Dining options in Rosslyn are experiencing a slow but steady improvement, thanks in part to Domaso Trattoria.
A few years ago my employer was excited to announce we were moving offices from our homey (read: small, dingy) headquarters in DuPont Circle to spacious, freshly designed digs in Rosslyn. This is like convincing a Parisienne that switching from a 5th arrondissement studio to a McMansion in Fresno is a good thing. You could practically see the tumbleweeds bouncing around the streets back then. The only places for lunch in our area was Quizno’s and the Orleans House.
Flash forward to 2008. After doing hard time in foodie Siberia (others call it Tyson’s Corner), I’m back in Rosslyn and pleased to say it’s progressing nicely. The fabled Tom Sarris Orleans House is closed and demolished while new options spring up regularly.
Domaso Trattoria, a new Kimpton property in the recently built Hotel Palomar, is one of the fresher neighbors. If you only go to Domaso for one reason, it should be their patio. Jutting out from the middle of a high rise building, the patio overlooks the Potomac and Georgetown and is able to accomodate about 50 people. With the exception of Quarterdeck, al fresco meals are tough to come by in Rosslyn if you want to be more than five feet from a busy street. If you need a second and third reason to visit, check out the happy hour and homemade breads. Domaso’s happy hour runs from 5 – 7:30 each night offering glasses of wine for $5 each.
At Domaso, the breads and pastas are made in house daily. Domaso’s bakery is in a can’t-miss window just before the restaurant entrance. If you arrive at the right time of day, you’ll see a staff of bakers at work in a baking area of such size and staging you’ll almost wonder if you’ve stumbled across a Michel Richard kitchen.
Our experience has been touch and go in the few times we’ve visited. On my first trip over – during a business lunch with an old friend – service was friendly but disorganized and confused. Kind of like a bunch of eight-year olds at the start of a birthday party. It was also the new chef’s first day and this was reflected in the wait for our meals. However, the last couple of visits have been smooth sailing with courteous and informed services and prompt orders.
Domaso Trattoria is an Italian-influenced restaurant and this is reflected in the menu’s emphasis on pastas and hearty dishes such as grilled pork chop and beef shoulder. I wonder if Domaso could improve their lunch crowd with a new emphasis on salads and lighter fare? There are already salads on the menu but a wider variety would bring me back more often. As much as I love a good risotto, I can’t afford the resulting food coma when I’m back at my desk. Plus, creamy pasta sauces and outdoor patios in the DC summer don’t really mix.
Overall, I look forward to continuing to visit Domaso as the restaurant gets on its feet. While it isn’t our favorite Kimpton place, the surroundings, happy hour and convenience makes it a great go-to destination for those of us not lucky enough to work in DuPont.