Monday, October 15, 2007

Review - Notti Bianche

I've always dreamt about opening up a little Italian restaurant. Something small, cozy, and serving something other than Olive Garden style food. It's not perfect, but Notti Bianche is the closest I've seen to what I'd want.

Located downstairs at the George Washington University Inn, Notti Bianche has only forty-two seats and has more of a feel of a large dining room than a restaurant. The bar is in the back, tucked away behind the kitchen - which allows the dining room to be a separate and quieter entity.

The kitchen, headed up by Brendan Cox (also of Circle Bistro) does a great job of using fresh, simple, seasonal ingredients to really highlight their strengths.

Among the highlights on the menu that I had was a black sea bass on a bed of crispy shaved fennel, and a massive (this must have been some bird) piece of foie gras atop pears with the best balsamico I've ever had.

Also, kudos to Pastry Chef Peter Brett who put together a great spread of desserts, including wonderful cookies and chocolates.

However, some things fell a bit flat - the risotto mantecato with Long Island duck "bolognese" wasn't memorable, and the organic vegetables seemed a bit random.

Overall there's a lot to like about Notti Bianche. The atmosphere is very comfortable and the food is solid - I think one of the biggest compliments anyone can give a restaurant is to say that they'd want to open a place just like it - it just might be time to open up a savings account.

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