Monday, March 30, 2009

The Opening of Potenza

Potenza is a new Italian restaurant located a few blocks east of the White House, on the S.E. corner of 15th and H Streets (in the stately Woodward Bldg., pictured at right). When I dined there with three friends late last week, Potenza had been open only a few days. Here are my initial thoughts.

The restaurant has a nice space, and the bar area (especially) is visually inviting -- it has a classy, but not stuffy look. Potenza has a semi-open kitchen, and the noise level will probably be moderate once (or if) the restaurant is filled up with diners.

Potenza's executive chef is Bryan Moscatello who previously cooked at Zola.

The food was generally very good, but a few things just didn't "wow" us. If you want a stellar charcuterie tray, go to Proof and don't order it at Potenza. But the pastas looked good, and my friends gave them a thumbs-up. Potenza also has a large pizza oven -- none of us ordered pizzas, but a nearby diner who did said his pizza was delicious.

The wine list is okay, but you're going to have to examine it closely to find good values.

Potenza has an adjacent bakery and wine shop, but I didn't get a chance to check out this area. These items (as well as cheese and salami) will be available for take-out purchase.

Potenza needs to update its website and get all of its starters and main courses listed. Potential diners deserve to know more than their "featured" dishes. That said, I have good hopes for Potenza. It didn't dazzle me, but it has a lot of potential. The menu seems to be priced very reasonably, and service was good.

I will be back.

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