By: Stacey Viera
Fancy. That’s the first impression La Forchetta makes – from the sleekly tiled the main center bar/pizza oven to the palette of black, white and grey with major pops of orange to the black lacquer chandeliers to the presentation of each dish crafted by executive celeb chef Roberto Donna.
But is the food any good? Having heard mixed reviews from a food-loving friend who had already dined there twice, I was skeptical. And then I received an invite for dinner with a guest, so I grabbed my food blogger friend, Olga, and headed up Foxhall Road to the new restaurant in upper Northwest Washington.
We started with a glass of Prosecco and two appetizers. The fried zucchini flower stuffed with ricotta ($10.95) made me wonder if I really love zucchini flowers or do I love eating fried things stuffed with cheese? But seriously, accents of lemon lighten the dish and got the meal off on the right foot.
Next we sampled the burrata with slow roasted vine ripe tomato ($15.95). I’d heard about burrata before. A fresh mozzarella-type of cheese with a gooey heavy cream center? Sounds more like dessert than an appetizer! But I assure you, it’s worth trying at least once. Paired with the tomato, the dish felt less heavy than the description belies. Even on its own, the burrata felt silky, creamy and smooth on the tongue, and I couldn’t wait for the pasta dishes to arrive.
My back-of-the-napkin notes I’m using to write this piece tell me that the agnolotti ($18.95) struck me as “cheesy meaty pasta pillows.” Most of the pasta is made in house, and this dish made with veal, beef and pork arrived in a pool of butter. At first, this put me off, but I scooped the cheesy meaty pasta pillows out of the serving dish onto my plate with just the right coating of butter. Open mouth. Insert agnolotti. Close eyes. Savor. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Etc.
We tried two more main entrees. The calamerata ($19.95) is a calamari-shaped pasta with a chewy texture that the restaurant imports from Italy and is served with calamari, clams, mussels and shrimp. Delicious for the shellfish lover and definitely on the lighter side. The veal scallopini was a hearty dish of veal and eggplant. Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge portion, as we already approached a happy state of fullness.
Even when one is happily sated, one must always look at the dessert menu. And order the Hemisphere Tiramisu ($8.95). Finally! I met a tiramisu I liked! In the past, I expected tiramisu by the looks of it to taste like chocolate. When I took a bite and got an overwhelming coffee and/or liquor taste, I was turned off. But this! Oh, this! Caramelized hazelnuts and a small mug of fudge to drizzle on the dessert forced me to eat several more bites than I – or my full belly – anticipated.
Fancy. Located in a tony neighborhood just north of Glover Park, the gorgeous, sleek interior and polished presentation of dishes by Roberto Donna give no hint that the meal you’re about to enjoy is – come se dire in italiano? – down-home cooking.
DISCLOSURE: The restaurant treated me to this delicious meal, but that did not impact my opinions expressed in the article.
Have you eaten at La Forchetta? What’s your favorite dish?