Food.Fun.Stuff: Be My Guest

[ 0 ] June 22, 2009 |

Guest Review! Guest Review! We are excited to announce the launch of something new @ JKGF (*As if there’s not something new it seems like every other day, lol…) Well anywho, we are now accepting guest restaurant reviews and our very first one is on a JKGF readers experience at Potenza. Check out how they felt about their experience:

Does Potenza have the Potential to be a Great Restaurant?

The jury is still out on this restaurant, Johnna. Potenza, the months’ old addition to the Stir Food Group, is located in at 15th and H Streets, N.W. This huge restaurant with bakery and bar is designed in a “modern meets traditional” Italian fashion. My first experience was lunch from the bakery. A Muffaletta and a Nutella/Jam pastry. The Muffaletta was filled with razor thin prosciutto, capicola ham, among other meats and a house made olive salad that was delicious; however, the bread totally failed the sandwich. It was so chewy and tough, the sandwich filling kept falling out of the sandwich. Indeed, it is difficult to meet the Central Grocery (where the sandwich originated in New Orleans) standard for Muffalettas, but the bread is important. The pastry was acceptable. Although I was practically raised on Nutella (and loved it!), its combination with raspberry jam brought on a competition between my taste buds and no side was winning.

Next came dinner around the end of April. Our table was flanked with several waitstaff wearing Italian soccer jerseys that were practically tripping over each other to service tables. We started with the Polpetti Carbonizatti (charred octopus) with cucumbers and red onions and the Carpaccio di Vitello. The Carpaccio was complimented with a light aioli both of which were not salty. The octopus was tough and the salad-like preparation did nothing to save it. The pizza-this 13 inch oval was rolled so thin in the center, it was impossible to eat it with our hands. It was limp with just a dash of mushrooms.

The bronzino, served whole, was very fresh and complimented nicely with a roasted lemon half and sauce. Accompanied with tender cavatelli and roasted cauliflower, it was the perfect spring meal. As is customary in most fine dining establishments that serve whole fish, the waiter offered to fillet the fish for me at the table. The waiter took so long to do so that the fish was cold by the time I put the first bite in my mouth. While I waited, I nibbled off my guest’s plate and the sides we ordered. We ordered three sides–cippolini onions with balsamic, garlic and chili marinated artichokes, and roasted fennel with tarragon–all jammed onto a 6 x 3 inch baking dish. All were tasty and fresh, but were room temperature, which was not horrible, but we also ordered creamy polenta which came out cold–not so tasty.

We also ordered the Halibut con Caponata. The fish was lightly seasoned and cooked perfectly, they could have skipped the caponata–it tasted homemade, but did not really compliment the fish.

And last dessert, the tiramisu was perfect. With its pillowy lady fingers, air whipped mascarpone cheese, and the right amount of Marsala, it rivaled my favorite tiramisu at Vaccaro’s Bakery. It was a nice ending to a so-so meal.

I went back a third time because I was intrigued by the pasta dishes that whizzed by me at dinner. (I guess it did not hurt that the owner had sent my husband a $100 gift certificate as well). However, we did not make it past the water, which the restaurant bottles, because one of the overburdened waiters, while reaching across our table, dropped the water bottle on a sharing plate. The bottle exploded sending an elderly member of our party to the hospital with a piece of glass embedded in her hand. It gets worse… we basically were on our own after that point, no one came to see how we were doing–leaving me wander the restaurant for bandages, finding out later that the first aid kit was locked away with no bandages. After making a make shift bandage out of a handkerchief and paper towels, we walk out the door only to have an out of breath employee relaying a box of bandages to us that someone had obviously run around the corner to the CVS to purchase. This is the abbreviated, Rated-G account of what happened, but needless to say, I returned the gift certificate and vowed to never return. So Johnna, if you want to know how the pasta tastes, please wear some protective gear and bring your own first aid kit.

To conclude, Potenza still needs to work out some kinks in its service. The menu definitely has potential.

Your thoughts?? And to Potenza, what’s going on?!? Let’s hear from you!

Picture source:

Potenza on Urbanspoon

Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., restaurant reviews, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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