Last night I took two friends out for dinner to thank them for looking after my dogs during a recent trip to Portugal (which was subject of another posting on the int'l board). Anyway, they chose a place on Dupont Circle that I think was called "Sentino's" or something like it. Based on our evening there, I think it is worth knowing about.
The restaurant seems to attract a largely young crowd, which is probably not surprising based on the location. It is resolutely Italianate in cuisine, with a fairly interesting range of pastas, pizzas and main courses. We shared a very interesting pizza with goat cheese, olives and caramelized onions as an appetizer and ordered a variety of pastas as our main courses. The one I chose, a dish called "fiocchi" that I was unfamiliar with, was easily my favorite of those we tried--it's little ravioli-esque pasta bundles filled with two kinds of cheese and pear. The pear was very subtle, but added a wonderful little 'something' to the flavor of the dish. And the sauce, a light creamy something, was also delectable. The gnocchi were also very good, as was their linguine with calamari. Desserts also were good, with the hazelnut chocolate cake of particular merit, and to my amazement they actually make a good cup of espresso!
The only drawbacks with our meal were that several dishes that my companions were tempted to order were no longer when we got there (around 8:30, so not all that late) and service, while very friendly and capable, was a bit slow. But we did not feel rushed at all, despite having a sought-after outside table. And the price of wine was a bit high for what they had (most of their wine is, to my mind, too young to be drinkable, as well), as were the dessert prices. But still, a nice alternative in the Dupont area.