Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sette Osteria

*Post by Angela.
On the first of the absolutely perfect days this week (weather-wise), our only thoughts were to eat outside.  We didn't care where, we didn't care what, we just wanted to be sitting on a patio somewhere, sipping drinks, eating decent food, and relaxing.  We fully intended to go to Zorba's Cafe right off the Circle (based on the recommendations of Twitter friends @Evan_Halperin and @thriftydccook), but the patio was packed like a can of sardines (ooh, sardines, yum!), so we walked up the street until we got to Sette Osteria, on the corner of Connecticut and R Street. We've eaten at Sette before and thought it was very good, if not outstanding; this visit confirmed our impressions - good pasta, decent pizza, solid service and pretty great prices. 

Click below to see what we ate!

We did have to wait about 10 minutes before we were seated, so we had a seat at the relatively long and lovely bar.  Our bartender was warm and welcoming - I think he may have felt a little lonely, since everyone was abandoning him to try to sit outside.

Once we were seated on the patio, we started with a plate of bread and some olive oil.  Sette's complimentary bread is the same bread they use for the crust of their pizza; standing alone, it was very tasty - flaky and crusty on the outside, warm and doughy on the inside, and perfectly seasoned throughout.  Mark especially liked it.

Feeling very spring-like in the warm weather, we opted for at least one lighter appetizer, the Caprese salad, with vine-ripened tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and basil, and drizzled with oil olive and sprinkled with sea salt.  While the salad was nothing special, it was light and refreshing dish...

Caprese Salad 

...which cannot be said for our other appetizer, Suppli (rice balls in tomato sauce around pieces of mozzarella, coated in bread crumbs and fried), and Crocchette (potato and gorgonzola mixture coated in bread crumbs and fried).  Both the suppli and crocchette were incredibly rich, but really satisfying and not overly greasy.  I preferred the suppli, which exploded with tomato-ey and cheesy flavor in my mouth; I liked the super-dense crocchette, but didn't really taste the gorgonzola. 

Suppli & Crocchette

For his entree, Mark ordered the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil (he and gnocchi were having a passionate affair, but things got too intense and they had to take a little time apart; this was their first encounter since the falling out).  He really liked the dish - the gnocchi were relatively light and delicate, and not overwhelmed by the simple tomato sauce and creamy, mild mozzarella. 

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

I ordered the Indiavolata Pizza, with spicy pork sausage, mozzarella, and broccoli rabe.  I enjoyed the flavor combination a lot, particularly the nuttiness and slight pungency of the broccoli rabe (I've actually never had broccoli rabe on pizza before!).  But the "spicy" pork sausage wasn't that spicy, and a generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes really helped out with my enjoyment of the pizza.  Mark agreed.

Indiavolata Pizza

As I said before, we both liked the bread used for the crust on its own a lot; as a pizza base, it didn't fare quite as well.  I took a photo of the underneath of the crust, which I think illustrates its major flaw - although flaky and nicely seasoned and charred, it was a little too light to support the weight of all the toppings (you can see a little break in the crust).  Still, while I don't necessarily think that Sette's pizza stacks up against some of DC's pizza powerhouses, it is highly enjoyable and satisfying, especially for the price.

Pizza upskirt (whee!)

While there are better Italian joints in the city, I like going to Sette Osteria for consistently good food at relatively cheap prices.  As the weather gets warmer, it's nice to have a few places like this (close to my house, and with outdoor seating) in the rotation - I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up here a few more times over the next couple of months and through the summer.


  1. Gah. I forgot to reply to Mark's twitter question. I recommend Zorbas for their cheap prices and their outdoor seating. The food is decent but nothing spectacular. They have a great spot to sit outdoors and people watch while you eat.

  2. I was there on Saturday too! I ADORE their margarita pizza ... so simple, and so well done! They also have a very fun happy hour!

  3. I've never been for happy hour, but they have a beautiful bar, so now I definitely will. Even though I really liked my Indiavolata pizza, I have a feeling the margarita would be even better - not as many toppings, so the crust would hold together better. I think I'll get that one next time.

  4. I walk by this restaurant every single day and I've been dying to try it. The patio is pretty much packed every evening.

    Now, I HAVE to.

  5. It's a really solid, consistent entry in D.C.'s cheap-mid-priced market (which needs all the help it can get). So much so that we've been there twice, and we very rarely make return visits.

    By the way, Sarah, the photos on your blog are really beautiful - if I may ask, what kind of camera do you have? (I'm just starting to get into food photography)