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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Peachy's Picks Washington, D.C.: Darlington House Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Owners Fabio and Patricia Beggiato

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 One of the most delightful new people we met on our last jaunt to Washington was Patricia Beggiato, co-owner of Darlington House along with her husband, Fabio.  Of course, we go to Washington to dine with our favorites that wow us every single trip, Billy Martin and Ashok Bajaj, but we also love making new friends everywhere we go.  Though many days Peachy Deegan does double for the energizer bunny, some days she cannot and then relies upon one of her very best friends, caffeine.  Patricia presented us with some lovely coffee to start.
The moment we walked in the door, Patricia greeted us and clearly put a lot of thought into the review and what she thought we might want to try.  She suggested the delicious, welcoming Charcuterie Platter.
When we meet people for the first time, sometimes we believe that perhaps they are not the kind of people with a restaurant sensibility from personality to good taste to business acumen; Patricia and Fabio confirmed they are in this business to win it by their actions and our observations.  Darlington House changes their menu four times a year and sometimes six.  Their venue has three levels including fine dining, which we experienced, down to a pub downstairs.  Fabio hails from Italy and Patricia is both Italian and Japanese.

 Black label prosciutto, mortadella, coppa, salame calabrese, cerignola olives (Peachy loved these!) and Parmigiano arrived with pizza bianca.  Each component was fresh and wonderful, and this is a great beginning.
 We were also welcomed with a superlative Bellini, evocative of that spot on 42nd street not far from Grand Central...and they add a touch of Campari to the peach nectar at Darlington House.
 When she goes to a new spot, Peachy often likes to order a standard to see how she likes the incarnation new to her.  The eggplant parmigianao hit the spot!  The eggplant was sliced just right.  Joined by mozzarella, parmesean cheese and basil with a fresh tomato sauce, this was a great appetizer with color and flavor that payed homage to the standard.

For our pasta course, we opted for another classic: Tagliolini.   Amatriciana with bacon, red onions and fresh tomatoes was another flavorful combination that celebrated one of our most favorite comfort foods.  Actually, two when you count bacon.  And as far as wine goes, you know we love a robust Italian red.  Earlier this year, we even were included by the Italian Trade Commission in Vino 2015.

We enjoyed the Le Muraie, Valplicella Ripasso 2009, which was a bold companion to our edibles that added the depth and full flavor we seek.  There is a definite Italian emphasis on the wine list at Darlington House of course.
 Peachy is a definite advocate of poisson, and to that end she chose the Salmone entree: wild grilled alaskan salmon in a pinot grigio sauce over a bed of lentils and spinach.  The fresh fish slice was accompanied by one of the healthiest selections we've seen, which is a big plus.  And better yet, the taste was terrific!   Healthy is not always or often as appealing as this.
 The devil on Peachy's shoulder stepped up to compensate for the previous course when it came to dessert: Darlington House specializes in Bomboloni, above, and Tiramisu, below.  The homemade donut holes arrive with both caramel and chocolate dipping sauces, and the classic Tiramisu was wonderful with its espresso, mascarpone cream and cocoa dust.

Our esteemed panelist adds:
Located in Dupont Circle in a historic mansion, Darlington House is a treat! Its Italian-inspired menu features organic and local ingredients and is changed several times a year. The hosts and waitstaff are all incredibly friendly and accommodating, suggesting specialties and helping avoid food sensitivities. 
For the antipasti course, I tried their fantastic Mela salad – organic greens, gorgonzola cheese, apples, candied walnuts, served with a light vinaigrette. It was incredibly refreshing! The greens were fresh and freshly dressed… no wilting here! The light vinaigrette highlighted the greens without overpowering them. I don’t normally appreciate gorgonzola, but it was deliciously creamy and full of flavor, just as you’d expect. The entire salad was wonderful, light and refreshing, and the candied walnuts brought in a perfect touch of seasonality.
I LOVE a great risotto, so for the pasta course, I couldn’t pass up the fresh-made Risotto del Giorno. It was a shrimp and asparagus risotto. Delicious and creamy. It had slight touches of lemon and of tomato, which highlighted all the flavors delightfully. Both the shrimp and the asparagus were exactly how I like them (and how they should be), tender, firm and delicious!
For my main course, I enjoyed the Scaloppine di Vitello, simply described on the menu as the veal scaloppini of the day. It was a veal picatta with garlic sautéed spinach. Delicious! The veal was a huge treat. Veal is one of those things that I enjoy, but don’t cook at home, so I was looking forward to trying it. 
 The veal was flavorful and tender and the lemon-caper sauce light and a great highlight to the meat. The accompanying sautéed spinach was perfectly done and full of flavor. SUCH a treat!  I enjoyed this wine with my meal:
For dessert, I got to sample two of their signature offerings: “Bomboloni” and tiramisu. The Bomboloni was homemade donut holes with caramel and chocolate dipping sauces. I usually think of uber-sweetness when I think of donut holes, but these were lightly fried pastries, just waiting to be dipped in the accompanying sauces. I enjoyed both of them, but the caramel was my favorite. It was rich and sweet and full of delicious caramel flavor. I can’t wait to have more. 
Every Italian restaurant needs to offer tiramisu, but it’s not always as much of a treat as Darlington House’s delicious tiramisu. It had all the right flavors and textures – from the ladyfingers to the espresso to the cream – amazing! This was a great ending to my meal!
Peachy Picks Darlington House!
Darlington House is Recommended by Whom You Know.

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