3/29/2013 01:07:00 PM

5 Things to Know About Elisir's Makeover

Elisir's new look; photo by Jody Brady
Chef-owner Enzo Fargione had done a remix of his Penn Quarter Italian, Elisir. Here are some things you should know about the updated version.

1. Rusticity has replaced luxury - sort of. Tablecloths are banished, polished wood tables gleam. Accouterments like farming tools signal a more relaxed experience. Wine barrels, flickering lanterns, bird cages and, yes, even haystacks (behind glass) add rusticity to what is still a handsome place for an important meal.

2. Foodwise, expect the country-style cooking of regional Italy. Fine-dining tasting menus are gone, but that's not to say that the dishes are humdrum or dumbed down. Besides an interesting selection of salumi and cheese, crostini and bread accompaniments like caponata, there’s a host of appetizers, uncommon pastas (black spaghetti with tuna) and entrees like octopus steak and veal stew. Everything’s a la carte, and there are lots of choices for sharing. Of course, high-rollers can still go all out with “indulgent” dishes like his signature branzino carpaccio in a smoking cigar box, an elaborate fish soup or steak.

3.The wine list is new - American, French and South African labels have been added to a largely Italian list with bottles in the $40s and $50s.

4.The bar program features a new selection of cocktails, as well as wine by the glass.

5.The overall meal cost is lower than before (unless of course you go for the indulgences and a pricey wine). Fargione tells Washington Business Journal that the average meal cost at the restaurant is now $60.

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