My wife and I were sitting at a two-top at Al Tiramisu, chef’s Luigi Diotaiuti‘s dark, subterranean Italian operation in Dupont Circle. I was staring at a portrait-quality drawing of Giuseppe Verdi, whose graying, haunted mug seemed to be accusing me of a life-time devotion to rock ’n’ roll. There was a glass-encased display of miniature grappa bottles to my left, as some sort of Italian music wafted overhead. I halfway wished I could switch places with my wife, Carrie, so I could have my back to the wall. It feels that authentic here.

I was drawn to the prosciutto di Parma antipasto because, according to the menu, it comes with “homemade cherry mozzarella.” But when I asked the waiter if the fresh cheese was indeed made in-house, he instead explained that the “cherry” adjective indicates the size of the mozzarella, not the flavor. So I tried my question again, and the waiter shook his head no, no, no. The mozzarella is not made in-house, he insisted.

Carrie and I shrugged it off and ordered the antipasto anyway, which was utterly delicious.

This morning, I called Diotaiuti to double-check about the mozzarella. After all, why advertise it as homemade if it’s not? The chef explained that the waiter was confused. The buffalo mozzarella is imported from Italy; the cherry mozzarella is made in-house with fresh cow-milk curds.