Monday, January 31, 2011

Restaurant Review: Casa Nonna

I went to Casa Nonna the first Monday of Restaurant Week and it also happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Walking up to its corner location pn Connecticut Avenue brought back the memories of passing by the California Pizza Kitchen that used to be there. It wasn't that I frequented CPK, it was just always a place I'd somehow end up at and could easily find my way home after getting lost in DC countless times.

A friend and I walked in and the first thing I noticed was it didn't seem all that busy for a restaurant located in Dupont Circle and especially not one that was participating in the much awaited Restaurant Week. Later I realized it was probably due to the freezing rain that was in the forecast. Guess I didn't pay attention to that.
Fast forward, we were seated in one of their many dining alcoves. We were surrounded by about 5-6 other couples. I liked the way our area was sectioned off, which made it seem more intimate than if they would have had a huge open dining area. Our waiter was very attentive and did an excellence job of explaining everything to my friend and I.

I'd checked out the regular menu and the Restaurant Week menu prior to getting there so I was ready to order as soon as we were seated. I ordered a Blood Orange Margherita (margarita) for my cocktail. I liked the sweet and sourness of it but it didn't have much alcohol in it.

Our meal began with a complimentary Antipasti dish, it consisted of eggplant, ricotta and prosciutto. I'm not usually a fan of eggplant but it was made into a delicious sauce with the ricotta sprinkled on top and it went well with the toasted bread they gave us. We ended up eating every last morsel.

For my first course, I ordered the potato gnocchi (pronounced Noh-key, I always forget how to say it). I still can't get over how much melted gorgonzola and parmesan cheese it had in it. It was so good but too rich for me to eat it in one seating. Our waiter came over, looked at the dish and then me and said I'll wrap that up for you. Let me just say, it was even better when it was reheated.

Next, I had the Braised Pork Shank served with mustard greens and mashed potatoes. The pork was super tender and was well-seasoned. Since it was a shank cut, there really wasn't much that much meat. I'm a slow eater but I'd say I was done eating it in less than 3 minutes including the mashed potatoes.

Lastly, I had the tiramisu. I wouldn't say it was the best I've ever had but it was quite delicious and I fell in love with its presentation.
Overall, my experience at Casa Nonna was a pleasant one. I definitely have it on my list of places to go back to.
Food A
Ambiance A
Service A
Casa Nonna
1250 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 629-2505


  1. Looks delish!
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  2. A friend wanted to take me out to a nice lunch, so she took me to this place yesterday. To start off with, the menu was very confusing and it was hard to tell exactly what was in each dish or how it was made. Since EVERYTHING was so freaking expensive, I decided to get the CAVATELLI AL RAGU DI MAIALE, which was described as "Ricotta Dumplings, Pork Ragu, Ricotta Salata". It was $18 ... one of the cheaper entree items (And that was a lunch price. I can't even imagine paying higher dinner prices!). My friend got the same thing. Neither of us were impressed with this dish at all.

    I was thinking this dish would be a saucy ragu over pasta with some ricotta in it, but it was far from that. The Ricotta dumpling was the actual pasta and it did not taste anything like ricotta at all. In fact it was very, very bland. The pork "ragu" was simply some pieces of very plain pulled pork tossed in, with no sauce at all. I also got a huge piece of pork fat as well, and did not realize it until it was in my mouth, and it was gross beyond belief. There was no sauce at all on the dish that I tasted, except maybe some pork fat. I have no idea what "Ricotta Salata" means, but there was no taste of ricotta at all in the dish. You would think that in mentioning Ricotta twice... it would have some of that taste in the dish. Complete FAIL.

    On top of this all, the portion was very, very small, and there was nothing that came with the entree either, like a small side salad. I don't mind small portions if the food is outstanding, but it just wasn't. It was not even very good. It was just very so-so. Even Macaroni Grill has better pasta dishes than this!

    They served some flat/cracker like bread, but it was heavily covered in red pepper. There was loose whole rosemary leaves on top too, but you couldn't taste it as it would just fall off when you picked up a slice, so it was likely just for decoration. The bread did not taste very good at all either, and there was seriously far too much red pepper on it to taste anything but the pepper. Another FAIL. (photo here -

    After tax and tip, my friend ended up paying $50 for a lunch of two extremely small bowls of very bland pasta and one soda. She expressed how upset she was over the whole thing a day later, and that is why I am here posting this, because nobody should be made to feel this way when they go out to a restaurant. The fact that this place had such crappy food and raped my friends pocket and upset her so much, upsets me! I will never recommend this place to anyone. However, if you are a masochist and like feeling taken advantage of... go for it.

    Another day has passed and my friend is still upset by our negative experience with this restaurant, because she feels so cheated / scammed. I can't say I blame her either, and it makes me angry at this place for robbing people and treating them this way.