The Darling Darlington

It's worth mentioning that this post is long overdue. Quite. But now that this blog has been revamped and up and running smoothly (more or less) - it's time.

The Darlington House is such a little gem and I am thankful to have stumbled upon it. Twice; once with a friend local to the area (he has since moved to New York) and again with a group. I suppose the second time wouldn't really be considered "stumbling upon", since I would already know it was there. But no matter.

The Darlington House takes its name from philanthropist Joseph Darlington, who built the now historic Row house as his residence in 1890. Located in the heart of Dupont Circle, this multi-level restaurant and bar owned by Fabio and Patricia Beggiato prides itself on serving "rustic yet refined Italian cooking using simple, fresh organic and sustainable ingredients."

The first visit was indeed memorable . . nice lemon drop martini, good Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Viridian 2006), wonderfully prepared food. It has been my experience that when I've been at the lone table in a restaurant, the service typically falls into one of two extremes: non-existent or over bearing. So though we were the first diners on what was proving to be an extremely quiet Sunday night, we were never over served or intruded upon. Yet our server and host were attentive when the need arose. A nice touch was Chef Alberto Baffoni visiting out table between courses.

The second visit had a different feel since I was part of a business dinner. Our party of ten was seated promptly with warmth and grace. ( I loathe when restaurants won't seat a party until all the guests have arrived) The maitre-d' remembered my previous visit and soon we were presented with Prosecco and Grilled Curry Prawn Canapes. Very much appreciated by our group. Big hits off the menu that night were the Tortelloni Stuffed with Butternut Squash in a Sage Butter Sauce and the Veal Saltimbocca in White Wine Sauce with sauteed zucchini and roast potatoes; both perfect for the cool weather that evening. We let our server select our individual wine pairings, and since each of us was having something different, this kept our server busy with choosing for both appetizers and entrees . . Meh, piece of cake.

The upstairs Dining Room and Circle Bar provide intimate tables in a relaxed atmosphere with soft muted colors, while the Library boasts a wonderful open floor plan suitable for cocktail receptions and wedding gatherings. In a plethora of ultra-chic-ultra-modern dining spaces, the comforting elegance, generous hospitality and sumptuous offerings of The Darlington House are not to be missed if your travels take you to Washington, DC.

The Darlington House is located at 1610 20th Street NW in Washington, DC. 202-332-3711. For more information and to check out their current menu, you can visit their website.

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