Nonna’s kitchen (Fine Italian Dining) Opens Above Alphonse Tonight on U Street

1212 U Street, NW

Nonna’s Kitchen (above Alphonse Italian Market & Osteria) website says:

“Nonna’s Kitchen was created to invite our guests to feel like they are stepping right into the rustic kitchen of an Italian Grandmother. The cuisine will represent the different regions of Italy through Chef-inspired tasting menus, complete with wine pairings and suggested classic cocktail selections. The menu will change monthly. Adding to the at-home experience the guest will be able to watch their food be artfully crafted inside Nonna’s kitchen, where they will be encouraged to ask questions and become educated about the ingredients.

Nonna Hours:

Tuesday – Thursday 5:00-10:00
Friday – Saturday 5:00 – 11:00”

I’m told they will be “offering 20% off while until the November 25th”. More details from their full press release:

Nonna’s Kitchen Press Release (PDF)

Photo via Alphone’s facebook

10 Comment

  • Hopefully, it is an improvement from the first floor level. Over-priced, small portions, mediocre food…

    • Honestly, small portions of Italian food is the worst. When you go to Italy and have a meal, you do NOT leave hungry. Not sure why these new American Italian places are so meager with the portions. Actually, I do. It’s to get the average bill size up and keep costs down. But pasta (even fresh made) is not one of the more expensive ingredients, so it’s galling to have an app sized portion.

  • Absolutely. Is this from the same owners as Alphonse? If so not thanks, I can make better meals at home and avoid the confused, overpriced experience.

  • The food is decent/ok, but portions are small. Italian food should be a tad bigger, but that’s just my opinion. I’m hoping they eventually realize that spending a bit more on portion size will earn them good will and more business. They invested a ton of money in that property, it would be a shame to see it close down.

  • Not sure what the hate for Alphonse is. Only tried it once, but thought it was pretty good for what it’s trying to be. Wasn’t expensive compared to some of the other places around dc. I definitely did not leave hungry, but maybe that is because the staff gave us a free app and a free dessert just to try. I liked everything I had except for the pork belly app which was just too thickly cut for the preparation they were using. The pastas were good, the octopus was good, I remember the deserts being good but I forget what I got. The cannoli’s we got to take home were also pretty good. They are definitely trying to become a neighborhood place rather than a destination place—maybe upstairs will be the destination place.

    The pasta is not as good as Red Hen, Rose’s, Casa Luca etc, but they also aren’t trying to play in that class and aren’t charging as much so don’t expect it to be. I have still not made it to Lupo Verde but I imagine that is what their competition is. For a place that is two blocks away, I came away reasonable happy that it had joined the neighborhood, and I will be going back.

    • Pastas at Alphonse are $12-17. Pastas at Graffiato are $11-13 and significantly better. Pastas at Red Hen are $17. The latter two options are way better for cost and ambiance. Hell, Pasta Mia is like $15 for ten times the pasta and it tastes better (not to mention better wine deals). I can make better pasta dishes with boxed pasta for less than they are charging, that is why people don’t like it. Plus the service is sucks. Besides, you arent even enthusiastic about it. Everything is “good.” In a city that has better and better restaurants every day, you have to bring it or you will soon be forgotten.

    • Sure, if every meal included a free app and a free dessert then the value changes quite a bit. My experience was quite different — mediocre food and tiny/expensive portions. I will say that the service was pretty good, but that’s not enough to make me go back. Too many choices out there and I work way too hard (don’t we all, really?) to spend money returning to a place that I didn’t like to begin with.

  • I’m not sure about Alphonse (I’ve never eaten there) but I did try out Nonna’s kitchen on their second night and it was outstanding. It didn’t seem like we were eating in a restaurant that had just opened, the food was phenomenal. Well thought out dishes, beautifully plated on antique china plates with charming mismatched antique silverware was like getting a show on your dish as you ate. My favorites were the Wild Boar Ragu with freshly grated black truffles, and the Swordfish Crudo. As I understand it, Chef Justus Frank was the former Executive Chef of Fiola and the food certainly reflects that if not improves upon the fine Italian dining on Pennsylvania Ave. And as for “confused service” like I said I have never eaten at Alphonse but the service at Nonna’s Kitchen is timed perfectly and executed at a level you may expect to find at Marcel’s or something of the like. So to sum it up Nonna’s was a five star experience for me and my wife, and they certainly achieve the illusion that you are no longer on U street, but in an Italian grandmother’s home.

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