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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Etto

Plaudits: Washington Post 2013 Fall Dining Guide
Neighborhood: 14th Street/Logan Circle

The Setup


First, there was Bachelor Party, Part One. Then there was Bachelor Party, Part Two: dinner at Etto with Official Friends of DCWD Shawn and HR Intern.

The Vibe


Etto comes from the same folks behind 2 Amy's (and incidentally, also the Garden District formerly known as Standard), which accounts for its interior; as Official Wife of DCWD Texas put it as we walked by the other night, "Wow, that basically just looks like a carbon copy of the back half of 2 Amy's. On side of the small space is a bar, with space for maybe ten patrons (and that might be generous). It's a bright space with birch-colored wood lining white walls, shelves of bread and a countertop of prepared of foods to one side. Behind a small divider lies the rest of the dinner space: simple wooden two- and four-tops set alongside exposed brick and framed pictures of salami. The physical space is small, which accounts for the heavy wait time unless you arrive early or dine late.

The Food


Our goal was to sample a smattering of things, starting with a round of cocktails. Etto's bar offerings are light in this regard; Shawn's request to play bartender's choice is met with the response that there aren't really enough spirits and liquors for the bartender to play with. No matter - we each enjoy one of three listed cocktails, among them a temptation bourbon/earl grey mix; a lambrusco wine/grapefruit juice blend; and a house negroni.

Like 2 Amy's backbar, the menu is straightforward: charcuterie, small bites, and pizza. We order in that fashion, starting with a healthy plate of chorizo, mortadella, and Iberian ham slices, along with some prosciutto di parma. Paired with a burrata and some house-salted marcona almonds, the charcuterie sings with exquisite simplicity, with the nuttiness of the mortadella, the spice of the chorizo, and the wondrous fat and salt of the prosciutto standing out in my memory.

Beyond that, we order a sausage and friarelli pizza, a mozzarella-based pizza topped with generous chunks of meat and bitter greens. For those that have indulged in the 2 Amy's pizza, this will be familiar: the thin crust which requires folding or forks, replete with stone-oven bubbles and blackened spots; the restraint on sauce and cheese. It's not my favorite pizza I've ever had (one might argue, not even my favorite on the street) but it's a good bite on this night.

The Verdict


I've read many reviews of Etto which lavish incredible praise on the place. I can see where it sparkles, but it wasn't mindblowing in any way. Just solid.

Food Rating: *** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Quiet Drinks
Vibe:
Noisy
Cost:
$$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)
Pairing
: Lost in the restaurant boom of 14th Street is that there are a lot of cute shops on the strip as well, including one of our window shopping favorites Timothy Paul. Duck in.

Etto on Urbanspoon

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