Tasting Notes


Lorenzo and Marco Bassetti opened Molto Ristorante last October with the goal of giving a city known for its stubborn love affair with carbohydrates a fabulous rotisserie chicken. They succeeded, and their giant steel spit sits smack in the middle of the dining room like a trophy. Surrounding it is a sleek black- and-white space with a ceiling of long wooden slats—it’s a bit like sitting inside an enormous grand piano—and huge glass doors leading to an outdoor lounge. Best Dishes: Tagliolini with octo-pus and anything from the rotisserie. Dinner, $130. At 122 Viale Parioli; 39-06/808-2900; moltoitaliano.it.

Washington, D.C.

Eric Ziebold, the 34-year-old wunderkind (who cut his teeth beside Thomas Keller at French Laundry), received his fourth star from The Washington Post last fall for CityZen, in the Mandarin Oriental—all but guaranteeing that the capital’s power players will continue to line up for his inspirational modern American cooking, such as the sublime wild mushroom fritters in a white truffle emulsion. Best Dishes: The menu changes monthly, but on our visit the wild Chesapeake Bay striped bass took the prize. There’s also a brilliantly thought-out cheese plate. Three-course menu, $150; six-course vegetarian tasting menu, $180; six-course tasting menu, $210. At 1330 Maryland Ave., SW; 202-787-6006.


After a decade as the head chef and silent partner at the River Café, Theo Randall has stepped out of the shadows with a namesake restaurant in the recently rehauled InterContinental hotel. Corporate decor is at odds with the rustic Italian fare, but it hardly detracts from the knowledgeable and innovative sommelier or the quality ingredients that Randall—who subscribes to the Alice Waters school of fresh-food cooking—is passionate about. "My menu is determined by what’s at the market that morning," he says. Best Dishes: Divinely custardlike buffalo mozzarella and the spinach ravioli. Dinner, $150. At 1 Hamilton Pl., Park Ln.; 44-20/7318-8747.