DOMENICA IS UNICO ITALIANO
Even before i knew how to spell "parmesan" & "garganelli", I knew Italian food would always make me happy. It truly wasn't till the storm that i finally found out red gravy is actually marinara, it isn't always made with sugar, and angel hair is actually officially called "cappellini". Recently, Domenica (123 Baronne Street New Orleans, LA 70112 / 504.648.6020), inside the historic roosevelt hotel, has made it it's mission to introduce new orleans to sophisticated & pure italian dining.
"The name means "Sunday" in Italian, and partners John Besh and Alon Shaya have created a restaurant in the renovated historic Roosevelt Hotel that is as warm and inviting as a traditional Sunday supper in a rural Italian village, where each bountiful dish is lovingly prepared with the purest ingredients according to ages-old technique."
Half of the more than dozen times I've visited Domenica, I've felt compelled to eat their undeniably great pizza. With offerings, and my favorites such as Margherita (tomato, basil & fresh mozzarella), Calabrese (tomato, spicy salami, mozzarella, capers & olives), Gorgonzola (peaches, speck & pecans), Executive Chef Alon Shaya has brought the reality and taste of traditional Italian pizza home to New Orleans.
WATERMELON + CUCUMBER COCKTAIL & THEIR FRESH HOUSEMADE CIABATTA BREAD
Thinking back, I contemplated placing 2 orders of this Burrata Mozzarella (basil pesto, heirloom tomatoes & warm focaccia) and sequestering myself into some nook in the hotel and just gnosh away. I was able to keep my wits about myself, and by the time the dish touched down at the table, I knew I was in love. The warmth of the focaccia, the perfect density of the mozz, and the garlic of the pesta, intensified the clean finish of the tomatoes. What a perfect and simple combination.
I was so very supremely surprised and thrilled when the Porchetta Panini (aged provolone, rapini & garlic mayonnaise) hit the table. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting a horrid patty melt style Panini smashed and seared together in a press, but when it arrived I couldn't get over how different it really was. Both the top and the bottom had just the right sear and crust with a tender inside. The garlic mayo was not over done and offset the provolone and rapini nicely.
Of course, a piece of shoe leather could have Parmigiana Reggiano and I would flip, but the housemade Parmigiano Potato Chips sent me into a coma. Light, airy, sprinkled with salt and doused with fresh shaven parmigiano, the chips were perfect for the panini.
How could I refuse dolci even though the chips I had just devoured was like dessert? Upon my last visit to Domenica I swore I would try the Gianduja Budino (chocolate hazelnut pudding, & candied hazelnuts). I had a smidge of room left in my overly stuffed belly and all of it was meant for this dessert, cappuccino and it's 2 anise infused cookies.
After my tour of Italy via Domenica, a well-deserved nap was taken, and all I continued to dream about the meal I just had and how it truly transported my to an Italian Village only myself and Monica Bellucci knew about. Skip your normal, yet fantastic parmesan'd something or other, and quench your desire for something different at Domenica.