An Early Look at Domaso Trattoria Moderna

Domaso puts a new spin on doughnuts, filling them chestnut mousse, Concord grape, and rum-infused cream. Photographs by Erin Zimmer.

Hotel restaurants may have once had a reputation for being cheesy, but not anymore. Domaso Trattoria Moderna, inside Rosslyn’s new Hotel Palomar, wants to be as much a destination as the guest rooms.

Set on the fourth floor of a high-rise that overlooks Georgetown University’s Gothic spires across the Potomac, Domaso highlights northern-Italian cuisine—and that doesn’t mean just Tuscany. “I’m sick of people coming back from Italy who only rave about Tuscany, or think that Northern Italian food only means the Tuscan kind,” says Italian-born chef Massimo Fedozzi. Though he pays homage to the region with his panzanella (a traditional Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and basil), much of the menu is inspired by the restaurant’s namesake, a fishing village in the Lombardy region. Urgiada soup, a Lake Como specialty made from barley and borlotti beans, is something you’re not likely to find on the menu at other haute Italian restaurants in the area.

Tomatoes layered with fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Hotel Palomar, part of the swanky Kimpton chain, officially opened last week, but Domaso has been up and running for nearly three weeks. For now, service includes breakfast and dinner, but starting November 26, the restaurant will be open all day. At a press event last Wednesday night, none of the fancy pasta dishes were around, but there were lots of grilled veggies (eggplant, zucchini, and cippolini onions), plus buffalo mozzarella (fresh and soft) and cured meats.There were also croquettes, with unique variations such as marjoram-scented potato.

The highlight of all the nibbles came at the end—Italian-style donuts called krafen, filled with chestnut mousse, Concord grape, and rum-infused cream. Because the kitchen has a wide-open fishbowl effect, there was no hiding the pastry chef’s preparation. There were platters of the miniature beignet-like balls to fry and fill all night.

Domaso Trattoria Moderna, 1121 N. 19th St. (Hotel Palomar), Arlington; 703-351-1211;