It may be set on bustling 14th Street, but beautiful Bresca far from blends in with the crowd. Instead, this inviting restaurant mixes the warmth of a neighborhood treasure with the talent of a special occasion spot. Inside, splashes of golden yellow, a living wall crafted from moss, and design elements teetering between whimsical and downright surrealist (think bronze fish heads) create a singularly contemporary vibe.
The cooking is at once casual and ambitious, thanks to Chef Ryan Ratino’s cutting-edge credentials—minibar, for example. Here, his menu is divided into three categories, like snacks, medium plates and large, shareable plates. Find a clear sense of artistry in such dishes as the foie gras negroni, topped with Campari gelée and accompanied by warm madeleines. Squab and lobster united by a sauce Américaine turns classic surf and turf on its head; while impressively executed pappardelle with lamb ragù dazzles palates with wow-worthy flavor and agreeable prices.
Cocktails, like The Daulphine St. Punch, may be relished in lieu of dessert. Featuring a clarified milk punch of brandy de Jerez, satsuma, Anisette, Peychaud's, and jasmine, it is a clever and subtle play on a Sazerac.