Restaurant Week is in full bloom here in DC.
Last night I had 7:00 p.m. dinner reservations for three at Filomena’s in Georgetown. Apparently so did the other 30 people crowded around the host station. After I checked in, I fought my way through the swarm waiting for tables to find my two friends huddled at one end of the small bar.
We spent the better part of 30 minutes talking about the decor. Mirrored walls reflected images of the other diners and their heaping plates of food. Doilies marked individual place settings and I was reminded of my Portuguese grandmother’s formal dining room. It looked like the type of restaurant the Corleone family would use to launder their mafioso money… an attempt by a traditional Italian family to create an upscale dining environment so the family dons could do business in a backroom behind the kitchen.
Once we settled into our corner table, the decor faded into the background as we focused on the aromas and presentation of the dishes around us.
Everything the waiter delivered was divine — from the bread basket to the dessert. First he brought small ramekins of various spices for the olive oil. Then he poured the chianti and left us to dip the various warm breads in the spicy oil concoctions we created. Next he dropped off the appetisers… sausage stuffed mushrooms in a cheese sauce for Karen, a garden salad topped with cheeses and strawberries for Lisa, and a heavenly brushetta for me.
I think I moaned out loud when I tried my grilled tuna steak in lemon sauce. Lisa ordered the same thing and the expression on her face captured exactly how I felt. I could die happy. And Karen’s platter of gnocchi could have easily fed a family of four.
As our dinner plates were cleared away, another waiter dropped off two lead crystal decanters filled with Amaretto and Sambuca, followed by three enormous slices of various chocolate mouselike cakes. The three of us could have easily split one of the slices and been more than satisfied.
We lingered over our aperitifs (I drank the Amaretto because I hate licorice) and our cakes and finally wobbled homeward at 11:00 p.m.
The cuisine and service turned out to be well worth that long wait for a table. I definitely plan to dine at Filomena’s again in the future.
* * * If you plan to try Filomena’s, I recommend calling ahead to make a reservation. The portions are large so it’s best to go on an empty stomach to better appreciate all the fine food you’ll be shoveling into your mouth.