Tom Sietsema got the first word on Alba Osteria, chef Roberto Donna's newest restaurant near Mount Vernon Square, one month ago. Now that the paper over the windows has come down, here's a first look at the vibrant new space.
The restaurant, which plans to open Dec. 30, will focus on the cuisine of Donna's heritage, the Piedmont region of Italy, with an emphasis on wine, cheeses, wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas and salumi. That pizza will come out of what Donna describes as "the Ferrari of ovens," the attractive beast you see below:
And for those who have grown weary of the small-plates trend, pastas will come in two sizes: regular meal-sized portions and Italian portions, which Donna describes as bigger than tapas, but still a small plate. The prices are appealing, too: Pizzas average around $14, and appetizers are between $6 and $9. There are four wines and 20 beers on tap. Happy hour, Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., will provide $4 draft beer, $5 select wines by the glass and complimentary mortadella.
With accents of reclaimed wood and fiery orange, the 117-seat dining room and 62-seat bar have an unusual history: their materials were reclaimed from a former crayon factory in Ohio. The restaurant's layout is segmented to create several spaces that would be ideal for hosting private parties.
Donna said that, other than showing off his native cuisine, he's most excited for the opportunities in an up-and-coming area.
"We're going to get a lot of younger people," the chef said. "We want to be a neighborhood restaurant."
Eventually, Donna will roll out a separate prix-fixe menu for a chef's table, as well as weekend brunch. Some highlights from the menu, as well as more photos, follow:
Alba Osteria, 425 I St, NW. 202-733-4454.