the aid of the poor gentleman's question?

I thought Don was gonna pull out a can of whup-a$$ on the poster.

If the oil was dribbling, the poster could've stopped the waiter before the oil got all over the fish. Of couse, sometimes you are just so petrified that you can't do a thing.

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Hi All:

Just got back from lunch at Teatro Goldoni and have an incident to report. I ordered the whole rock fish served with potatoes and cabbage. The plate came out and the waiter showed it to me with the detail that he would de-bone it. That's great b/c I was wearing a dry-clean only business suit. He de-boned it and then, to my absolute horror, dribbled olive oil all over it!

I could taste that underlying the layer of EVOO taste was a really good lunch but that heavy oiliness left me not wanting more. I didn't even eat half, which was embarrassing as I didn't pay and hate wasting food.

Given the reviews and pictures here, I was expecting greatness. Are they worth another shot? I will stay tuned.

I think this post is perfectly fine, aside from perhaps the choice of words in the first sentence. "An incident to report" is a little bit of an alarmist phrase, as if there were some major service issue. I was scared that the server had poured oil on this person's suit.

But really this simply could have been stated as: "They put olive oil on my fish. I didn't like it. Did I miss something here?" Maybe they meant to be alarmist... I don't know. But everyone's had their not the best choice of words moments.

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Please forgive me but the many raves and photos on here are about a specific meal: the CHEF'S TABLE. You went for LUNCH. You haven't had the first "shot," you haven't experienced the CHEF'S TABLE.

The CHEF'S TABLE.

Many of the dishes Enzo serves for this prix fixe blow out CHEF'S TABLE are not on the restaurant's regular menu; they are special to his CHEF'S TABLE in the same way that the six seats of MiniBar are a different meal and a different experience from Cafe Atlantico. Part of this experience is Enzo's personal involvement. You are his guests, he spends time with you, you sit only a few feet from where this is prepared. It is an incredible experience that we are fortunate to have available to us. When I and others rave about the extraordinary experience that the CHEF'S TABLE provides it, like MiniBar, is exclusive to the CHEF'S TABLE.

LUNCH is not the same. Of course Restaurant Week at Cafe Atlantico is not the same as MiniBar either! Has anyone on here ever complained about Cafe Atlantico's lunch not living up to the expectations of MiniBar? But this IS the point: MiniBar is an extraordinary experience that Andres builds his reputation on; the same can be said for the CHEF'S TABLE at Teatro Goldoni.

AS for the "absolute horror" of olive oil and "an incident to report": perhaps he should have asked but I would suggest that this is as traditional as drizzling olive oil on pizza, pasta fagiole, sub sandwiches, etc. But that's me. And, I really like olive oil. Even on fish. At the CHEF'S TABLE.

I am so sick of hearing that you have to order only specific things or eat at a specific time or be served directly from the chef in order to have a valid experience. That is complete BS! The chef is in charge of the kitchen and should be able to provide adequate quality regardless of the time or entree selected. If they cannot then why the hell do they open? The experience is completely valid and it provides some good info on what the focus is for the entire restaurant and its staff.

Last I heard the prices at Goldini are not on the inexpensive side so I would expect above average fare when I dine there. Why can't the dishes that are not served at the CHEF'S TABLE be of comparable quality? Certainly the variety and whimsy may not be there, but the quality sure better be.

I don't think that the comparison of Minibar and Cafe Atlantico is completely accurate as there is a significant price difference between those two experiences. Certainly folks don't go to Cafe Atlantico looking for a Minibar experience. I believe that Cafe Atlantico delivers for their price point, whereas Teatro Goldini, from the many posts above, does not appear to do that.

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I am so sick of hearing that you have to order only specific things or eat at a specific time or be served directly from the chef in order to have a valid experience. That is complete BS! The chef is in charge of the kitchen and should be able to provide adequate quality regardless of the time or entree selected. If they cannot then why the hell do they open? The experience is completely valid and it provides some good info on what the focus is for the entire restaurant and its staff.

Last I heard the prices at Goldini are not on the inexpensive side so I would expect above average fare when I dine there. Why can't the dishes that are not served at the CHEF'S TABLE be of comparable quality? Certainly the variety and whimsy may not be there, but the quality sure better be.

I don't think that the comparison of Minibar and Cafe Atlantico is completely accurate as there is a significant price difference between those two experiences. Certainly folks don't go to Cafe Atlantico looking for a Minibar experience. I believe that Cafe Atlantico delivers for their price point, whereas Teatro Goldini, from the many posts above, does not appear to do that.

I am going to be very specific, again: the raves for Teatro Goldoni are for the Chef's Table and the prix fixe dinner that is served by the chef at it. It is a unique experience. Having lunch or having dinner in the restaurant and ordering a la carte is an entirely different experience. I am making no comment about the quality of that experience. ONLY the quality of the experience provided at the Chef's Table.

MiniBar is $125 prix fixe, the Chef's Table is $125 prix fixe, both for a menu, a price and a "style" which are different from the "primary" restaurant.

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I am going to be very specific, again: the raves for Teatro Goldoni are for the Chef's Table and the prix fixe dinner that is served by the chef at it. It is a unique experience. Having lunch or having dinner in the restaurant and ordering a la carte is an entirely different experience. I am making no comment about the quality of that experience. ONLY the quality of the experience provided at the Chef's Table.

In short, don't count on quality control or consistency from that kitchen unless you see the chef plating your food himself. :rolleyes:

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I am going to be very specific, again: the raves for Teatro Goldoni are for the Chef's Table and the prix fixe dinner that is served by the chef at it. It is a unique experience. Having lunch or having dinner in the restaurant and ordering a la carte is an entirely different experience. I am making no comment about the quality of that experience. ONLY the quality of the experience provided at the Chef's Table.

MiniBar is $125 prix fixe, the Chef's Table is $125 prix fixe, both for a menu, a price and a "style" which are different from the "primary" restaurant.

Right, they are a different experience from the main restaurant. The final point that I was trying to make was that Cafe Atlantico is still able to provide a very good experience without having to have the exclusive experience.

Hannah sums it up nicely.

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Dear All:

First, please forgive me as I forget sometimes that humor does not translate well in e-mail/blogging/ or on listserves.

Yes, “absolute horror” and “incident to report” were both meant to obvious and sarcastic overreactions.

I trust good restaurants to give me food as they intend for me to eat it. It looked like too much EVOO was poured on my fish, but I kept an open mind and tried it.

The server was too far away for me to stop the EVOO dribble without shouting. A bit of a dribble would have been fine as I like a nice EVOO dribble on my red beans and rice. I also use EVOO while I cook fish, at home, without my suit on. Again, an attempt at humor. I am not so experienced with deboning a fish, at table, thus am likely to get some on me.

As for restaurant selection, I selected this restaurant based on these reviews of the Chef’s table and that was a mistake because I wanted to enjoy lunch? I think that if a Chef’s table is one of the best in this city, then lunch should be at least GOOD.

I am disinclined to go to a chef’s table if I cannot get a decent lunch at a place. K street is a lunch sort of street, is it not?

Finally, is it worth another shot for lunch or dinner or is the only thing worth eating here, the Chef’s Table?

Thanks.

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Now I understand your handle: "NolaCaine." I never made the association with NOLA!

NolaCaine, I am sorry if I was facetious, but I absolutely love your handle!!!

Honest answer: I haven't had dinner at Teatro Goldoni in four or five years. The only experience that I've had was Enzo's Chef's Table in mid December. I really have no idea what is on the "regular" menu nor what it may taste like. But the Chef's Table was truly extraordinary. Perhaps what may be appropriate would be for someone to organize a group of those who contribute on here (up to ten) and share Enzo's Chef's Table. I honestly just don't believe that a lunch or dinner in Goldoni's dining room is going to provide the same experience.

The analogy that I would suggest here is if Johnny Monis would conceive a special menu and cook for a table personally. That is what Enzo (a fabulously talented chef) is doing.

Over the past several years there are a number of restaurants around the U. S. that are providing occasional/singular/chef's table dining experiences that are apart from the regular restaurant. I do believe that I understand this, however. It is simply a different experience FOR THE CHEF to cook for a small table or a small room where there is an immediate reaction to what he/she has served. It is one on one, interactive and, perhaps, mutually appealing to both the diner AND the chef. Frankly, I don't see a lot of difference than my cooking for friends and sharing their reaction to what I am serving. This is just at another level. Well, a whole different "floor" if you will! NolaCaine, you have to share the Chef's Table: it is Enzo who personally is responsible for this in the same way as if you were in his house. As Tom Colicchio at Craft in New York is the "master" of this then so is Enzo in D. C.

Someone really needs to organize a Rockwell dinner at Goldoni's Chef's Table!!!

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WOW!!!!

What a day!!!!!

I had friends, family and collegues texting me and calling me about this.........Berlusconi sent me a letter and the Pope his blessing, the Bertolli company wants me for its new ad campaing and the Italian Consorzio are now giving me a Laurea with honors

I wonder what it would have happened if indeed some olive oil was spilled on someone suit?

Let me make this easy for everyone:

1- Thanks to those who love and support the new Teatro Goldoni

2- I will instruct my servers to drizzle just a little bit of evoo on the fish they filet regardless if for Lunch or Dinner from now on

3- The chef table is a unique experience, a very personal one and cannot be compared to the restaurant itself

4- The restaurant for the past 12 months went through incredible changes and by doing so you please and disappoint

5- I would incourage those who like their meal customized to voice their requests before ordering as we do try to make everyone happy

6- For those who like to pass judgement about my work I say thank you for the constructive criticism, but do me a favor: you need to come in and have a

meal before you voice your opinion

7- I can only say this: The chef table has hardly been reviewed by newspapers or the media, but the restaurant has in positive ways. We remain humble and

very attentive about the quality and value of every meal that goes out to the dining room and I pride myself by doing so

8- The restaurant business is one of the hardest business out there and especially now with the current state of the economy. We are also humans

and we can make occasional mistakes, but please if they happen gently point them out to us and give us a chance to put a smile back on your

face because we, like you have expectations and bad days

Thank you for all your support and as for NOLA CAINE.........well, sorry if few extra drops of olive oil will refrain you to explore better and future experiences at my restaurant or at the chef table: I was not aware untill now how difficult the olive oil free life is and I remain hopeful that in time you would be so kind and couragious to give us another try in our new carefully measured olive oil drizzled environment.

After all the last thing I aim for is to create an absolute horror experience for my guests and friends

Chef Enzo Fargione

Dear All:

First, please forgive me as I forget sometimes that humor does not translate well in e-mail/blogging/ or on listserves.

Yes, “absolute horror” and “incident to report” were both meant to obvious and sarcastic overreactions.

I trust good restaurants to give me food as they intend for me to eat it. It looked like too much EVOO was poured on my fish, but I kept an open mind and tried it.

The server was too far away for me to stop the EVOO dribble without shouting. A bit of a dribble would have been fine as I like a nice EVOO dribble on my red beans and rice. I also use EVOO while I cook fish, at home, without my suit on. Again, an attempt at humor. I am not so experienced with deboning a fish, at table, thus am likely to get some on me.

As for restaurant selection, I selected this restaurant based on these reviews of the Chef’s table and that was a mistake because I wanted to enjoy lunch? I think that if a Chef’s table is one of the best in this city, then lunch should be at least GOOD.

I am disinclined to go to a chef’s table if I cannot get a decent lunch at a place. K street is a lunch sort of street, is it not?

Finally, is it worth another shot for lunch or dinner or is the only thing worth eating here, the Chef’s Table?

Thanks.

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Thank you for all your support and as for NOLA CAINE.........well, sorry if few extra drops of olive oil will refrain you to explore better and future experiences at my restaurant or at the chef table: I was not aware untill now how difficult the olive oil free life is and I remain hopeful that in time you would be so kind and couragious to give us another try in our new carefully measured olive oil drizzled environment.

After all the last thing I aim for is to create an absolute horror experience for my guests and friends

Chef Enzo Fargione

Thanks for your note, Chef. I will be back and will trust that the food will be served the way you intend for it to be eaten! --

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On Wednesday, June 17th Enzo is the sole chef at the James Beard House in Manhattan, preparing a six course dinner which will include his signature "cigar box-smoked Branzino carpaccio with blood orange, garlic chips, porcini, mico-pea shoots, spring onions and citrus dressing." This is also the feature of his 18 or so course Chef's Table dinner at Teatro Goldoni which I continue to believe is the best dining experience in D. C. I applaud Enzo and wish him the best at the Beard House for this honor.

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I had dinner this evening at Teatro Goldoni: not the chef's table, the regular dining room with the regular menu, and I have to say this is one of the best restaurants in Washington. You don't have to eat at the chef's table to be served blazingly good food. The grilled baby octopus starter was at least as good as anything I had at the chef's table, and as good as anything I've been served anywhere this year. One of my companions, after tasting mine, ordered it for his dessert.

My only complaint about this restaurant is the canned music they play. Stop that!

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Why We Should Have Gone to Dino My Dinner at Teatro Goldini

Went to Teatro Goldoni for my wife's birthday. She loves Italian. Had a craving. And I have some complaints. But I feel shitty. All my time on this board, all the chefs and GMs I've spoken to, I KNOW I'm supposed to tell the waiter/manager, but... fuck. I'm shy. And because I usually rely on the AMAZING advice I get from this board, it's been a long time since I've lambasted a restaurant. It's a long time coming. So here in my cowardice I present to you:

Service: I don't know if I was intended to be given the real "Italian" experience, but I don't think I was smiled at once except by the coat check girl. The closest I came to bonding with my server was when when his sleeve touched my hand as I reached for my wine around his crumb scraping.

Food: Seafood cornets - $16 (tuna, salmon, scallops, branzino). The seafood itself was of exquisite quality and delicious. The cornets (I felt like I was at The French Laundry) themselves, though, were overpoweringly sweet.

Italian Sushi - $14 (Prosciutto, asparagus, goat cheese) were for me the highlight of the evening. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and went great with the creamy goat cheese. I would make these at home.

Guinea Hen - $36 (Hen, prosciutto, artichokes, corn, figs, black truffles) I know that Americans expect to be overpowered by their truffles, so I can appreciate a European subtlety, but "subtlety" should not be synonymous with "absent." The hen was barely room temperature. The prosciutto I will say was cooked to a wonderful caramelized crispness, but that alone couldn't save the dish.

Lobster Risotto - $35 This was an utter embarrassment. The lobster had the consistency of tire rubber. The sauce was reminiscent of Chef Boyardee. And unforgivably, the risotto had been visibly left out for a long period of time. There was a visible dry film on top of it that just screamed out, "I've been neglected like a Gosselin child." At $35 for risotto, even lobster risotto, I can't but feel insulted in retrospect.

The tiramisu, offered free as a birthday gift to my wife, was actually quite lovely. Rich, creamy, generous helping of sabayon and a cake that was nice and subtle without all the usual overpowering note of rum.

So yeah. Were there high points? Yes. Was I glad I tried a new place? Yes. Was the overall experience lacking? Heartily and absolutely. In the future, I think my wife's Italian cravings are best handled by places that have quality and heart in spades like Dino (or via time machine, Maestro), rather than places that lack warmth or finesse.

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Why We Should Have Gone to Dino My Dinner at Teatro Goldini

Went to Teatro Goldoni for my wife's birthday. She loves Italian. Had a craving. And I have some complaints. But I feel shitty. All my time on this board, all the chefs and GMs I've spoken to, I KNOW I'm supposed to tell the waiter/manager, but... fuck. I'm shy. And because I usually rely on the AMAZING advice I get from this board, it's been a long time since I've lambasted a restaurant. It's a long time coming. So here in my cowardice I present to you:

I think that the consensus here is that the chef's table is an entirely different experience than the main dining room. It appears you took the latter, with unfortunate results, alas. Why? I don't know. I've always half-suspected that previous chefs perfected some profitable balance of price and mediocrity, and Enzo, after being told not to mess with a good thing, was allowed to actually cook for his one table on condition he didn't change whatever it is the regulars out front were eating.

Also, the lobster risotto was the one dish that underperformed for me at the chefs table, as well.

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