Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fiola, DC

Fiola is a recently opened Italian restaurant in DC. It marks the return to the area of James Beard award winning chef Fabio Trabocchi. Despite being open only a few weeks, there is already a back and forth on the net about the food from Fiola. However, I had a pretty great dinner there this week.
I was glad to have a fellow DC foodie along so we were able to try several item from their menu. We started with two antipastos. First was Apulia buffalo mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, and a pesto of basil Genovese. While simple, the ingredients were fantastic, and the flavors particularly of the pesto were confident and delicious.
We also shared a salad of violet baby artichoke, fava beans, English peas, and mint. The peas were a puree at the bottom of the salad. This was light, beautiful and fresh tasting.

For the pasta course, we shared a spaghetti with Dungeness crab, a sauce made of sea urchin, and sprinkled with red chile flakes. This was a wonderfully complex and rich plate. The urchin sauce was creamy and coated the noodles, and the chile added a nice surprise in the mouth.

For my main course, I ordered the Branzino served on a bed of olive oil crushed potato and topped with a brodetto, a stew of littleneck clams and fish. The fish was perfectly prepared- light and tender, and the "sauce" complemented it well, and had a slight kick to it as well.

My friend ordered the veal chop. This was prepared with a layer of mushrooms all wrapped in proscuitto. It was accompanied by hazelnuts and Jerusalem artichoke puree. It was a contrast to the fish course- much more rich and hearty. The veal was also perfectly cooked.

For dessert, we tried two items. I ordered the fennel gelato with blood orange on top of an olive oil semolina cake. The fennel flavor was so good. It had a licorice-like quality without the harshness. The tanginess of the blood orange and the sweetness of the cake went well with the fennel flavor.
My friend had the trifle of fresh strawberry and lemon granita. Like the other dessert, this was a wonderful combination of flavors: the sweetness of the cream, the sour flavor of the granita, and the strawberries.
We also received a trio small petit fours from the pastry chef including a chocolate chip macaroon.
Needless to say, we were stuffed by the end of the meal. I'm very hopeful for Fiola, and I look forward to returning very soon.

601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC

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