Even after three visits to Domenica, I still feel that I have much to explore on the menu. Once you look past the decor (the style of which contrasts with the rustic cooking) and the uniforms of the wait staff (which The Folk Singer classifies as "hideous"), there is an excellent restaurant worth visiting again and again.
You begin your meal with a selection of salumi and cheeses, which in terms of quantity are the most expensive items on the menu. Bresaola was not as salty as expected (a good thing), and paper thin slices of lardo melt away just by the heat of your tongue. Each plate is accompanied by a sextet of accoutrement including eggplant caponata, olives, and the best of all...
Mortadella mousse which you then spread on the torta fritta. These "savory beignets" are rich, flaky, and light as a feather. On my second visit, I skipped the meats and cheeses in favor of only a basket of torta fritta and a generous scoop of mortadella mousse. Both are that good.
Pizzas are like none other seen in New Orleans before. The crust reminds me of the pizzas I indulged in all over Europe - thin, crispy, and crackly. The prosciutto pizza is baked with only a scattering of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, then covered with an abundance of sliced prosciutto and a generous handful of peppery arugula.
Pastas are served in both small and large plate form. Some are so rich - like the spinach gnocchi with ricotta and brown butter - that the reduced portion is more than ample.
The thin "rags" of stracci have an incredible al dente texture and serve as a base for shreds of oxtail and fried chicken livers whose richness is cut with a pronounced squeeze of lemon which your nose easily detects. The tagliatelle became one with the rabbit ragu (think "pasta and sauce" instead of "pasta with sauce") to create a hearty but not heavy dish.
Prices are much lower than you would expect from a John Besh restaurant nestled in the opulent Roosevelt Hotel. Just another surprise from a restaurant which keeps giving you reasons to keep coming back for more.
Domenica - Eagle