Chef Matt Adler
Chef Matt Adler

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Alta Strada pizza. All photos Laura Hayes.

When Chef Matt Adler left Osteria Morini to travel in August, it wasn’t immediately clear that he would return to D.C. But since then, he criss-crossed most of Italy with his wife, and even met up with Chef/Restaurateur Michael Schlow in Bologna. Today the two chefs announced that they’ll be teaming up in a big way.

Adler will oversee culinary development of all Italian cuisine within Schlow Restaurant Group (SRG) as executive chef of Italian concepts, including Alta Strada City Vista, Casolare in Glover Park, and forthcoming Alta Strada Mosaic.The Northern Virginia outpost of Alta Strada is set to open in Merrifield’s Mosaic District by the end of the month (2911 District Ave.).

“Michael and I have known each other for seven or eight years, I love what he does,” Adler says. “He’s been into [Osteria] Morini multiple times. We have a likeminded philosophy about Italian food.”

Adler isn’t the only chef Schlow gained from Osteria Morini. Last month, the Emilia-Romagna-inspired restaurant’s heralded pastry chef, Alex Levin, also joined SRG. The band is back together.

We’ve had an incredible recruiting season. We’re like the college team that got all of the blue chip players,” Schlow jokes. “Having Matt join us and Alex join us, it’s a continuation of what we started and an opportunity to upgrade.”

Adler, who started Feb. 1, joins Alta Strada a month after the Mount Vernon Triangle restaurant went through a major menu overhaul to better match what guests were ordering. They scrapped most of the entrees in favor of more antipasti, pasta, and pizza.

Adler’s resume also includes stints at two now-shuttered Michelin-starred restaurants in New York: Alain Ducasse at Essex House and Convivio.

Alta Strada City Vista, 465 K St. NW; (202) 629-4662;

Casolare, 2505 Wisconsin Ave. NW; (202) 625-5400;