D.C. Dining: Fiola
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20004
My girlfriend knows me all too well. Before I could even finish my text about reservations and restaurants, she had already texted with a full blown itinerary. And by now, you know I am SUCH A FAN of an itinerary. I was thrilled to see that she scheduled Fiola for lunch. I just love it when a plan falls into place!
Fiola is certainly not a newcomer to the Washington D.C. dining scene, but rather the flagship of Fabio Trabocchi's restaurants (who also presides over Fiola Mare, Casa Luca and Sfoglina and the highly anticipated Del Mar restaurant opening Winter 2017). Trabocchi, a chef renown for bringing ultra-luxe Italian food to our nation's capital, was awarded one Michelin star in the inaugural Michelin Guide for Washington D.C. Only 12 restaurants received Michelin star ratings and Fiola was one of them. Quite the accomplishment, if you ask me.
As I approached the unassuming entrance, I was quite surprised at what I found inside. The restaurant was more formal than what I expected. When I think of Italian food, a more casual, home-style setting comes to mind. We were escorted to our table and had at least three servers at all times catering to our every need. Fiola caters to everyone, not only is it the perfect place for girlfriends, gossip, and garganelli but just a few tables away were some political types brokering a deal sure to impact someone's future.
We decided that champagne was a must to commemorate the occasion. In my opinion, there is nothing like catching up over a glass of bubbles! One thing that I loved about Fiola's tasting menu was the flexibility each patron was given to build their own tasting experience. Some restaurants are a bit more rigid and dictate your course options, while Fiola adapts to the mood of the patron proving countless options to choose from. After many laughs and lots of bubbles, we perused the menu and made our selections. In the words of Heidi Klum," one day you're in and the next day you're out." This is exactly how I felt when choosing between so many impressive courses. What's a girl to do?
First, from the kitchen was the Burrata served with Broccoli di Cicco and Sorrento Lemon. I struggled with cutting into the creamy burrata because the dish was so beautiful, but the turophile in me threw caution to the wind and said to hell with it- I pulled out the knife and dug right in. The broccoli really changed up the flavor of the dish proving sweet notes throughout.
Without a doubt, the Yellowfin Tuna Crudo made the cut but was I was blown away by the presentation. I can safely say this was the first time I've ever seen such an elaborate Crudo dish. Topped with Calvisius caviar and 24 karat gold leaf, this was clearly meant for royalty. The chive oil sauce added an additional dimension of flavor that took this dish to the next level.
In the mood for something a little more comforting, I ordered the Pappardelle Carbonara with Confit Egg Yolk. Carbonara is one of my favorites, therefore anytime it's on a menu you can bet I will order it. On top of the pappardelle was a perfectly poached egg. While I didn't capture any "yolk porn", rest assured it was gorgeous and even more delicious. After cutting into the poached egg, I lightly mixed the pasta to ensure equal egg coverage. The house made guanciale provided the perfect amount of saltiness and I was in heaven.
Without hesitation, one course we all agreed upon was the Lobster Ravioli. Looking at the picture below can you blame us? Even though the dish only had two ravioli (which were considerably large), there was plenty of lobster in this dish for all to enjoy. Not only was the lobster extremely tender but the sauce comprised of ginger chive and roe literally made my eyes roll back! Mama Mia!
Not only are the dishes stunning but so are the drinks! Needing a change of scenery, I decided a cocktail was in order. There were so many that piqued my interest, I was in quite the quandary. I narrowed my selections down to the Bella Estate which had hints of Lavender (btw-total sucker for anything Lavender) and the Fiola G&T. When in doubt, ask the expert! Without hesitation, he recommended the Fiola G&T and I can see why. The yuzu and elderflower flavors melded together perfectly to create and light and refreshing drink ideal for a hot summer day.
After such a decadent lunch, I couldn't wrap my brain around ordering dessert but the server insisted that we take a peek at the menu. Am I ever grateful?? We chose the Strawberries and Honey dessert. After all, sounds simple and light, right? This dessert was far from simple and one of the best desserts I have had all year. It wasn't the honey panna cotta or the amazing strawberries but rather the sugar coated rose petals that are dipped in a bath of liquid nitrogen before they are carefully placed on top of the crystallized berry mixture. Roses have never tasted so delectable.
If you're planning a trip to Washington D.C., allow yourself to be transported to Italy and indulge in a meal at Fiola. Chef Trabocchi's elegant and sophisticated approach towards food has resulted in substantial flavorful dishes. In addition to the outstanding food and impeccable service, Fiola boasts quite the extensive wine list. If wine isn't your thing, never fear as there is a carefully curated cocktail menu just on the other page.
Until Next Time!
Tariff: Lunch-$50.00/person; Cocktails: $16.00
Can't Miss Courses: Yellowfin Tuna Crudo and Strawberries and Honey
Potential Pass: Burrata, Broccoli di Cicco, and Sorrento Lemon
Reservations: Click here