Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

September 3, 2011 11:54 AM

Restaurant: Al Tiramisu

Al Tiramisu

2014 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
I ate dinner at Al Tiramisu three times over a couple of weeks, first with Lee, Whitney and Debbie; then with Linda, John and Tom; and finally with Melissa and Melinda. I enjoyed each visit.

As you enter, the reception stand is to your right and to your left there is a bar with a half dozen stools.

While you can find lamb chops, rib eye steak, beef tenderloin, and chicken on the menu, this is primarily a fish and pasta restaurant.

As you browse the menu a server shows up with a large platter of various fish and, at this season, soft shell crabs. The server explains the various ways in which the fish can be prepared. In addition, there are usually special pasta dishes available.

Among the appetizers that were selected were grilled baby octopus with fingerling potato salad; grilled Portobello mushrooms with herbed goat cheese; sautéed sea scallops with mushrooms and field greens; breaded grilled calamari served on a bed of arugula; buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes and basil and mixed field greens.

On two occasions I selected whole grilled fish, which is one of my favorite preparation styles. On one visit I selected the grilled chicken breast with rosemary sauce. Others had a variety of fishes, from on and off the menu, and chicken breast.

Pasta dishes that I ate or sampled include Fettuccine with veal ragout; Linguine with clams, garlic and olive oil; and wide pasta with mushroom ragout. But my favorite was a special on one of my visits, the Risotto with lobster.

The only dessert that I tried was the Poached pear in red wine with vanilla ice cream, which was very much up to standard.

The restaurant serves 65 people at one seating, and tables may turn 3 times on a busy night. There are twos, fours and rounds up to six, so various seating combinations are possible. And, while the tables are relatively close together, the conversation from one table does not seem to intrude on the next table.

The servers are all men and obviously seasoned. They know their craft and they help to make the dining comfortable and easy.

The men’s room is relatively small, but certainly adequate. The floor and the wall behind the white ceramic commode is covered in large black tiles. There is a square white ceramic wash basin. The walls are multi-colored. The most interesting feature of the room is the shelves, which hold dozens and dozens of rolls of toilet paper, a guarantee that you will never run out.

Valet parking from 6-10 p.m. is available nightly, and there is good subway access.

This restaurant could easily become part of my rotation.

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