We were going to see the Nutcracker Ballet in DC and wanted to find a restaurant w/ a Pre-Theater menu. We settled on Tosca, an upscale Italian restaurant, which has two courses and a dessert for $35. It is also within walking distance of the Warner Theater, where we were heading, and the Metro Center station. The dining room is rather large, with a small and crowded bar tucked in by the door. The wine list was wonderful - we are more familiar with Italian wines than any other, so we love a good Italian wine list.
There are two dishes that are mentioned in every single review of Tosca I have read. They were both on the Prix-fixe menu, so of course I ordered both! The first was a carrot flavored pappardelle, topped with a rabbit ragu and fresh thyme. The idea is really cute (rabbit, carrots...), and the execution was wonderful. Big, soft pasta noodles smothered in a rich and comforting ragu, with just a hint of freshness from the thyme. This was my favorite dish of the night. The second course was a ravioli dish with a roasted veal, prosciutto, and pistachio mortadella filling, topped with a red wine reduction sauce with sage. This dish was very good as well, but having two hearty pasta dishes in a row did not allow for much differentiation. Jasper, who had a caprese salad as his first dish, loved it. We ordered a cheese plate for dessert - four cheeses selected by the chef with a few accompaniments. Overall - the pre-theater menu is a great deal, I will definitely return and I would order that carrot pappardelle any time.