We were invited to a soft opening for friends and family to get a sneak preview and have the staff massage out the kinks during a dress rehearsal. The first level of Ghibellina houses the trattoria and pizzeria and has seating capacity for a little under a 100 customers. Wood and stone create a warm space inside as the light from the windows facing 14th Street floods the room. Both the exterior and interior have gone through a long process of remodeling and restoration to bring back something special to the neighborhood. We were seated towards the back with a great view into the kitchen.
Chef Ari Gejdenson expedites the kitchen.
Next, Ivan described the "piatti piccoli" (small plates) concept of the menu and suggested we order about 2 - 3 dishes per person. There are also a few larger "secondi" items and the pizzas are large enough for a main entree as well. Many items caught our eye.
By now, I was pretty satisfied but Keith suggested we get one more dish each. Being familiar with Acqua al 2's balsamic steak, he chose the Disossata - a grilled petite tender, with balsamico, grana, parsley, and sea salt. It was a different preparation that Acqua al 2's in that the meat is cut in a different grain than a typical filet. The parsley salad was very strong but overall a nice dish. I chose something a bit lighter - Insalata di Farro - a salad of farro, roasted beets, shaved fennel,and hazelnuts, with sherry vinegar and topped with ricotta salata. The sherry vinegar gave a nice acidic bite to the dish and the farro was cooked just right. It was a nice portion too that would be great to share. Lastly, we were tempted by the dessert menu and decided to share the creamy Panna Cotta made with trickling springs cream, vanilla, and drizzled with saba - a syrup made from grapes. The panna cotta was luxurious and the saba gave an interesting sweet wine-like flavor.
Overall, we enjoyed the Tuscan shared plates of Ghibellina and left completely sated. While we visited during the soft opening, the service still felt experienced and appeared flawless. I am so thrilled for Ari and Ralph and know they will be very successful in Logan Circle.
Total Rating: 4.03
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 4.5
What I ate:
Quadrello di Bufalo and Pecorino Toscano Stagionato
Salame Toscano and Salsicce
Baccala alla Livornese
deep fried salt cod, tomato, olives, garlic, parsley
Polle e Coniglio Fritto
lightly battered fried chicken and rabbit
♥Spaghetti alla Trabaccalora♥
tomato, white wine, hake, swordfish, striped bass, fennel
Insalata di Farro
farro, roasted beets, shaved fennel, hazelnuts, sherry vinegar, ricotta salata
trickling springs cream, vanilla, saba
Plus Keith ate:
grilled petite tender, balsamico, grana, parsley, sea salt