Saturday, October 17, 2009

Domenica - New Orleans, Louisiana

123 Baronne Street (Roosevelt Hotel)
New Orleans, LA 504-648-6020
Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Daily

By Jane Feehan

John Besh’s Domenica is not your 20th-century neighborhood spaghetti house with checkered tablecloths, dim lights and the aroma of garlic wafting throughout. Instead, the d├ęcor is modern Italian minimalist, the atmosphere oozes trendy and the menu offers a wider array of dishes and flavors than we usually expect of an Italian restaurant. It's also ... well - fantastic.

There's an interesting collection of cured meats and cheeses on view, an antipasti list featuring wood grilled shrimp, fried squash blossoms, baby lettuces with beets and then, the "secondi," the main menu, that really gets the juices flowing.

The main course offerings are a collection of items that includes anolini, small ravioli with wild mushrooms; fettuccine with oysters, saffron and cream; spinach and ricotta gnocchi; rigatoni with crab; stracci - torn pasta with oxtail ragu; and fresh fish, veal, goat, pork and hen creations. Pizza is also served.

I sampled Burrata Mozzarella with tomatoes and grilled bread as a starter and was so impressed I ordered another antipasto, fried squash blossoms. Both dishes were memorable – as was the quarter-sized delicately flavored anolini, the secondi. I’m not big on desserts but was eager to experience as many of Domenica’s Italian delights as I could. The fig and ricotta fritters served with moscato zabaione – frothy egg yolks whipped with wine and sugar – was a stunning end to a meal I won’t soon forget.

Many of the antipasti and main course dishes are served in two sizes, two different prices. Domenica is not expensive. Reservations are recommended. Service: good. © 2009 All rights reserved. See review on Jane's Bits of another John Besh restaurant, American Sector.

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