SEAReview

photo credit: Nate Watters

Mezzanotte review image
7.6

Mezzanotte

Georgetown needed somewhere to grab a bowl of pasta the same way every basketball team needs somebody who is 6’8, can defend multiple positions, and shoot threes—those players make any team better, and bolognese makes any neighborhood better. Thankfully, Mezzanotte is the Italian restaurant that Georgetown was waiting for.

Mezzanotte review image

Pasta is front and center here, and you’ll find plates ranging from casarecce with mushrooms to risotto with nettles, though the two most noteworthy pastas are the reginette and the tajarin—albeit for different reasons. The reginette is hands-down the best pasta on the menu, with a comforting beef and pork ragu that’s ideal for splitting with your lover on a gray winter evening. The tajarin al cotello, on the other hand, should thrive in its simplicity, with thin noodles tossed in sage butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano. And yet, the pasta strands clump together awfully fast, with butter separating at the bottom of the bowl. This is a shame, and even more of a surprise when you find out that the chef ran Spinasse’s kitchen for five years, mastering the exact same dish every night. 

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To go with all of the pasta, Mezzanotte has a solid lineup of seasonal small plates that stretch beyond typical Italian appetizers like burrata, even though they also serve burrata. The vegetables here excel the most—our favorites being the plate of charred carrots with a garlicky ricotta sauce and towers of crispy rye crackers, and brussels sprouts in a rich bagna cauda. You’ll just want to avoid the inconsistently salted focaccia and the sliced-too-thick prosciutto, as these could have been perfect meal-enhancers, but instead highlight some frustrating miscalculations.

But even though it’s not a complete slam dunk, if you live in the immediate area, Mezzanotte is a convenient spot to have in your rotation. Use it for a cold-weather date night at the bar with someone who you have irrationally heated debates about pasta shapes with, or take advantage of their brick patio for al fresco cavatelli-eating in the summer. And just like any basketball player who adds new skills every offseason, we're hopeful that Mezzanotte's constantly changing menu will bring hits that don't even exist yet.

Food Rundown

Focaccia Della Casa

A fluffy and airy but inconsistently salted piece of bread worth ordering only if you want something to mop up pasta sauce with.

Nate Watters

Mezzanotte review image

Piatto Di Prosciutto

This prosciutto di San Daniele is sliced a bit too thick to enjoy the meltiness that comes with its high price tag ($18). Skip this in favor of other small plates.

Slow Roasted Carrots

These charred carrots are soft, slightly sweet, and taste delicious scooped with some of the ricotta agliata they sit in. Rye crisps tower above the vegetables and add crunch. Order this for the table.

Nate Watters

Mezzanotte review image

Cavoletti Di Bruxelles

Perfectly cooked brussels sprouts in a puddle of bagna cauda and pine nuts. It’s another solid appetizer that you should order before you jump into pasta.

Nate Watters

Mezzanotte review image

Reginette

This is the best pasta here by far. The curly-edged shapes absorb the rich pork and beef ragu nicely, and make for a satisfying bowl of carbs. If we found ourselves in the neighborhood at dinnertime, we’d gladly pop in to eat this solo at the bar.

Nate Watters

Mezzanotte review image

Cavatelli

Mezzanotte’s ricotta cavatelli preparation changes seasonally—expect it mixed with things like rabbit sausage and greens, or Calabrian chilies and roasted hazelnuts. We’ve always been satisfied by it.

Nate Watters

Mezzanotte review image

Tajarin Al Cotello

This thin pasta coated in sage, butter, and Parmiggiano feels like every Drake album—it has all the makings of a hit, but ultimately it’s a bit of a letdown. The butter unpleasantly pools at the bottom, which makes us wish it were tossed more thoroughly. If you really want a great tajarin with sage and butter, just go to Spinasse.

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