Food

Osteria Morini Restaurateur Michael White Opens a Modern Red Sauce Joint in DC

Nicoletta Italian Kitchen debuts in Mt. Vernon Triangle.
Nicoletta Italian Kitchen opens in Mt. Vernon Triangle with a modern red sauce menu. Photograph courtesy of Nicoletta

Osteria Morini restaurateur Michael White is introducing a new concept for his New York-based Altamarea Group: Nicoletta Italian Kitchen, an 80-seat Italian-American eatery in Mt. Vernon Triangle that opens tonight.

Nicoletta Italian Kitchen red sauce Italian DC
A large bar can seat drinkers and diners. Photograph by Evy Mages

While Morini draws from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Nicoletta brings things back to Little Italy. The group describes the fare as “modern day red sauce.” The menu includes a whole section of homemade meatballs, antipasti—we have our eye on a veggie frito misto and clams casino—and mains like a crispy veal milanese with tonnato sauce, baked gnocchi, and chicken parmesan. The famed “White Label Burger” from NYC’s Ai Fiori also makes an appearance.

Nicoletta Italian Kitchen red sauce Italian DC
Honest Abe looks out over the 80-seat dining room.

White opened a fast-casual Nicoletta Pizzeria in Navy Yard earlier this month, which is the fourth location of the Manhattan-based chain. The pies at the new full-service restaurant are similar in that they use a three-day fermentation process that’s meant to develop a rich flavor. Medium-thick crusts are crafted to be sturdy and hold a generous amount of toppings like the porchetta—a riff on a Philly-style roast pork sandwich with smoked pecorino, rapini, and Gordy’s pickled peppers. White says the style is a combination of his native Wisconsin (yes, Wisconsin pizza is a thing) and Italian.

Nicolleta is open for dinner, with lunch and brunch to follow. A coffee component for early risers will debut April 22. 

Nicoletta Italian Kitchen. 901 Fourth St., NW; 202-697-6888

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.