Potenza is an Italian restaurant and bakery downtown on H St and 15th NW. The bakery is a great option for downtown lunch seekers. The restaurant serves mid to upper-mid range Italian fare that is best suited to a night out with friends. Potenza is lively, well located and totally approachable. Also totally approachable is Chef Bryan Moscatello, who took some time to answer the standard questions from BYT.
BYT: A person walks into Potenza, what do they HAVE to order?
Chef Moscatello: The house cured salumi platter, a pizza, the suckling pig on Wednesday and an order of canolis of course.
BYT: Name five ingredients you think everyone should have.
Chef Moscatello: Maldon Salt, Tellicherry peppercorns, Villa Manodori balsamic vinegar, Trevi olive oil from Umbria and Beurre d’Isigny. I must admit this question is a little unfair though.
BYT: What’s your favorite ingredient or kitchen tool right now?
Chef Moscatello: A spoon always has been and always will be!
BYT: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chef Moscatello: Epoisses – a soft, washed rind cheese from Bourgogne, France
BYT: Who is your biggest influence, or your hottest food crush?
Chef Moscatello: Not sure if this answer is what you’re looking for, but currently I am being influenced by anyone who dares to be great, from extreme sports pioneers to moguls of industry, hoteliers and restaurateurs. Food crush = edible cocktails
BYT: One thing everyone should know how to make?
Chef Moscatello: An emulsification. With this knowledge you will have a sauce, dressing or spread for any occasion.
BYT: Best meal you ever had?
Chef Moscatello: Alinea in Chicago. It was a roller coaster ride for all of the senses.
BYT: Someone comes to DC to visit – where do you take them?
Chef Moscatello: Zola Wine and Kitchen for a great farm-to-table lunch, and then the new Zola Chef’s Tasting Room for dinner
BYT: You just got a phone call and you need to make dinner for four in under an hour. Using only what you have in your house right now?
Chef Moscatello: It appears we will be going hungry but we will drink well. The only thing I could actually pull off right now would be duck fat braised potato confit, poached duck egg, grilled greens, and cherry balsamic dressing. I would also be able to squeak out a coffee ice cream affogato with a cashew tuille. I pretty much only eat breakfast at my house.
Be sure to check out Potenza’s Savory or Sweet tasting menu. For $28 you can order 3 savory items or 3 desserts, with an option for a wine pairing. Well priced and tasty!