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“Mostly it’s a salumi and anchovy bar with a side of killer bread and some pizza,” says Tad Curtz of Etto, a new Logan Circle restaurant which opens tonight at 5 p.m.
That’s a funny thing to say given that Curtz and David Rosner, who also own Standard beer garden, have teamed up with pizza masters and 2Amy founders Peter Pastan and Amy Morgan to open Etto. Curtz also worked at 2Amys from 2006 to 2010.
But salumi and anchovies have something in common with pizza: “It’s all about fermentation,” Pastan says. Fermented meat, fermented fish, fermented dough.
About that dough: It’s made with flour milled in-house with a machine that sits prominently in the back of the dining room.
“The flour has a really different quality if you use it fresh,” Pastan says. “Most people mill and then they allow everything to oxidize because they think it makes it stronger and more flavorful. But if you use it right away, it has a really fair sweetness of wheat that you lose when you age the wheat.”
Although the 2Amys team is involved, don’t expect exact replicas of their pies. Pastan says the fermentation process for the dough is slightly different. “It’s not totally dissimilar, it’s just a little more complicated,” he says. Among the pizza options: roasted cauliflower with capers, pine nuts, anchovy, and bread crumbs as well as cotechino (a type of sausage) with fontina cheese and egg. Check out the full menu below.
The pizza dough is not the only thing that’s complicated. The restaurant makes its own cured meats, and some of the wine will come from Piedrasassi New Vineland Winery, which Pastan and his wife own in Southern California. The two keg wines available at Etto will include a Sangiovese rose and a Syrah. The rest of the wine list consists of Sicilian varieties and Beaujolais.
The one cocktail on the menu for now is a Negroni made with D.C.’s own Green Hat Gin, Campari, and house-made red vermouth. (“We’re doing the hipster make-your-own-vermouth thing,” Pastan says.)
“We’ve taken the long way around for everything,” says Curtz. He’s not kidding: Curtz and his father even built the tables, bar, and the light fixtures.
The only thing the Etto team seems to not make themselves is the anchovies. But there’s hope for that, too: “We’ve done it before at 2Amys,” Curtz says. “We’ll probably do it here when we get some good fish.”
Etto will join a growing number of pizza destinations on 14th Street NW, including Ghibellina, Lupo Verde, Matchbox, Posto, Piola, and M Cafe & Bar. But Pastan and Curtz seem unfazed by the nearby competition. “Whatever,” Pastan says. “We’ll do our thing, and they’ll do their thing.”
Etto, 1541 14th St. NW; ettodc.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman