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Nido, Chef Aaron Wright and GM Erin Lingle's Italian on Rhode Island Avenue and 22nd Street NE in Woodbridge - Closed

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My wife and I stopped by last night to this bright, airy restaurant after spending 6 hours on I-95.  It was our first time and we were really in the mood for some comfort food.  We know Carlos and Erin from their time at Boundary Road, and we were overdue to say hi.  

Erin was behind the Passenger stick in its closing year, and the Bamboo cocktail ($10) I ordered was a very nice version, served with an olive.  The glassware there is stylish, from the coupes to the 3 Stars snifter that contained my 3 Stars Farmhouse Ale.  I closed with a glass of Touriga Nacionale rose, I haven't had one in a long time.

For starters, we split a small Chef's Board ($16), featuring gigante beans, eggplant, marinated olives, house-made ricotta, and two other cheeses and two other meats I can't recall right now.  Straightforward and delicious.

We split a bowl of house-made pappardelle with pork sugo, parmesan and preserved lemon and moderately spicy ($15) along with a side of cauliflower ($6) and blistered shishito peppers ($7).  The pasta was paper thin, delicate, and absolutely delicious -- exactly the comfort food we were looking for.  I prefer this dish to the pasta that I've had at the Red Hen.  My wife loved the cauliflower, and I FINALLY, after ordering the shishito peppers at a variety of places around town (I've had about 80 of them), ate a pepper that was actually spicy!

For dessert, we split a pistachio custard topped with whipped cream and served with a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie.  Nicely done!  

For folks who live in Brookland, Woodbridge, or Hyattsville, I can't imagine having a better local option.  Atmosphere is unpretentious and cheerful, and looks to be family friendly.  Downstairs is additional seating and another bar, for a quieter, more atmospheric couples night.  Next time we will come with some friends and split the Tuscan-Style bone-in steak!

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My wife and I have eaten here twice and have been happy enough that we'll surely be back for a third visit.

On our first visit we started with spiced marcona almonds, which was a simple dish that we both enjoyed, with apologies to the Californian drought.

Subsequently we ordered braised pork shoulder over patatas bravas and a pasta dish with clams in a butter sauce. The pork shoulder was tender and well portioned. I enjoyed this more than a similar dish I had at the Red Hen. The pasta and clams was very good, though the sauce veered on the buttery side. This was pleasant, but perhaps overwhelmed other flavors.

On a subsequent trip we started with blistered shishito peppers. Like the almonds on the previous trip, this is almost as simple as a dish can be, but well done well and we enjoyed it. Also, like the almond dish, the portions for the two of us was perhaps too generous. For our entree we had the seafood stew. The menu specifies that it is for 2-4 people, and I can attest that for the two of us that were there, 4 seemed like the more correct suggestion. It was a tomato base with bread, both in the stew and outside of it, with an aoili that complemented the dish well and served as a bit of a break for the palate in one could otherwise be a lot of a similar flavor.

The service was conscientious and attentive and for the moment the busy but not overwhelmed atmosphere led to a less pressured atmosphere than some more established venues.

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Great food. Excellent ambience. Pleasant service.

In terms of the food, we started with the chef's board which included meat/cheese and other items from the snacks part of the menu: gigante beans, spiced almonds, marinated olives, and roasted vegetables (eggplant). Along with the blistered shishito peppers and roasted cauliflower, this was a very nice start to the meal. Simple foods, but everything quite tasty.

Next, our table enjoyed the chicken thigh, pork shoulder with patata bravas, pan seared cod, and house-made pappardelle. I was most impressed by the succulent chicken thigh, but my tablemates swooned over the cod-romesco-rapini dish. Everyone enjoyed all the dishes. Despite being pretty full at this point, we rounded out the meal with two excellent desserts: the prosecco-sorbet dessert and the pistachio pot de creme. The table next to us also had what looked like a delicious blueberry upside down cake. Will have to try the next time.

On top of the great food, the restaurant is simply a fantastic space - fresh, welcoming, and charming. Music was spot on.

I didn't have a cocktail, but from watching the bar, it seems like the team knows what they're doing and that the cocktails will be a strong point.

Go, go, go!

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The media is effective. Yesterday it convinced me to do something that I have never done before: wait in a long line to be placed on a waiting list to eat dinner later on. And as luck would have it, we were 6 people too late so the best offer for our hour or so wait was to be placed on a call list in case some else earlier on the list cancelled. At that moment a new decision faced me, travel about a mile or so to the east or travel about a mile or so to the west. Spot to the west was a familiar one, place where I`ve been to more in the last few years than my parents' house and spot to the east was a new one, never been and frankly never heard too much of. My dining companion was driving and they chose the spot to the east. 

Nido from the outside looks like any other highly reviewed and highly followed restaurant. On the inside, it looks like it could be a page pinned hundreds of thousands of times on Pinterest for the search words "design", "restaurant", and "cool". Also, the location requires more courage to open than most neighborhoods in this city because it felt like there was virtually no foot traffic. So kudos to the owners for opening where they did. 

The menu is straightforward and balanced between small small plates to medium sized small plates. We ended up trying six different dishes and everything was well made. Shishito peppers and chicken thighs were my favorite dishes of the night. The service was friendly and attentive. Surprisingly I was too full to try any of the dessert selections but the option with pistachio cream and cookie caught my eye for next time. 

I never got a text from the other spot, which means no one cancelled from the wait list earlier but lucky for me I enjoyed a beautiful meal in a beautiful setting. I will be back to the spot that was to the west as well but I`m glad I met Nido and I look forward to return to her soon. 

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