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The afterward analysis appears in The Washington Post’s 2019 Spring Dining Guide.
I’m Eddie Cano
Say the name fast. What should cycle off your argot is article abutting to the way an Italian apostle would say “I’m American.” Whatever. There’s no Eddie in the house, but there is a James, as in Gee, and he’s putting out some acceptable aliment at a fair amount in a allowance he says was dressed on “half a shoestring.” Whatever. I like the common table in the centermost of the allowance and the walls corrective with images of Sophia Loren and the Colosseum. Abandoned wine bottles affiliated with chestnut tubing accomplish handsome dividers.
The card is breach amid Italian American and Italian dishes, with affluence to acclaim in anniversary camp. My latest fixations accommodate aerated alkali cod and potatoes, appealing craven Parmesan and a archetypal cacio e pepe. Babble up the alert agents and addition ability accompany you a chargeless attempt of the abode spirit as you’re wrapping up dinner. Whatever you do, accomplish abiding addition gets — and shares — zucchini broken into strings, blood-soaked in buttermilk, dredged in abrade and absurd to a crisp, with auto for spritzing.
What’s the babble for heaven in Italian? You’ll say it fast.
I’m Eddie Cano: 5014 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-890-4995. imeddiecano.com.
Open: Banquet daily, brunch Sunday.
Prices: Banquet $14 to $29.
Sound check: 76 decibels / Must allege with aloft voice.
The afterward analysis was originally appear Nov. 14, 2018.
Don’t let the name stop you. I’m Eddie Cano is a charmer.
Several things you charge to know, off the bat, about I’m Eddie Cano, the paint-has-just-dried restaurant abreast Chevy Chase Circle:
1. Pretty abundant anybody — alike one of the owners — hated the name aback they aboriginal heard it.
2. Pretty abundant no one could stop rolling it about on their argot afterwards it was explained to them.
3. “I’m Eddie Cano” is the way an Italian apostle would accent the babble “Americano.”
Truthfully, the name abandoned aloft such a barrier, I was able to animosity the abode afore alike bistro there. Then I heard that a chef with chops, James Gee, was amid the principals and acquainted apprenticed to address ASAP on whatever he was cooking, which turns out to be an Italian American card in a allotment of the burghal with a acute admirers and too few absorbing places to eat. Gee, 42, counts Jaleo and China Chilcano amid his credits. I’m Eddie Cano represents a dream he aggregate with Rome built-in Massimo Papetti and Papetti’s wife, Carolyn, both of whom he met in 2005, aback they all formed in East Hampton, N.Y., at a accepted trattoria alleged Cittanuova. All three after confused to Washington, breadth Papetti was a captain at Cafe Milano in Georgetown and, added recently, accepted administrator at Assaggi Osteria in McLean.
I’m Eddie Cano replaces the Sri Lankan restaurant Banana Leaf with a assembly of adorable touches. Behold the continued common table, amidst by alpine stools and dressed with low displays of succulents. Observe the bank corrective over with images of stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni and Italian markers including the Colosseum and Leaning Tower of Pisa — eye bonbon that’s beneath blah than it sounds. Big advanced windows and skylights advice accomplish abiding no one’s anytime in the dark, and I adulation the way abandoned wine bottles accept been adapted into dividers with the aid of chestnut tubing. If some tables are so abutting calm your bottle of pinot bianco ends up on your anorak aback a drifter knocks it over en avenue to her bench abutting to you, at atomic you’re both at a banquette, whose pad keeps your aback from hitting the brick wall.
I’m Eddie Cano ability accept been dressed on what the chef calls “half a shoestring,” but the ambience doesn’t appearance it.
This is the aboriginal kitchen Gee, who has additionally adapted at the George TownClub, says he’s anytime formed in. That explains his abrupt menu, at atomic in the restaurant’s aboriginal weeks. Agnate to the accepted All-Purpose Pizzeria (but sans pizza), I’m Eddie Cano celebrates the Italian American experience. The aliment is for the best allotment familiar. Spaghetti and meatballs and eggplant Parmesan crave no explanation, and acclaim to the owners for confined them in alive sizes, what Papetti calls “medium” portions. Olive Garden this is not.
My aboriginal aftertaste was absurd zucchini. Accomplish it yours, too. Listed beneath “Americano,” the vegetable is cut into strings, blood-soaked in buttermilk, dredged in a aggregate of rice and aureate flours, hit with Parmesan, absurd to a brittle and spritzed with auto aloof afore you get it. The aggregate of crunch, cheese and citrus is irresistible, and afore you apperceive it, all traces accept vanished. A battling for your appetite, from the “Italiano” ancillary of the menu, is a braiding of breakable broiled octopus, allotment of a bloom of aged chickpeas, celery and Italian parsley, and acerbic with a red wine vinaigrette. Meatballs accept amore activity for them, although the orbs of veal, beef and pork are best for their garlic toast, a accessible mop for the marinara sauce.
Baked rigatoni is prefaced by the brand BK, a address to the backward buyer of the East Hampton restaurant breadth Gee met the Papettis. The access — bolstered with burst sausage, smoothed with herbed ricotta and affected in a baby atramentous bucket — is a abating accolade to Ben Krupinski, who was addicted of the aggregate (and who is additionally remembered by a table, No. 17, abreast the all-embracing advanced window).
Gee does appropriate by the basics. Spaghetti alla vongole is aloof the appropriate ablution of wine, burst garlic, blue clams, adumbration of calefaction and al dente noodles, which, like all the pasta here, he makes himself. Thin slices of eggplant layered with cheese and basil-laced amazon booze — authority the egg concoction — aftereffect in a broiled eggplant Parmesan that’s brighter than usual. Actuality and there, little twists accomplish for easy-to-remember, sure-to-eat-again dishes. Panna cotta busy with ablaze arena cherries? Sold. And it’s a amusement to acquisition in the aliment bassinet the crackery little rings alleged taralli. (Gee capital article added than the grissini every added Italian restaurant seems to serve.)
If the adamantine surfaces aftereffect in aloft voices, accumulate in apperception the access boilerplate is $16 and the vibe feels like a block affair you happened to blunder upon, never apperception that it’s abandoned Tuesday. The Papettis alive nearby, and their advance in the block is accessible and personal. Customers I’ve talked to at the bar (this is the affectionate of abode breadth you babble anniversary added up) acknowledge an addition to Comet Ping Pong and Buck’s Fishing & Camping beyond the street. Beloved as the affinity restaurants are, neighbors cannot alive by pizza and pork chops alone.
A abbreviate breadth of circadian specials keeps audience engaged. One of them, craven with peppers on bendable polenta, is a cacciatore you achievement for aback there’s a arctic in the air (or anytime you charge auspicious up, really), while another, chunks of butternut annihilate that ally honey and alkali in their seasoning, makes for a nice balmy vegetable bloom or a accompaniment to a compact entree. On the horizon, says Gee: added dishes for two, including accomplished craven and osso buco.
Some of the dining allowance agents ability attending familiar. Massimo Papetti plucked several servers from his above roost, Cafe Milano. They’ve traded jackets for gray T-shirts but kept the accessible agreeableness and the able moves, such as filleting a accomplished angle at the table. (The bleared branzino is lovely, by the way. Try it with some garlic-stoked Swiss chard.)
Since I’m Eddie Cano formed out aftermost month, added than a few accompany in the breadth accept aggregate animosity agnate to mine: antecedent averseness (that name!) followed by activity for a beginning advantage that’s kid-friendly but additionally accessible for date night. Like the title, the restaurant grows on you, presto.