We were out on an Avon Walk training walk and in search of dinner. We aimlessly wandered toward U Street but weren't sure what we wanted to eat. We remembered that our readers had recommended the Florida Avenue Grill but it was already closed for the evening. Then I remembered that I had been meaning to try Coppi's Organic Restaurant on U Street (near 14th). B and I keep lists of places we want to try and though we can't remember where we heard about Coppi's, it has been on the list for a long time.
The first thing we noticed about Coppi's is that it is DARK. That is one sure way to keep bloggers from photographing your food! Apologies for the lack of photos but we're not going to use a flash (we think it is too distracting to other diners). Not ever. Sorry.
We then noticed that Coppi's serves organic, mostly-local, cuisine with a Northern Italian focus. The cozy dining room is plastered with photos of cycling races and cycling jerseys. It is a much less cheesy, and much tastier version of Buca Di Beppo. Further research revealed that Coppi's was founded in 1993 by a brother and sister duo. Tragically, the sister (Nori Amaya) was killed in her DC apartment in November 2009. Her brother Carlos keeps her memory alive by continuing to serve quality food and hosting entertainment events such as Rumba Nights.
For an appetizer, our waiter recommended the Bietole al Forno (seared young green chard with hot pepper, garlic, ricotta, and moscato raisins). It was an interesting dish but I have a hard time biting through veggies like chard and bok choy, so I probably wasn't the best audience for this one. A side note to all the blog-reading babies out there: don't suck your thumb or else you'll grow up to have misaligned teeth and the inability to bite through certain vegetables.
We asked two different waiters what they would recommend and both pointed us toward the Saraceno Pizza. This unique pie featured lamb sausage, smoked mozzarella, and harissa (a North African spicy, smoky chili/sun dried tomato paste). This is a prime example of why I'm glad B taught me to ask for recommendations. I would never have ordered this pizza on my own but I loved it. The smoky burn of the harissa kicked the pants off of boring old tomato sauce.
Overall, we had a very pleasant meal at Coppi's and walked home with happily full tummies and our tongues still tingling with the harissa flavor.
Second Thoughts from B
J did a nice job of describing the unique flavors of Coppi's. In short, it was what you would expect from the stereotypical family meal in Italy with a garden out back. But aside from the food, let me touch on two other points.
First, everything was very reasonably priced. Sure, we shared a salad and a pizza, but we left full with fresh, organic homemade food for under $30 total. This was probably also aided by the fantastic (free) focaccia...
The other thing about our experience was the warmth of the service. Perfectly matching the Italian family feel, the team made us feel like we were distant cousins visiting the homeland. Each person seemed to genuinely take an interest in us, and more than just want we planned on ordering. On our walk back, I can remember thinking about what a great find this was and looking forward to stumbling across it again.