Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tesoro: Little Italy on the Avenue

Calabrese Pizza

Tesoro is one of those neighborhood restaurants that makes you feel comfortable the moment you step inside. Not necessarily home to the world's best Italian food, superb customer service and generous portions make returning a question of when, not if.

Conveniently located (4400 Connecticut Avenue, NW) next door to the Days Inn, Tesoro has been around long enough to establish itself as a neighborhood haunt (minus the ghosts and goblins.) I've been coming for years, captivated by the complimentary bread and bruschetta that precede dinner. Salsa is salsa, but Tesoro's bread is literally "to die for." It's not available at lunch, but our super-nice server was kind enough to bring us some of the piping-hot bread and butter. What a great way to start a meal.

Penne con Salsciccia

The restaurant was unusually empty for 1:00 (President's Day) but that allowed our aforementioned wonderful server's undivided attention. How many times can I emphasize the importance of good service? Food was solid, if not spectacular. My pasta dish (penne with mild sausage) was hot and tasty: I love Tesoro's tomato sauce. Some of the sausage was a tad overcooked and I hate overzealous sprinkles of parsley; but you can't argue with the generous portions. For just $10.50, you can't ask for more.

The 9" Calabrese pizza was OK. The crust was paper thin, and hard to handle... especially with hot toppings. The cheese, sauce and sausage were top grade; but the pepperoni appeared to be store-bought and lacking in flavor. It needed basil, crushed red peppers and perhaps a couple more minutes in the oven. Kudos for real tomato sauce; but let's roll out a thicker crust next time (please.) At $8.95... another bargain.

I can't remember a bad meal in this place; and recently, the customer service has been stellar. Next time you're in the Van Ness/UDC area, pop in and get a little taste of Italy... Tesoro style.