Debbie and I went to Bresca with Ricki and Tony. The restaurant has been open for about two years.
Bresca has a single Michelin star, one of 18 restaurants in the D.C. area that has one or more Michelin stars. Our experience proved that it deserves this honor. Neither Debbie or nor could recall a better meal from any of the many restaurants at which we have dined. (More about those 18 Michelin restaurants at the end of this piece.)
As you enter the restaurant there is a greeter’s station followed by a small wall after which starts a banquette that runs the length of that side of the restaurant and then half of the back wall of the dining room On the other side of the room there is an L-shaped bar that seats 12 people on high-backed stools.
There are a variety of 2 and 4 tops. The restaurant seats roughly 60 people at a single sitting.
We were seated in an alcove at the far side of the front of the restaurant. The table seats two people on an unpadded bench with pillows. Ricki and Debbie were seated there, and Tony and I sat on comfortable chairs facing the windows. The tables and chairs throughout the restaurant are not very fancy but quite comfortable.
Our server was Harrison, an experienced server with culinary training who has worked at other restaurants outside of Washington. He has been at Bresca for a year.
Tony ordered wine for the three wine drinkers and I ordered one of three non-alcoholic drinks that are outlined on the menu. My choice was called SOBER PINEAPPLE – Pineapple/Saison Yeast/Chamomile.
As with many restaurants these days, there is a charge for bread and butter.
We decided to order a series of dishes that would be shared by all.
To begin – Bread & Butter – brioche/cultured cow’s milk butter/smoked maple – with trout roe. There were exactly four slices.
For the next course we selected:
SCALLOP MI-CUIT – turnip/buttermilk/horseradish/lime.
BEET SALAD – honey crisp apple/black walnut/brown butter/blowhorn cheese.
RABBIT PANSOTTI – kabocha squash/rye/jus gras/hazelnut streusel. (Ricki, who seemed to be put off by the thought of eating a poor rabbit, conceded that this was especially tasty.)
For the second course we opted for two dishes:
AMISH CHICKEN – brioche & herb panade/roast chicken jus/charred lee/pistachio/sherry/black truffle. This was an entire roasted chicken.
Ricki and Debbie said they preferred the dark meat, the leg and thigh. Tony and I acceded to their request, leaving the two white meat breasts.
While generally I do not particularly like the white meat, to my surprise, and Tony’s as well, these breasts were exceptional; tender and juicy, better than any breast meat that either of us had experienced in the past.
The second dish was:
WHOLE ROASTED FLUKE – grapefruit “sauce vierge”/olive/salad of winter citrus/ kohlrabi/champagne vinaigrette.
It was excellent, our server had not offered to bone it and Tony did the serving. While he did an excellent job, the fact that it not been boned made it a little complicated. (A bit later I asked our server whether he would have boned it if we asked him and he said yes. My instinct is that he should have offered.)
One thing we would have changed was how quickly the fluke was delivered to our table after the chicken was delivered. By the time we got around to eating it, it was no longer warm.
Something else I had never experienced before, is that after each course, our individual plates and the forks, knives and spoons were removed and replaced, whether or not they had been used and thus the silverware always matched the dish. The one time that did not happen was when we were ready to eat the fluke.
The remains of the chicken were still on our plates and we had to ask for replacement dishes to eat the fish.
The other entrée options were Beef Short Ribs and Rohan Duck A La presse. For the latter dish, there are only four orders available each night and they had already been selected. The dish is built around a 21-day dry aged duck breast.
For the dessert course we chose:
CHOCOLATE – earl grey/brown butter caramel/milk & honey sherbert
TROPICAL AMBROSIA – tapioca/mango/meringue/passion fruit
French Press coffee (Regular or Decaf) along with Green or Earl Gray Tea. Espresso is not available.
If searching for a criticism, the size of the individual plates provided for each service could have been larger.
There are two gender neutral restrooms intended to be used by one person at a time. There is no signage on the doors, but restaurant staff pointed me to them.
In one corner of the restroom there is a square, wall-hanging white ceramic washbasin with a wall-hanging mirror above. There is a wooden structure that frames the area. To the right is a small table with an ample supply of paper towels. Farther to the right is a floor based white ceramic commode. To the left of the commode is a device with four rolls of toilet paper.
There are appropriate wall-hanging horizontal handicap bars to the side and behind the commode.
The floor is covered with a series of large six-sided patterned tiles. The wall to about shoulder height is covered with a series of six sided even larger decorative tiles with a different pattern. Above the tiles the walls are painted off-white.
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday; 5pm to 10 pm Tuesday – Thursday & Sunday and 5 pm to 11 pm on Friday & Saturday. The restaurant is also open for brunch on Easter Sunday, April 12th, and Mother’s Day, May 10th, in 2020.
1906 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Here are the descriptions of the Michelin Stars
Three Stars – cooking worth a special journey
Two Stars – excellent cuisine, worth a detour
One Star – a very good restaurant in its category
Here are the 18 DC restaurants with one or more Michelin Stars.
The Inn at Little Washington
Minibar, Pineapple and Pearls
Bresca, Fiola, Gravitas, Kinship, Komi, Little Pearl, Masseria, Maydan, Metier, Plume, Rose’s Luxury, Sushi Nakazawa, Sushi Taro, Tail Up Goat, The Dabney