>So the other night there was a little gathering at a local spot and it was like a set-up for a lawyer joke waiting to happen. Like- how do you rid the world of lawyers? Hold an extended happy hour at Mezza Luna and then nuke the place. But we wouldn’t want to do that, because Mezza Luna rocks.
Mezza Luna is a little Italian bistro that opened in DC several months ago, with a soft whump! but has yet to really go live. They don’t even have a website, but you wouldn’t know it: CD who’s been talking it up for ages.
CD is a woman for whom they coined the word “vivacious”. Not only that but she is attractive, funny as all get out, a wikkid smaht lawyer chick by day who tends bar on weekends for fun. I could go on, but it’s about the food, baby, the food!
Anyhoo, CD’s law school buds, school friends, and assorted us’uns gathered to appreciate the cuisine stylins’ of Marco and his crew the other night. Due to the high volume of folks and CD’s charm, Marco was treating the lot of us to a tasting menu of tapas and dessert- all we had to do was order an entree and take advantage of an extended happy hour special on drinks. Not too shabby.
There were about 24 of us, so after a few drinks and mingling we claimed 3 tables in the empty restaurant/bar. Our bunch got a booth, which was cozy, in the back in a section set back from the rest of the dining area. The restaurant is done up in soft blues and whites; murals of the sea and artwork (mostly local artists) do a lot to contribute to the oceanic theme. Behind me on the wall was a wrought iron sculpture of a ship. I made sure it was firmly attached to the wall before I sat down.
The tapas consisted mostly of seafood dishes and fresh vegetables. After putting down baskets of sliced ciabata and something that looked like fried bread sticks with a creamy garlic sauce for dipping, the parade began.
There was beef carpaccio topped with a a sparky spinach and mescelun salad, fresh tuna and cannellini beans in a red pepper tortilla, a tomato and mozzarella salad (the tomatoes were a bit pale, but it was still delicious), skewered chicken chunks wrapped in bacon and served over a creamy mushroom risotto, tender gnocchi, and duck ragout. There were also several kinds of mezzaluna style ravioli- the moon-shaped pasta wrapped around cheese, mushrooms or beef. The pasta was al dente and each filling was flavorful and worth stabbing a tablemate with a fork for to get another bite.
The entree was a toughie- I wanted the Chilean Sea Bass, but my wallet said, “Um, no sweetie. Not this time.” So I had the Papardella Ponte Vecchio: wide noodles with a ragout of rabbit.
My only complaint is that I was once again seated behind a bowl o’ food- it looked like something I threw together in a saucepan and tossed into a dish, which is anathema to someone who likes a well presented plate. That said, the chunks of rabbit were deliciously sauteed in a touch of garlic and browned butter, sprinkled with fresh parmesan and devoured with pleasure.
After that came the dessert promenade. After it made the rounds of the table, I laid claim to a smooth, molded, dark chocolate mousse topped with shredded coconut and reclining in a sea of orange sauce and garnished with orange slices.
There was also a milky panna cotta garnished with balsamic soaked strawberries and sliced almonds- the subtle sweetness of the panna cotta played well with the balsamic vinegar. I was particularly interested in this dish thanks to a recent post by one of my favorite bloggers.
A petit baba rum topped with cream, a plate of almond-studded biscotti and small macaroons, and a tiramisu that Ray got into just as I was snapping a shot completed the spread. I tried to get a bit of everything.
It was an amazing meal. So amazing that when they announced that they had split the bar bill equally among us (darn those hard drinkin’ lawyers) I did not bat an eye. Well, there was a little batting, but thems the breaks.
The pictures, by the way, do not do the food any justice.
The best way to get in touch with the fine folks at Mezza Luna is to call 202-429-8889 as their website is not up yet.
They are on 1140 19th St. NW Washington, DC 20036 – a few blocks down from Farragut North station on the red line between L&M Streets.