Assaggi Mozzarella Bar
4838 Bethesda Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo
Open Monday through Thursday 4 PM to 10 PM, Friday 4 PM to 11 PM, Saturday 11:30 AM to 11 PM, and Sunday 11:30 AM to 10 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Burrata cheese with pesto eggplant, tomato marmalade, and roasted red peppers; salumi; fritto misto; clams in broth with pasta; kale-and-escarole salad; polenta with chicken livers; gnocchi with veal-short-rib ragu and caciocavallo-cheese sauce; pasta w
Mozzarella and salumi $12 to $18, starters $8 to $15, entrées (including pasta) $15 to 29; two-course lunch special $15.
Cuisine: The mozzarella bar might intrigue curiosity seekers, but the real draw is chef/owner Domenico Cornacchia’s cooking. It pulls from many regions of his homeland but rings truest when he draws from the stick-to-your-ribs, tomato-based dishes of central Italy. And he’s a whiz with pasta.
Mood: The open dining room channels the buzz of a DC hot spot, right down to the glimpse of the chef intently finishing dishes in the open kitchen.
Best for: A family-style meal for groups who like to share—the staff is happy to bring plenty of plates.
Best dishes: Burrata cheese with condiments of pesto eggplant, tomato marmalade, and roasted red peppers; salumi; fritto misto; tiny clams in a broth with toasted Israeli-couscous-like pasta; a vinegary kale-and-escarole salad; gnocchi topped with veal-short-rib ragu and pungent caciocavallo-cheese sauce; pasta with blue crab and spicy tomato sauce; zeppole, sugared batons of fried dough with zabaglione dip; raspberry-and-white-chocolate cake.
Insider tips: Specials include a $14 two-course lunch and a 15-percent discount on dinner checks daily between 4 and 6.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.