Al Tiramisu –  A Delicious Pick Me Up Near DuPont Circle

Tiramisu is a popular Italian dessert made from lady’s fingers dipped in coffee, mascarpone cheese, cocoa, eggs, and sugar. In English, tiramisu means “pick me up,” “cheer me up,” or “lift me up.” So it’s fitting that Chef Luigi Diotaiuti’s Al Tiramisu does just that, particularly on a cold winter’s night.

The restaurant boasts a long list of celebrity fans. Photos of Diotaiuti with politicians, actors, and sports stars cover an entire wall and there’s a slide show on the website. After the death of Antonin Scalia, the restaurant was mentioned in a news story as one of the justice’s favorite dining spots.

dining roomAl Tiramisu is long and narrow with a small bar near the entrance and a fireplace in the rear. While our table in an alcove near the bar didn’t provide a view of the fire, the wait staff’s friendliness and attention created a warm and welcoming ambiance. Service was efficient without making us feel rushed.

BreadWe had plenty of time to peruse the menu and discuss the specials with our waiter. We enjoyed our cocktails along with a bread basket with focaccia that was served with a small ramekin of caponata.

CalamariWe began with spedinii calamari sul let di lattughine, breaded grilled calamari skewers, roasted potatoes, and mesclun salad. Rather than spread out on a plate, this appetizer was presented vertically, the skewers bearing the calamari speared into the potatoes and surrounded by the greens. The calamari was perfectly cooked, with a bite, but not rubbery and the bread crumbs added just the right amount of texture.

Truffles in boxA pasta special was a homemade tagliolini in a butter sauce topped with shaved black truffles. The highly-prized fungi were first shown to us in a wooden box when our waiter recited additions to the evening’s menu. We opted to share a half order as a second course.

shaving trufflesThe presentation, once again, did not disappoint. Our waiter, along with a second server, proceeded to shave the a generous portion of the truffles over the pasta with great ceremony.

plateThe dish was simple perfection. The pasta perfectly cooked, the sauce so buttery it was creamy, and the truffles adding texture and the woodsy flavor that elevated the dish to gastronomic heaven. This dish is one of our favorites, one we frequently order in restaurants both in New York and D.C. Al Tiramisu’s did not disappoint.

fish2Al Tiramisu offers a daily selection of grilled whole fish and meat. We opted for two different fish – orate and pompano – each served with roasted potatoes and a medley of sautéed vegetables. Both whole fish were expertly filleted, not a bone to be found. Visually, the plate was appealing and the various components complimented without overwhelming the fish.

cheeseFor dessert, we shared a selection of cheeses. Of course, tiramisu is on the menu, but having given up sweets for lent, trying the restaurant’s signature dish will have to wait for our next visit, which we anticipate will be very soon.

Al Tiramisu
2014 P Street NW

About Charlene Giannetti (546 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.