June 2004: Coppi’s Organic

While there's a lot of talk about "the new U Street," the neighborhood is stronger in music and clubbing than in good places to eat.

Critic's Choice

While there's a lot of talk about "the new U Street," the neighborhood is stronger in music and clubbing than in good places to eat. A delicious exception is Coppi's Organic, run by chef Elizabeth Bright and her husband, Pierre Mattia. When the Bright-Mattias also ran Coppi's Vigorelli on Connecticut Avenue, the U Street location was known mostly as a pizza parlor, and Coppi's still makes one of the best authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas in town.

Less well known is that Coppi's also offers a daily-changing selection of antipasti, pastas, meat and fish dishes, and desserts, which are Italian in inspiration and made from the best organic ingredients chef Bright can find. A recent dinner menu featured vegetable antipasto of asparagus, fava beans, and English peas, sautéed in house-made basil-pesto sauce–delicate, delicious, and startlingly fresh tasting. Ravioli were filled with a mixture of borage, nettles, and ricotta, and sauced with a fresh asparagus pesto. A sensational pasta dish combined trenette with organic New York strip steak, tomato, porcini mushrooms, and pine nuts.

Full orders of these main courses are not cheap. What makes Coppi's a bargain is that they may be ordered as half-portions for around $12 or $13. Combine one of these small plates with a salad or appetizer, and you'll come in well under $50 for two.

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