Review: La Forchetta
Washington, DC (July 15, 2012) – Roberto Donna has made his return to Washington, DC to open La Forchetta, a slightly hidden spot in the Cathedral Heights area. Roberto is a James Beard winner and twice DC “Chef of the Year”. From Torino (Turin) in Northern Italy, Chef Donna’s current cuisine spans Southern and all regions of his beloved country.
When you enter the restaurant, there are stacks of wood used in the restaurant’s pizza oven. The exhibition kitchen is set apart from the main dining room by a sculptural wall of orange panels providing a nice transition while allowing diners to see the action in the open kitchen. The focal point of the restaurant is the 800-pound pizza oven, set off with black and white tiles. Juno lighting, black chandeliers, charcoal dining tables with highly polished orange chairs from Italy, concrete countertops with fixed stools and stone accent wall complete the sleek space. Matt Norris, of Norris Design in Atlanta, transformed the 3,150-square-foot space into a modern, urban Italian trattoria.
La Forchetta can accommodate up to 116-seated guests in the main dining room and an outdoor patio can seat up to 30.
The dinner menu has such an expansive range of Italian cooking, it can be quite intimidating. The cocktail list has it’s mainstays, with “Italian” cosmos and other twists on classics. The wine list is study and the Planeta La Segreta Bianco 2010 is a refreshing but mature white table wine.
To start, there is prosciutto wrapped gorgonzola-stuffed dates with a honey balsamic drizzle that will really open your palette. Great flavors and good to share. Sausage skewers on the opposite side of the menu, like the duck sausage, grilled with shallots, apples, peppers and laid on a bed of polenta is another substantial item on the menu. A healthy delivery of bread is provided throughout the meal.
There are great variations of pasta on the menu. Try the Pappardelle, or wild boar ragu with parmigiano reggiano. This is tossed with thick ribbon pasta and served to you in a hot pasta bowl. The boar meat is smoky, sweet and tender and can hold a grip on the pasta.
Pizzas are made right in the center of the restaurant in a wood burning oven. Prosciutto Rucola is a nice light pizza with tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto crudo and rucola (arugula).
Desserts are notable, like the Cartoccio Siciliano, a slightly different take on the cannoli. Pastry dough is fried and served warm. This sweet soft dough is then filled with sweet ricotta cheese. Lemon and apricot sorbet made with an Italian Musso sorbet maker will deliver a soothing end to your meal.
If you are up in the American University area, 3201 New Mexico Avenue Northwest, give La Forchetta a try. Reasonably priced and a menu provided by an undisputed award winning chef, this is a great place to have dinner (and now brunch) on a casual weekend.