Young and Hungry

My Dinner at Bebo Trattoria: Will It Be the Last?

The implication in Tom Sietsema's scoop about Galileo returning to D.C. is that Roberto Donna will keep the doors open at Bebo Trattoria, his informal eatery in Crystal City. Why else would Donna announce that Bebo chef Claudio Sandri is now a partner?

Well, let me be the first (or one of the first) to say that Bebo won't be around long enough to revel in the glorious return of Galileo, and I'll offer up my recent dinner at the restaurant as evidence.

I met my friend at the bar on a Tuesday night around 7:30. As we were escorted to our booth, walking by numerous empty tables, my self-described "fat, balding dining companion" asked if I noticed the lack of liquor at the bar. I admit that I hadn't, since I had just walked in. He said it was virtually barren, stocked with only a handful of bottles (which I verified on the way out).

Once at our table, the waiter handed us a menu. It was a single sheet, printed on both sides. It was a shadow of Bebo's former menu. I asked the waiter if this was the entire list of dishes, and he admitted it was. He was new to Bebo, just a couple of weeks into the job, but he thought the limited selections reflected the restaurant's lack of business. I thanked him for his honesty and wished him the best with his new gig. It felt like saying "Have a nice day" to a condemned man.

The food was a disaster, save for the fettucine alla bolognese, whose delicate, eggy, lightly coated pasta completely overshadowed the hearty, if average, meat sauce. The rest of the dinner consisted of a Napoletana pizza whose crust tasted strangely of soap; a burned calzone stuffed with chewy roasted pork; and an appetizer of dry pork loin drowning in an aioli that tasted mostly of mayonnaise.

This was not the cooking of a kitchen that cared about what it sent out.

Photo by Charles Steck

  • Joan

    Wow do I wish I'd read this. We went the next night -- Valentine's Day. It was, by far, the worst dining experience I'd ever had. By far. The Ceasar salad had glops of mayonnaise on it. The salmon was a patty that we could have -- should have because it would have been much better! -- bought at Whole Foods. There was a class in session -- was that supposed to be our chef? You're right the carbonara was good. The bread was good too. I was so dissapointed and moreover I felt so ripped off -- because I was ripped off and badly.

  • DCBean

    Sounds about right. I went to this place about a year and a half ago; it was the single worst dining experience of my life. Our waiter was mean, slamming thins down on the table and fighting with the bus staff. Dinner took 3 hours and there were only 4 of us. We would have got up and left but were there with friends that were only in for one night and we didn't have time to find a different place to eat. I have heard a bunch of bad reviews about this place. Good riddance.

  • Alex

    Ha Ha...Bebo sucks and Donna is a sham! He might as well get a job as an executive chef at a local Olive Garden.

  • Pingback: What to Make of Bebo’s Closing and Donna’s Future? - Young & Hungry - Washington City Paper

  • Spring

    It's all about the kharma I think...What I want to know if he's not paying his employees and was not paying rent (THATS WHY THE LANDLORD SHUT HIM DOWN)...WHERE WAS ALL THE MONEY GOING??? ILL BET HE'S SITTING PRETTY!!! SCAM ARTIST.

  • http://kaviar01.bravejournal.com/ wesley perron

    Great page. Also showed up fine in my new browser IE 8.

  • http://blogs.allangrayorbis.org/foodforkids/ breanne b. gordon

    Wonderful blog post. I'am not the type of guy who often write a blog, but i wish to know where you take your informations from?

...