Italian restaurants can charm and soothe, even without their dining rooms
by Tom Sietsema, May 22, 2020
"...Everything I’ve eaten from her menu of late underscores the restaurant’s status as a Washington classic. The pork-and-beef meatballs burst with fresh herbs, which the owner calls her most-used ingredients. The grooves of the squid ink cavatelli, set off with pearly shrimp, catch delicious crumbles of fennel-laced sausage. Her minestrone, so thick with vegetables and beans you could eat it with a fork, salutes the season. Cheesecake — tiramisu’s rival for my affection here — rises high from its fine walnut crust.
Diners can capture even more of the restaurant’s magic by joining the I Ricchi Food Club. You can sign up for a single, themed, four-course dinner ($49 a person) or for a spread served as often as twice a week for a minimum of four weeks ($36 per person). Recent themes have included Piedmont (highlighting risotto), Rome (saltimbocca), the Riveria (halibut) — and they come with more than just something to eat. Ricchi adds a candle and sometimes little travel notes or movie suggestions. (She thinks “Roman Holiday” pairs well with a Roman feast.) The staycations appear to be catching on. In the first eight weeks, Ricchi says she has sold 2,000 meals through the club alone."
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