Monday, April 7, 2008


Low-grade, entirely superfluous instances of unfairness are a particularly grating brand of the annoying. Not content with having two of my favorite restaurants (El Chalan and Kaz Sushi Bistro) around the corner from my gym, I had to try Primi Piatti tonight to add to the culinary minefield that seeks to undo my half-hearted efforts to work out. Mr. Savino Recine's fine Italian establishment has been there for over 20 years. Until tonight, I had persistently walked past it several times a week. I had heard good things about the food and the outside seating always seemed pleasant, but nothing particularly exciting. I chose this place for its location and because I needed some jet-lag appropriate food.

My out of town dinner companions wanted beer but the selections (Moretti, Bud Light, Heineken and Corona) was not to their liking - no Sam Adams or Peroni. We had a surprisingly good Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I did not order it, so I'll have to go back and figure out what winery it came from. For a first course we ordered a crostini with ricotta cheese that came with slices of pepperoni at room temperature. The cheese had a wonderful texture - firm but creamy. I seldom have ricotta as a stand alone, but it was a perfect counterpoint to the crunch of the bread and the slight fire of the meat. For a hot appetizer we had Mozarella In Carroza, a lightly fried mozzarella cheese with whole wheat bread and flavored with anchovy-caper sauce. Though there was no meat, the consistency reminded me of a croque monsieur. The sauce gave it a good amount of seasoning without competing with the cheese.

Though Primi Piatti is famous for its pizzas, we opted for pastas and a Veal Scaloppini. The veal came with a light sauce of marsala wine, oyster mushrooms and thyme, with a side of sauteed spinach. The fettuccini came with mixed wild mushrooms and was perfectly cooked. I had the Tonnarelli, a Roman specialty consisting of thick fettuccini with sea scallops flavored with spicy tomato sauce. I will order pretty much any dish with scallops, but this was a pleasant surprise. The sauce was acidic enough to complement the taste of the scallops and the pasta cooked to the point were the textures could be differentiated while eating. I don't think I've seen this on any other menu in DC, and I really enjoyed it.

The portions are quite generous, so we skipped dessert. If the pictures on the wall are any indication, I'll have to go back for the sweets and the magic shows.

Primi Piatti
2013 I St NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 223-3600
Primi Piatti on Urbanspoon

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