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Posted at 8:17 AM ET, 02/22/2010

Magic in the air as Primi Piatti turns 25

By Tom Sietsema

Savino Recine is reaching into his bag of tricks to mark the 25th anniversary of Primi Piatti on April 17. The veteran Washington restaurateur, who says he's been practicing magic off and on for 50 years, promises "minding reading and illusions" to accompany a special seven-course dinner prepared by Primi Piatti's opening chef (insert drum roll here) Roberto Donna.

Wait a minute. Won't Donna be cooking at his own place, the long-awaited and much-delayed Galileo III, next month? "Yeah, well, that will be around the same time that I open," says the Italian chef, who's been teaching cooking classes in his home in McLean in the meantime. "We have to open" in April, says Donna. "Otherwise," he cracks, "my landlord is going to hang me."

Menu details have yet to be worked out, but Donna is thinking of including something from Primi Piatti's original menu, which he kept. (The restaurant, located at 2013 I St. NW, served its first meal May 1, 1985.) The price of admission for the celebration is set: $125 a person for patrons close to the stage and $95 for those elsewhere in the main dining room.

I caught up with Recine when he was visiting a magic shop in Baltimore with some of his peers. He was reluctant to share a preview of his forthcoming performance, hoping to maintain an "element of surprise" for his audience. But his 17-year-old son, Fabio, will be part of one illusion, he allowed, and some tricks will involve "swords and knives."

The secret to 25 years in business? "Lots of dedication," says Recine. And presumably few misdirected knives.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | February 22, 2010; 8:17 AM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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