Obelisk Italian

Peter Pastan not only runs 2Amys, the District’s best pizzeria, but he also oversees what is, to my mind, the most underrated dining room in town. Perhaps that’s a hard argument to make, given the generally high marks that Obelisk earns from the city’s professional eaters, but I believe Pastan’s name should rank right up there with D.C.’s signature chefs, whether Michel Richard or Frank Ruta. The thing that prevents Pastan from entering the upper echelon is the critical world’s bias for sheer creativity over simple purity of expression. Course after course after course, Pastan and Esther Lee, his long-time head chef at Obelisk, turn out exquisite bites of rustic Italian cooking. Eggplant caponata on crostini with anchovy. Smoked duck breast with caramelized-onion sauce. Arugula ravioli with walnut butter sauce. Ravioli in brodo. Grilled mullet with asparagus. Nothing too fancy, but everything executed for maximum flavor. The most impressive thing about Obelisk, though, may be that Pastan and Lee design a new tasting menu each and every day.

2029 P St. NW, (202) 872-1180

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Our Readers Say


Food is good, but nothing special, and the service folk are stuffy and act like you should be thanking them (and god) for being in their restaurant. Pleeeeeze!

If the service was better I'm sure I'd think it differently. The place has the charm of a country kitchen...the people working in it ought to match that charm.

Until I hear differently from trusted sources, I'll stick to eating good italian at home.
i really like obelisk. if u had a less than stellar experience, give it another
shot. peter and esther are a rare combo.

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