Quattro Osteria swings open its 18th-century double doors for its opening dinner service on Wednesday, August 4, bringing Shaw a place for freshly made pastas from a chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Tuscany.
The anticipated summer arrival revives the space at 600 Florida Avenue NW that used to house Czech bar and cafe Bistro Bohem. Quattro Osteria co-owner Louie Hankins expands his profile on the block, adding to his jungle-themed rooftop bar, El Techo, and taco joint Rito Loco next-door. Brothers Giovanni and Salvio Ippolito are partnering with Hankins on the new project. Like the chef, who prefers not to be named, they’re from Naples.
Billed on the menu (full version below) as an “alternative Italian experience,” Quattro Osteria offers prix fixes in three courses ($50) or five ($75) and modernist touches like smoked mozzarella foam and yuzu gelatin. By comparison, Michelin-starred Fiola’s five-course summer spread costs twice as much.
A medley of Italian meats and cheeses come out in portions for two ($25) or four ($45), followed by seasonal salads and antipasti like cod with pea puree and shaved black truffle; a deconstructed eggplant Parmesan; or a carpaccio of sweet red prawns caught off the coast of Mazara del Vallo, a town in western Sicily.
An opening list of five pastas ($22 to $26) includes a lobster risotto with asparagus and citurs ash and a black, hat-shaped squid ink cappellacci stuffed with zucchini puree and served with courgette flowers. Entrees include a rack of lamb with saffron potato puree, asparagus, and pomegranate sauce, and a branzino filet in a clam and mussel sauce. Tiramisu, gelato, and deconstructed cannoli are available for dessert.
The osteria plans to tinker with the menu throughout August, testing out new dishes and collecting feedback from guests. There’s limited capacity to start at Quattro, which boasts a 70-seat outdoor terrazza. At first, the osteria will open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day and only accept customers who make reservations through Resy.
Co-owner Giovanni Ippolito oversees a mostly Italian wine program with by-the-glass options from $9 $16 and bottles listed from $38 to $150. Whites hail from the southern regions like Campania, Sicily, and Sardinia. Reds hail from central and northern regions like Tuscany, Piedmont, and Verona. There are also cabernets and chardonnays from Napa Valley. Kevin Banegas, head bartender at El Techo, has come up with cocktails that fold in lots of fresh herbs and seasonal produce.
The 1,673-square-foot space, designed to mimic the look of a sidewalk cafe in Italy, welcomes diners with a huge tree trunk that rises through the bar, offset by branches dotted in lights across the ceiling. The main, 49-seat dining room feels fancier with gold details spread across the wall paint, plates, chair legs, and dramatic frames for wine shelves. Soft blue seating, crystal glassware, and candlesticks round out the romantic look.