At Modena, the new Ashok Bajaj concept located in the former Bibiana space, diners enjoy a seasonal menu driven by locally sourced ingredients. Executive Chef John Melfi helms the kitchen, churning out Italian classics such as burrata and tagliatelle bolognese, along with modern ones, including a duck breast smoked in the pizza oven, and fresh seafood cooked over the Japanese Konro grill.
The restaurant also features an antipasti trolley, which will serve 6-8 different dishes daily until they sell out. During our visit, the sampler included marinated olives, shaved prosciutto, artichoke scafata, and a ricotta tart, among others.
For starters, there are classics such as the polpette, meatballs made with a mix of veal, beef and pork served over polenta, and burrata served with pesto. There are also less traditional offerings including a foie gras mousse, as well as a big eye tuna crudo, served atop a block of Himalayan sea salt that seasons the tuna as it rests.
For larger portions, there is a menu of hand-rolled pastas made with flour milled in house, pizzas, traditional entrees, and fresh seafood that is cooked simply over the charcoal grill. Truffles were shaved tableside, pastas were cooked al dente, and dishes were presented beautifully.
On a sweeter note, we sampled a few desserts to wrap up the meal. Of course there’s panna cotta, bombolini, affogatos and tiramisu, but the standout for me was the lemon tart, with a wonderful balance of sweet and sour notes, complimented by a variety of textures.
Modena is open for lunch and dinner, with happy hour during the week from 3-7pm.
1100 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Lunch served M-F 11:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner served M-T 5:00pm – 10:00pm
and until 10:30pm on Friday & Saturday