So far I’ve written about new places, or at least places that are “new” to me. Al Tiramisu is different. It’s been around for 15 years (for good reason) and I’ve been there many times before. The first few years I lived in DC, I often dined at Al Tiramisu. Suddenly, I just stopped going. Come to think of it, I began avoiding all Italian eateries period. I’m really not sure why, but I think the timing may have coincided with following a low-carb diet. (Darn you South Beach and Adkins!) Last night, I became re-acquainted with Al Tiramisu after a long sabbatical thanks to my friend who chose it as the venue for her birthday dinner.For those that have yet to try it, you really should. Italians seem to like this place, which is always a good sign.
The small dining room is cozy, comforting, and welcoming. Our waiter was superb. He was very knowledgeable, offered suggestions without seeming pushy, and treated us like we were part of the family. I started with one of my favorite Italian cheeses — burrata. Burrata is basically a combination of fresh mozzarella with extra cream. A heaping, soft pillow of burrata was served on a bed of frisee with sliced pears and a balsamic reduction. Buttery and creamy yet light and airy — it was a great summery start to the meal. When I used to be a regular at Al Tiramisu, I would always get the gnocchi. This place has the best gnocchi. I’m currently on the no pasta wagon since I have to look good in my bridesmaid dress next week. So, I reluctantly decided to forego pasta and go straight to “I Secondi”.
I have no regrets. I opted for one of the specials: a veal chop prepared with a port wine and fig reduction. It came with a dollop of creamy polenta and a small serving of braised greens. Both the polenta and the greens were tasty. The small portions of each were indicative of the fact that they were a mere footnote to the dish. (May I have more footnote please??) The real star was the massive veal chop that appeared on the center of the plate with a crisp, white paper crown placed on the tip. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned. It was so juicy and flavorful, I had to restrain myself from picking it up with both hands and going to town. I mean I had serious concerns that I may have overlooked a piece of meat as I worked my way through it with a knife and fork.
My friends each had a half portion of the mushroom risotto, which they seemed to really enjoy and the birthday girl had the Orata, a Mediterranean fish that is known by different names depending on which country you’re in. In Greece, it’s called “tsipoura.” It’s a heavier, oilier fish that is quite tasty. Al Tiramisu uses a traditional Mediterranean preparation — grilled whole, filleted, and dressed with lemon and olive oil.
We ended our meal with tiramisu which was awesome. So, kids, I urge you to add Al Tiramisu to the rotation.