Falls Church / Italian / $$$
The sign out front features light bulbs spelling one of the sweetest words that can be written: “pasta.” And whether it’s ricotta cavatelli woven with pulled pork ragù, rigatoni clotted with beef Bolognese, or ravioli filled with eggplant, the noods here are worthy of note. But they are not the only reason to dine at Thompson Italian.
Married chefs Gabe and Katherine Thompson have so much more to offer than housemade pasta. Salads, for example, are worth the price of admission alone. One recent highlight: a ball of liquid-centered burrata cheese that served as the centerpiece for a collection of stone fruit and lightly charred radicchio. The creamy, sweet, and bitter ingredients combine in a thickened balsamic dressing beneath a liberal dusting of pistachio-dotted dukkah, a nutty Middle Eastern spice blend.
In Gabe’s deft hands, a hanger steak, a cut usually regarded more for its beefy flavor than pleasant texture, melts in a diner’s mouth. In contrast to pasta, it’s a low-carb dish, with roasted market and pickled peppers as sides. They’re dressed in a layer of tangy almond salsa verde.
Even if you’re cutting carbs, it’s a prerequisite to try at least one of Katherine’s desserts. A blackberry upside-down cake takes on the texture of gooey bread pudding, melting the sweet-corn gelato by its side.
Forget about pasta? It’s not an assignment I’ll give you often. And go ahead and order a plate, while you’re at it. Just don’t miss the Thompsons’ hyper-seasonal specialties on its account.
See this: Foodie-themed art is a centerpiece to the hipster-comfy dining room.
Eat this: Burrata, hanger steak, blackberry upside-down cake
Service: Decorous and efficient.
When to dine here: You’re celebrating an occasion that doesn’t call for jackets and ties. Or just la dolce vita.