Urbana Restaurant in Dupont Circle treated my family to a complimentary meal for my son’s 12th birthday last week to try out their new kids’ menu. The highlight of the kids’ menu is a “Build Your Own Pizza” for $8 that comes with veggie or meat toppings. Two of my three kids tried the BYOP, with my vegetarian daughter working with cherry tomatoes, peppers, and artichokes (see top photo), and my birthday boy making his own meat lovers’ version. After the kids place the toppings (and eat some toppings) on their dough, the waiter takes away the customized pizzas to bake. When our meals came out, the kids loved seeing their creations ready to eat their personal pizzas. My daughter decided to eat half and take the other half home for her school lunch, whereas my son was only too happy to hoover the entire pie. He did manage to give his little 5-year-old brother, who was happy with the old standby of chicken tenders and fries, a big bite.
As for what Urbana has to offer adults, we couldn’t have been more impressed with the Mediterranean-inspired menu. The small plates weren’t quite as small as tapas , but the recommendation is still 2-3 plates per person. We ordered a charcuterie plate to start, with two cheeses (one of our favorites, Manchego from Spain, and the new-to-us semi-soft and delicious Taleggio from Italy) and a chicken pate mousse served with cornichons, fig jam, and flatbreads. The charcuterie plate was such a hit, we had to ration it out between ourselves and the three kids.
Next, we shared the beets and carrot salad (goat cheese cream, red quinoa, arugula, and walnut vinaigrette), which was a fabulously refreshing follow up to the charcuterie plate. For our pasta course, my husband devoured a special lamb tagliatelle, which I can’t comment on, since he forgot to give me any, and I had the spinach pappardelle, which was flavorful (mushrooms, pancetta, zucchini, parmigiano) but surprisingly light for a wide noodle.
Our main courses were so filling, I couldn’t finish mine. I opted for the short ribs, cooked in red wine sauce with fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, teeny Cipollini onions, and bacon lardons. If I hadn’t had one of the previous courses, I could have licked my plate clean, but as it was, I could only eat about half. My husband ordered his favorite: scallops. Again, he kept oohing and aahhing, so finally I gave him a look that can only mean “give me some!” and was able to try a tiny bite.
Afterward, my husband and I indulged in a coffee/latte, and all five of us shared the birthday dessert: Bomboloni (chocolate cremeux, espresso ice cream). Then we all waddled out to find our car, which was parked just a couple of blocks away (a real coup in a street-parking area).
If you are still looking for a place to celebrate Valentine’s Day, check to see if Urbana has any reservations available (202)956-6650. Chef Ethan McKee has come up with a Perfect Duos menu, a menu of inventive gourmet pairings like pan-roasted Muscovy duck breast and foie gras with turnip and spiced fig sauce; pan-seared veal tenderloin and a sweetbread piccata with farro risotto; and chocolate and orange nougat glace with candied hazelnuts and a blood orange confit (below).
Urbana’s Perfect Duos menu will run all weekend, not just Friday night, so if you can’t make it on the 14th, you have all weekend to try it out. And if you can’t make it, definitely try Urbana for a family meal everyone will rave about!