At Michelin-starred D.C. restaurant Imperfecto, chef Enrique Limardo serves three separate menus: an omakase-style chef’s table tasting menu, a six-course set menu, and an a la carte menu. And on the set menu, Imperfecto’s agnolotti, developed by sous chef Kelvin Gomez, stands out for the way the traditional Italian dish highlights the Latin and Mediterranean flavors the restaurant is centered around.
“People don’t really expect a pasta on the menu itself because you’re coming in looking for Latin flavors, Mediterranean flavors,” says Gomez. “But the thing is, if you can concentrate all those flavors inside something so delicate, then why not, right?”
To make the dish, Gomez starts by preparing a confit baby fennel with Morita chiles, olives, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. When it’s ready, he pipes dollops of the mixture onto the sheet of pasta that he cuts out into even shapes of rectangular agnolotti. Once it’s cut, it can sit until it’s time for service.
“I love the high volume at that pace that it is right now, but I also like the intricate fine dining, like 30 hours just to make one little sauce,” says Gomez. “You pour all your passion, your love, everything into that one little thing.”
Watch the full video to see how Limardo, Gomez, and the rest of the team prepare dishes for the other menus including a suckling pig, crab buñuelos, and more.