By Stefanie Gans and Rina Rapuano
Italian | McLean | $$$$ & $$
Farro swirled around a pot like risotto is even better than the Arborio rice version, nuttier, chewier, a mound of grains with more integrity, and somehow steals the spotlight from a duo of delicate scallops, pudgy rounds both tender and almost juicy.
During the day at Assaggi Osteria, it’s a ladies-who-lunch scene, and the women know where to find sophisticated dishes, housemade bucatini, long, hollow strands glossed in pecorino Romano and lots of pepper; crisp-skinned branzino next to a fresh, lively bed of greens; and a meal completed with foamy cappuccinos and bombolini, huge, round doughnut holes that are warm and creamy and even better swiped through a patch of Nutella or lemon curd.
Next door, a more casual solution is Assaggi Pizzeria, which fires up chewy pies decorated in creamy cheeses and salty meats. Snacks include fried pasta balls (because why fry up rice, as arancini, when noodles sauced in carbonara is an option?), and artichokes, fried where every petal is coated and crunchy and primed for dipping into a smoked aioli. The kitchens share pastry duties, so go ahead and order those doughnuts on this side too. // 6641 Old Dominion Drive, McLean