The flames from Casa Nonna's twin wood-burning ovens are so intense that 
heat ripples out. It warms diners lucky enough to sit at the trattoria's 
new tasting bar, Tavola 12. Set at a counter around the open kitchen, 
Tavola 12 is offered on Friday and Saturday nights and showcases 12 small 
plates ($55; $85 with wine) that creative chef Amy Brandwein changes each 
night. The chef takes advantage of her ovens, cooking the bulk of the menu 
in them. When we visited, tiny Nantucket bay scallops were roasted in one 
oven and served in a lemon sauce with pearls of caviar for salty contrast. 
Lanky razor clams received a light blanket of citrusy breading, and the 
Pecorino that arrives with fennel salad was also crisped in the oven. Since 
her time at Galileo, the chef has always proven exceptional skill with 
pasta preparations. Thick tangles of fettuccine-like pici were made without 
egg to give a chewier texture in their bright rag? of beef and chicken 
livers. Puffed pumpkin-filled tortelli were an autumnal prize in a 
sage-infused butter sauce. Brandwein is equally talented at hosting. The 
jovial chef chats throughout the meal, explaining dishes and improvising as 
the meal progresses. Casa Nonna, 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW (at M St.); 
202-629-2505 or casanonna.com http://www.e2hospitality.com/casa-nonna/
   
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Wed. 09 Nov '11
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Twelfth Hour
Casa Nonna's new chef's table is a perfect 12
 
Casa Nonna
Pumpkin tortelli
 
The flames from Casa Nonna's twin wood-burning ovens are so intense that heat ripples out.

It warms diners lucky enough to sit at the trattoria's new tasting bar, Tavola 12.

Set at a counter around the open kitchen, Tavola 12 is offered on Friday and Saturday nights and showcases 12 small plates ($55; $85 with wine) that creative chef Amy Brandwein changes each night.

The chef takes advantage of her ovens, cooking the bulk of the menu in them. When we visited, tiny Nantucket bay scallops were roasted in one oven and served in a lemon sauce with pearls of caviar for salty contrast. Lanky razor clams received a light blanket of citrusy breading, and the Pecorino that arrives with fennel salad was also crisped in the oven.

Since her time at Galileo, the chef has always proven exceptional skill with pasta preparations. Thick tangles of fettuccine-like pici were made without egg to give a chewier texture in their bright ragù of beef and chicken livers. Puffed pumpkin-filled tortelli were an autumnal prize in a sage-infused butter sauce.

Brandwein is equally talented at hosting. The jovial chef chats throughout the meal, explaining dishes and improvising as the meal progresses.

Casa Nonna, 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW (at M St.); 202-629-2505 or casanonna.com
 
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UPDATE Blue Duck Tavern
Chef Brian McBride, who's been with the restaurant since its opening, has departed to work with Robert Wiedmaier. The restaurant is currently seeking a replacement.

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