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May 29, 2007 12:52 PM

Downtown DC/Convention Ctr - Ristorante AV's last day

I just called them, they say their last day in business will be Sat July 28

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  1. I guess I should check it out before then. Is it just classic red Italian? What's some of your favorite dishes?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      it's been so long for me, all I remember is being disappointed by my pasta dish, and the fact that their olive oil and vinegar were out of date, weak pale specimens, like they had overstocked on them in the 60s
      The white pizza seems to be the consensus, and the decidedly non-DC vibe, like stepping off New York Ave into New Jersey

      1. re: Elyssa

        White pizza as an appetizer. Spaghetti Caruso or, if you're not into chicken livers as much as I am, the all'amatriciana.

        1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

          I went for the first time after years of drive-bys while thinking "I wonder what that place is like?" I followed your recs - White pizza with anchovies and fontina as an appetizer, Spaghetti Caruso, and tiramisu for dessert.

          While the place is definitely "red sauce" Italian, it strikes me as the sort of "red sauce for Italians" or at least "first generation Italian-American", rather than the sort of "tourist Italian-American" that has become the norm in so many places and chains. While the menu had most of the "usual suspect" dishes, there were also many things that seemed more like going to an Italian aunt's house for dinner, rather than typical restaurant fare - the variety of vegetable sides, some of the more atypical entrees. It would not make my "top restaurants" list, but I could definitely appreciate it for what it is.

          I wish I had gone long before so I could have explored more before its demise.

        2. re: Elyssa

          White pizza, broccoli rabe, cannelini beans, anything with their homemade sausage, a bottle of the house red, Mario Lanza on the juke. I wonder how much they want for that juke?

          Part of me wants to buy the counter at Waffle Shop and the juke at AV and open my own place.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            The white pizza comes in the bread basket. The sausage and meatball platter is stupendous. The white clam sauce is good, as is the zuppa du pesce. I first ate there about 35 years ago. No doubt, the same guys have been there ever since. I wonder where they're gonna go?

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              The last I read in the Post is that they aren't going anywhere. The owner's kids have no interest in continuing the business. Doug Jemal made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

              I think that leaves Famous Luigi's as the oldest running Italian restaurant in downtown.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I'm sorry to hear that the closing of AV has finally arrived - I've only been there once, and thought the food was pretty good for the price and the lack of decent cheap italian in DC, but nothing really memorable (except for the white pizza with anchovies, which was a great appetizer). I'll have to make it back there one more time before it closes to try some of the suggestions above.

        3. Went there once maybe 5-7 years ago. It was OK, nothing special in my opinion.

          1. Hey, to those who don't find AV "nothing special," you don't appreciate what made it special. First, no one ever orders off the menu. You see what the specials are and then order. If you didn't know that, then you're a fool. White pizza for DC started here. Sure, service could be gruff, but usually if you didn't know what you wanted you deserved it. Certain things they make are better than any "hip" place in town. Go to your tendy places - AV will always be better than them in memory and in actuality,

            2 Replies
            1. re: Duke69

              I'd like to come back to DC in 50 years and see how many trendy places can last as long as AV has. I'm thinking there might not be too many tapas and charcuterie places.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I recently cleaned out files in my office. I keep restaurant menus and reviews, hotel sales packages and catering proposals for my work. You can't believe how many places that were hot, hot, hot even just 5 or 10 years ago aren't here any more. Trends come and go, styles change with Administrations, development and real estate costs have taken a toll. Some restaurants just go under or decide to move on.

                In most years the lists of Top Restaurants in America include about half new additions. What happened to the ones that dropped off? Faded, died, closed?
                What does it take for a fine restaurant to stay at the top year after year? Or for any restaurant to endure like AV?

            2. This article was in the Post Metro section today:

              I kind of wish they went into more detail about some of the fun and interesting stories from the restaurant's past. Those are the things that gives a place charecter.