Having good friends move to faraway lands is usually an incentive to explore new places. Last week, we were treated to our first glimpse at solid red sauce Italian in the DC area; since moving here from Boston some five years ago, we have been furiously searching out red sauce establishment in the area, albeit with mostly lackluster results.
Last week some good friends coaxed us to traveling across state (and DC) lines to Wheaton to try Cristina’s, a Mom-and-Pop establishment, where the latter smiled broadly at our friends, regulars there, when we all entered. While the interior is akin to a Papa Gino’s (loud Venetian fresco wall paper et al.), I was actually reassured to see this; sometimes the cheesier the better when it comes to Italian-American.
But questionable decor aside, Cristina’s really shines on the requisite Italian-American fare. I had the chicken parmesan, B the veal saltimbocca. Both were tender, perfectly pan-fried, smothered in good mozzarella and crispy pancetta respectively, and then topped with tasty red sauce for the chicken, wine reduction for the veal. Entrees (which come with a salad that's not all that impressive) are priced at $15 - $20.
But my favorite part of the meal was dessert. The four of us shared a massive cloud of creamy, rich old-school style tiramisu.
This restaurant is a little outside the bounds of my usual geographic radius, but is worth a try if you are in the area. Easily the best classic Italian-American restaurant we've discovered in the greater DC metro area.