Restaurants & Bars 1

Domenica

nomadchowwoman | Sep 5, 2009 12:23 PM

John Besh's Domenica has just opened, and we went and had, overall, a good experience but they are still working out kinks. Service was very friendly but slow; servers were knowledgeable.
This is not a typical New Orleans Italian restaurant, and people who go expecting that will no doubt leave disappointed (no veal parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken w/rosemary, variety of eggplant dishes, Italian salad, etc). But there are lots of choices, and one can do a relatively inexpensive casual meal if one sticks to pizza (fabulous thin-crust pies, from basic Margherita to one with chanterelles and a fried egg) and small plates. The polenta and meatballs in a small plate is delicious, rich, and pretty filling. Besides salads (butter lettuce and baby beets was a definite "wow"--utter expert simplicity) and apps (squash blossoms, wood-grilled shrimp are great choices) as small plates, the interesting selection of pasta/risotto dishes (one with their own house-cured guanciale, another with a rabbit ragu, risotto w/pancetta) all come in a choice of large or small plate, as do a few of the meat and fish selections. The contorni we had--the braised beans and the rapini--were excellent. They also offer a good selection of salumi and cheese, and the wine list is reasonably priced and easy to navigate. Desserts looked good, but we couldn't eat another bite. The food is hearty.
Try not to succumb to the Fritti Misti--basically a fried NO seafood platter (shrimp, oysters, soft-shell crab, calamari), well fried surely, but you can get that lots of places!
One thing we tried and weren't crazy about was the ravioli-like pasta w/chanterelles--with hardly any chanterelles, the dish was dominated, not in a good way, by pecorino romano, a cheese I ordinarily adore.
And I do wish they would lose the 2-foot high breadstick centerpieces: they are both distracting and unwieldy.
The restaurant itself is beautiful and very lively, maybe a tad loud. A "dressy-casual" sort of place: We saw folks at either end of that spectrum and of all ages dining or sitting at the bar.

If you do go, make sure to make time for a pre-dinner drink in the Sazerac Bar.
We will return and hope other CHs will try it. New Orleans needs a restaurant like this, and the Roosevelt needs this more casual counterpoint to its gorgeous grandeur.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound