Claudio’s Table: Urbane Trattoria with Heritage Recipes
By November 9, 2023 One Comment 622•
Claudio’s Table, an urbane trattoria in the Palisades, dishes up the Italian food that Chef/Owner Claudio Pirollo and Executive Chef Alessandro Pirovano grew up eating and cooking. Chef Pirollo is no stranger to the neighborhood; his nearby Et Voila French/Belgian restaurant has been a local favorite for a decade and a half. For his Italian restaurant, Pirollo’s smart renovation has given the storefront space (formerly DC Boathouse) an airy, modern feel with an impressive overhead wine display, a welcoming bar and an open kitchen showcasing the cooks.
Chef Pirollo, whose family has deep roots in Italy, grew up in Belgium where his parents ran an Italian delicatessen. They marketed products from their hometown Montecassino, near Rome. Pirollo spent boyhood summers there, staying with his grandparents and absorbing the local food culture. Many of the dishes served at his new restaurant are anchored in this heritage. For example, the lamb stew is inspired by a grandmother’s dish, while the tiramisu dessert was his mother’s specialty.
Naturally, the food served at the restaurant also benefits from Pirollo’s formal chef training and wide experience. Thus, the kitchen uses sous vide techniques to cook the veal for the vitello tonnato and foams the tuna sauce “to make it lighter.” Pastas, crafted in-house, are offered in classic preparations – again informed by chefly skills, as are the fish and meats. Branzino is very popular as is octopus with black garlic and couscous. Pizzas, fired in a wood-burning oven imported from Italy, find their way to many tables (frequently as appetizers, Pirollo explains). Regional wines from Italy are poured, along with beers.
Chef Alessandro Pirovano, who helms the kitchen, hails from Milan. He, too, started cooking professionally at an early age. Like Pirollo, his cooking is rooted in tradition, informed by modern techniques and ingredients – as well as his food memories. Thus, the classic olive oil cake on the menu is enhanced with white chocolate accents, while the special crusco peppers from Basilica that flavor the octopus dish are a “reminder of my trips to southern Italy with my best friend.”
The restaurant is a work in progress as the chefs add new spins on tradition to the menu. Next up: lasagna – enriched with short ribs, pork and veal. It’s in the works.
Claudio’s Table is at 5441 MacArthur Blvd, NW.