If you told me that there was a restaurant in town where I could get a delicious, savory 12-course meal for $55, I’d at least raise an eyebrow at you. But Casa Nonna in Dupont Circle is offering just that at their new in-house concept, Tavola 12.
The 12-seat tasting bar is available on Fridays and Saturdays and showcases executive chef Amy Brandwein’s culinary talent. You can leisurely sit at the bar while chatting with Amy, watching each course be prepared by the chef and listening to the chef explain each course. You can add wine pairings to the dinner for an extra $30 per person.
While the menu changes based on what the chef wants to prepare for the night, you’ll find a quick recap of some of the highlights I tasted at Tavola 12 after the jump.
‘Casa Nonna Tavola 12 – Terracotta baked octopus’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’
One of the dishes that easily stood out in my mind from the evening was the terracotta baked octopus. Tender octopus with just the slightest outer crunch and hint of spice complimented a petite potato confit. The other seafood dish I enjoyed was the black cod, which was seared perfectly and served with a light and creamy mustard sauce on a bed of pearl cous cous (pearl cous cous is a bigger grain. Think of it as cous cous’ fatter and less dry cousin).
Another highlight was the small plate of braised pork skin served over polenta. Imagine a piece of melt-in-your-mouth, smoky pork skin with a little tang and bite from a tomato sauce with hot pepper. For the pork lovers out there, this one’s for you.
I couldn’t narrow down my other favorites to just two, so my other picks include the cauliflower soup, braised rabbit with hand-twisted pasta and the pumpkin tortelli with a crispy fried sage leaf.
This smooth soup will make you love the cabbage descendant. Plus the slice of focaccia recco is a nice crispy touch. If you’ve had this bread at Casa Nonna before, you know how good it is with the little pockets of baked ricotta sprinkled in between the layers of the bread.
I have to say there isn’t much better than hand-twisted, homemade pasta. The ribbons of pasta with the tender, braised rabbit and briny kalamata olives are making my mouth water right now.
Lastly, the “little hats of pumpkin” pasta are a delicious combination of flavors that just compliment one another so easily: pumpkin, sage and amaretto (in the amaretti cookie lightly crumbled atop the tortelli). The amaretti cookie adds a nice, surprising crunch to the smooth pumpkin filling in the tortelli.
After 12 courses, you’ll not only have made a new friend in the kitchen at Casa Nonna, but you’ll be well-fed and within your budget. To make a reservation for a seat at Tavola 12 for an upcoming Friday or Saturday night, you can call the restaurant at 202-629-2505.