DOC

The first time I went to DOC, it was in the summer of 2008, on the restaurant’s 28th day of existence, and I was with my supper club—a motley crew of friends, family and total strangers that included my parents and several very good friends, a depressed English girl who was about to be deported and a local food blogger who wouldn’t stop complaining about the flavor profiles. The air conditioning wasn’t working properly so everyone was melting into their cannoli, which caused more complaining all around, and for many months after that whenever I proposed going back to DOC to see how things were going, people got haunted looks and started compulsively fanning themselves, even if it was snowing outside.

The tiny Europeanesque gem of a dining room is fronted by a galley kitchen Thumbelina would feel at home in, where chefs Jobie Bailey and Paul Losch turn out simple, delicious dishes like crisp garden lettuces tossed with wild plums, beets and local goat cheese and a delicately-layered summer vegetable lasagna topped with a fresh farm egg.

Since that sweaty evening long long ago, DOC has blossomed into a lovely, and much cooler, dining experience the mention of which evokes a haunted look only if the invitee is otherwise occupied and can’t join me.

The tiny Europeanesque gem of a dining room seats a scant 24,  ensuring an intimate evening for you and your hot (but hopefully not too hot) date or supper club alike, and is fronted by a galley kitchen that Thumbelina would feel at home in, where chefs Jobie Bailey and Paul Losch turn out simple, delicious dishes like crisp garden lettuces tossed with wild plums, beets and local goat cheese, tender flat iron steak with pocha beans and cauliflower, and a delicately-layered summer vegetable lasagna topped with a fresh farm egg.

The wine list is 100 percent Italian, just like my grandfather, and has the same big personality—superstar sommelier Austin Morris Bridges has compiled an impeccable selection, with plenty of great bottles accessibly priced in the under-$40 range. Not to be missed are the cocktails, I’m partial to the Negroni myself.

Desserts are gorgeous, the buttermilk panna cotta with fresh strawberries is just what a warm (but hopefully not too warm) summer evening calls for, and it has a superb flavor profile, in case you’re wondering.

Details

Cuisine: Italian

Executive Chef: Jobie Bailey and Paul Losch

Owner: Dayna McErlean

Atmosphere: Small, sweet, simple, romantic, enchanting

Outdoor seating: A handful of sidewalk tables in fair weather

Best Seat: Not a bad seat in the house, but the outside tables are particularly lovely on a warm evening

Noise Level: Boisterous inside, normal outside

Dress Code: Casual but feel free to dress up if you're on a hot date

Bathrooms: In the back, and it opens directly into the restaurant so be sure to have your fly zipped when you open the door

Parking: Free and easy to find on surrounding side streets

Cocktails: Full bar, and house cocktails all $9

Beer: Old German ($3)

Wine: Fiercely Italian, fantastic selection, bottles $27-$220, glass wines vary in price and aren't printed on the menu so be sure to ask what the price is if you're on a budget and don't want a double-digit surprise when the bill comes. Bubbly-lovers—the menu features over 10 different sparkling wines. Sounds to me like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Corkage: $20 per 750 mL

Teetotalers: San Pellegrino, Limonata, Aranciata

Coffee: Stumptown

Tea: Varies

Ideal Meal: Beef tongue parmesan, Dungeness crab and Meyer lemon risotto, roasted rabbit wrapped in bacon, buttermilk panna cotta

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes

Vegan Friendly: Yes

Good for the following occasions: Romantic Date, Out With Friends, Special & Splurgey

Group/Private Party Details: Parties of up to 8 can be accommodated, and the entire restaurant can be rented out for private parties, call for more info.

Reservations: Yes, call or go on OpenTable

Take-Out: No