A short train hop from Baltimore delivered me into the welcoming arms of the nation’s capital for a few days of monument viewing and the usual culinary explorations.
Aside from a booking at 1 Michelin star Komi, I didn’t have much planned but unlike several other places I’ve visited I found very good availability at some of the city’s more celebrated eateries meaning that I started my adventures with a trip to Bresca on 14th Street.
It also holds a Michelin star having been awarded it in the most recently published Guide.
I found the place busy with a buzzing Sunday crowd which thinned out as I dined, people clearly favouring an early Sunday night ahead of the working week.
I was brought food, wine and cocktail menus and left to consider. As with many DC eateries, the style was an extensive list of starter/sharing plates with a few main courses designed for sharing between a table of two to four people. This meant my attention was on the starter section which was no bad thing.
The recommendation was for 2-3 dishes per person but I was solidly hooked in by four plates so just dived in and ordered them all.
They were the torched mackerel, the foie gras and waffles, broccoli pierogi and burrata with squash. I left my outstanding waitress to choose some suitable wines to accompany this selection.
I started with an excellent cocktail called Putting Out Fire. It was a splendid blend of mezcal, smoked pineapple and amaro. This was preceded with an absolutely bangin’ amuse bouche cocktail of salted apple shrub, amontillado sherry and pandan. It was seriously stellar.
The food maintained the high bar set by the cocktails. The torched mackerel was served with grape and serrano chilli, with a verbena and coconut broth added at the table. This was a dish of excellent balance with the chilli packed with complexity of flavour beyond just simple heat and the fish beautifully fresh.
The burrata and squash with black truffle and walnuts was another dish of really enjoyable textural and flavour complexity. It put me in mind of other dishes along these lines I’d had at Il Buco and Simone, and compared very favourably.
The broccoli pierogi came next and were simple with excellent freshness. There was good craftsmanship at play with the dumplings.
The standout dish of the day was the foie gras and waffles. The foie gras was served with an excellent fermented banana sauce and the outstanding waffles were served on a fantastic goose feet plate. It was an exceptional dish.
Throughout, the matched drinks were excellent. There was Sicilian fiano with the first two dishes, a Languedoc rosé blend with the pierogi, and oloroso with the foie gras. Things were rounded out with some high quality French press coffee.
Overall, Bresca was an asbolute joy. It served me my best meal in the US so far and with its strong cocktail emphasis was very close to my ideal restaurant. It’s the kind of place I’d really enjoying introducing people to, so if you find yourself in DC anytime soon give me a ring and I’ll jump on a plane.
Blythe scores Bresca
5/5 for food
4.5/5 for presentation
5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 18.5/20
I ate: mackerel micuit, burrata and squash, broccoli pierogi, foie gras and waffles,
I drank: salted apple shrub, amontillado sherry, pandan amuse cocktail; Putting Out Fire (mezcal, smoked pineapple, amaro, lime, serrano), white wine, rosé wine, water, coffee
I wore: blue jacket
Total bill: $135.30
Address: 1906 14th Street, DC 20009