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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Floriana

Shorter version appeared originally on Borderstan

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle

The Setup


Conservatively, I must have walked by it hundreds of times with the same thought; oh, we should eat there soon. And yet, after eight years in the city, it was only a few weeks ago that Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas finally walked into the converted house that is Floriana.

The Vibe


The scene is new but strangely known: the wide open-air patio; the worn wooden floors; the overarching feeling of crimson throughout the restaurant’s color scheme like the awning above the front door. Where the outside is relaxed (and during Pride Parade weekend, colorful), the inside is more upscale, with cream crown moldings framing vermilion walls, and trim drapes adding to the dim light level.

Tables are stacked close and the inside is quite full, leading to quite an ample noise level. On some level, it feels much like what eating inside someone’s historic townhome dining room and living room would be like. Heck, our table was even next to the fireplace. What’s more, service is warm and helpful: our waiter, recommending a delicious Four Graces pinot noir from Willamette for that Sunday’s half-off all wine special. 

The Food

The decor sets the mood and reflects the restaurant’s cuisine, similarly rustic and familiar yet refined. On this trip, while Texas ordered straight up, I indulged in a Restaurant Week extension, which helped us taste more of the kitchen’s offerings. To start, I had a bowl of little neck clams and pancetta with capers and heirloom cherry tomatoes in a white wine sauce. The overall taste was a hair salty, with each component adding additional salinity to the pancetta. But it was still a solid contrast of flavors with excellent balance, and a decent representation of a classic dish.

For her main meal, Texas ordered gnocchi in a braised wild boar ragu. The potato pasta pieces were pillowy, soft and just the right texture of fluffy with decent flavor. They were submerged in the sauce, which was sharp with overall pleasing gamey notes. I had the scallop and shrimp risotto, which blended creamy mascarpone and a hint of white truffle oil. The divers were crusty and sweet with a wonderful caramelized edge. Plus, the chefs did us a solid by shelling and de-tailing the shrimp.

For dessert, we ordered the tiramisu, which came with the descriptor, “one of the best in the city." Maybe it wasn't life changing; but it was definitely a solid bite of sweetness and rich coffee flavor.

The Verdict


A solid neighborhood spot definitely worth a visit.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 4 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Bar Rating:
N/A
Vibe:
Calm to chatty
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)
Pairing
: If you're still peckish afterwards, head to Taste of DC on October 6-8th at the Ronald Reagan Building.

Floriana on Urbanspoon

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