Everyday Italian Restaurant to Replace French Prix Fixe Place Mirabelle Downtown

Mirabelle, a French-influenced rendezvous for fixed-price meals near the White House since 2017, will not reappear from a pandemic-induced closure. Instead, owner Hakan Ilhan turns the glitzy space at 900 16th Street NW into an Italian restaurant with a more affordable price tag. Il Piatto, which means “the dish” in Italian, is scheduled to open in August.

“Comfort food never goes out of fashion, and during the pandemic there was [even] more evidence of that, ”says Ilhan. “We thought that Italian is something that people can relate to very easily. “

Chef Christ Lanydrek comes to Il Piatto after working as Executive Sous Chef at Annapolis Yacht Club
Il Piatto / official photo

New Executive Chef Christ Lanydrek was most recently Executive Sous Chef at the Annapolis Yacht Club and previously cooked at the Grenier on H Street NE. Lanydrek was born in the Republic of Congo, graduated from the Académie Culinaire de France in Paris, and learned to cook Italian dishes while working in restaurants in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Il Piatto will serve entrees in the $ 10 to $ 18 range, including crispy zucchini blossoms and fried burrata. Main courses ($ 18 to $ 35) for fettuccine bolognese, tagliatelle carbonara with garlic cream with truffle and vodka penne with salami and sausage. There will also be protein-centric platters like Meatball Cacciatore, Parmesan Chicken, Milanese Veal, and Grilled Marsala Chicken. A dessert section will feature Italian dishes like chocolate panna cotta and tiramisu. A ricotta soup will be served with a porcini broth, and a cioppino seafood broth is accompanied by a fricasse of salmon, shrimp, Italian sausage and tomatoes.

Along with Italian aperitifs, Aperol spritzes and Campari cocktails, wines from Italy and America will cost between $ 35 and $ 250 a bottle and $ 8 to $ 21 a glass. A weekday happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) will lower the prices of small plates and flatbreads topped with ingredients like prosciutto, artichoke, and spinach ricotta.

Ilhan says Italian food is his favorite. His portfolio already covers Al Dente cuisine in the north-west of the north – a favorite take-out for Dr Anthony Fauci during the pandemic. He also runs the Turkish-inspired Ottoman tavern and the French-style Liberté brasserie in Georgetown.

Restaurateur Hakan Ilhan says pandemic prompted him to open more casual restaurant in former Mirabelle space
Rey Lopez / For Mirabelle

The original mid-century look of Norris Design Studio’s 4,300 square foot space will remain largely the same. Glamorous touches include red reptilian upholstery, mirrored and gold accents, and a custom brass and wood chandelier hovering above a Carrara marble flooring installation.

Mirabelle’s fine dining award reflected its ornate appearance over its lifespan, opening with a $ 26 ham and butter sandwich for lunch under the direction of award-winning chef James Beard, Frank Ruta, who has made a controversial split a year later. After a staff reshuffle, Alinea alumnus Keith Bombaugh stepped in with prix fixe menus ($ 75 to $ 195) filled with French, Mid-Atlantic and New England flavors. Mirabelle has been closed since DC’s first dinner ban last year.

Ilhan said the pandemic taught him that an expensive special occasion venue serving theatrical and time-consuming meals would have to change models to survive, which involved targeting more than just a bunch of expense accounts. He describes the next restaurant as “cheap, but [still] sophisticated and accessible to many horizons.

The restaurant’s location on the corner of 16th and Eye Street NW puts it right on the border with Black Lives Matter Plaza, which Ilhan says creates an opportunity to capture a new crowd of tourists.

A 22-seat marble bar covered in mirrored panels is joined by a 100-seat dining room and a wraparound patio for another 60.
Rey Lopez / For Mirabelle

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