Chef’s tables and those fancy molecular gastronomy dinners are all the rage. They’re good. But sometimes you need some non-deconstructed dish without 24 ingredients. And please don’t mess up Italian food by getting to fancy. Well, Italian restaurant Casa Nonna is doing just that with its 12-course tasting menu, Tavola 12. The brainchild of executive chef Amy Brandwein, the menu offers unique dishes such as Cannolicchi Agrumi (Gratin of Razor Clam with Citrus Pecorino Crumb), Tortelli di Cremona (Little Hats of Pumpkin with Butter and Sage), Polpo alla Pignata (Terracotta Roasted Baby Octopus), and Piccione allo Spiedo (Roasted Wood Squab with Pancetta, Poached Pear, and Sage), each with a different wine pairing. But don’t set your hopes on any particular dish– the menu is designed to change in accordance with the chef’s mood. And when we tried the tasting, her mood must have been very very delicious. We enjoyed the open kitchen setting that was still part of the bustling main restaurant.
Twelve seems to be the magic number for Casa Nonna’s tasting menu. In addition to the menu’s twelve courses, the meal is only served at a twelve-person bar in front of the kitchen, so be sure to reserve your spot well in advance. Weekday gourmands beware– the meal is only served on Friday and Saturday nights. Too many chef’s table in the city put you in a private room– Casa Nonna’s is situated in the heart of the venue, so you can absorb the ambiance while taking Brandwein’s tasting journey.
Another nice aspect of the tasting menu is the cost. Don’t expect a $300+ molecular charge here– the Tavola 12 menu is reasonable at $55 per person, with an additional $30 for wine pairings. Speaking of which, GM Adam Sanders has done a laudable job choosing the right combination of fine varietals to accentuate Brandwein’s shifting, evolving and creative menu items.
For more information and to make reservations, click here. 1250 Connecticut Ave NW, (between N Jefferson Pl & N 18th St), Washington, DC 20036. (202) 629-2505