By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, May 18, 2013
Then: The city's most joyful Italian (2005)
Again: Merrily it coasts along
One of the hardest details for a restaurant to nail is consistency, which is why when I'm asked where to go for Italian, Al Tiramisu in Dupont Circle is usually on the tip of my tongue. Chances are good owner Luigi Diotaiuti is going to greet you in his starched white chef's jacket. The probability of hearing a list of specials as long as the standing menu -- but without any mention of prices -- from a dashing guide is strong, too.
The most moving part of the meal is likely the display of fresh fish and seafood, when the server introduces the soft-shell crab and the ingredient wiggles "hello." But you're here to eat. Pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta and brushed with sage-flecked butter sauce makes me glad to be here, and tender lamb chops seasoned with herbs and garlic are a good reason to make a reservation, too.
Al Tiramisu is noisy and cramped, and my last taste included merely okay gnocchi and veal Milanese. But the drinks were strong, the server teased my mom, and the grilled turbot with roasted potato and pared asparagus was simple perfection. I'll take it.