This month our special restaurant pick came from Joy: Fiola Mare on the waterfront in Washington DC. Once again this pick was a huge hit and we had a wonderful evening trying yet another restaurant none of us had been to before. As it so often does our evening started at the bar where we find Frank and Joy waiting for us drinks in hand…
Special Restaurant Month: Fiola Mare
We were in luck this evening as both of the owners were onsite ensuring our experience was second to none, Fabio Trabocchi (chef and owner) along with his wife Maria Trabocchi (director of guest relations). Fabio came to fame in the Washington DC area at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner with his restaurant Maestro.
As we made our way to the table, and further in to the experience, we met our waiter Anton who was full of energy and personality. Even though Frank and I had some Bourbon at the bar, Anton helped point out their featured Cocktail Series which included Bourbon Infused with Cuban cigar smoke and Bourbon served in a smoke filled glass. Both drinks were incredible and a fantastic way to start our dinner!
Next we started to work with Anton to chart out our first course as the menu was filled with a great assortment of decadent items proving to be too hard for us to select without his assistance. I will point out Anton was not successful with his cajoling for us to try the White Asparagus and the Cock Caught Wild Rabbit. However, he did steer us in the right direction with these following items…
Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with San Marzano Tomatoes, Meyer Lemon, Yuzu Taggiasche Olives, Sorrel Cream, Trout Roe.
Filoa Mare Oysters and Caviar with Blue Point Oysters, Prosecco Zabalione, Chives, Pane Carasau, and Spoonbill Caviar.
Burrata of Buffalo Mozzarella with Spring Peas, Fava Beans, Oregano Black Truffle Dressing, Sunchoke Crèma, Blood Orange, and Pea Leaves.
Recently I read about Fiola in the Washington Post weekend section when Tom Sietsema picked the Fiola Maine Lobster Ravioli with Ginger and Chives as one of the Washington Post 40 Most Essential Dishes of 2015. We decided to try a half order as a starter. I am here to tell you that was one of our better decisions of the evening!
When I was reading about Fiola Mare in prep for this evening I noticed one of their sommeliers was Maurice (Mo) Cherry. As some of you know my father’s name was Mo so this stuck out to me. When we arrived that evening I saw Maurice (Mo) walking by and introduced myself. I think he got a bit spooked that I was some wine “stalker”. However, it made for an enjoyable night as Mo was great fun and picked incredible wines for the table. His first pick was Venica & Venica Ronco delle Mele Collio Sauvignon Blanc. This was such an excellent pairing with the first course. This Sauvignon Blanc tasted like the sea with the minerality of oyster shells and the brightness of lemon.
Now after the first course was cleared from the table we were presented a “gift” from the chef: Chilled Asparagus Soup. This was a great palette cleanser and helped bridge us to the next course. Now some of you may note the oyster shells below… yes, we did sneak in a dozen oysters after that first round of food as we had a little of that wonderful wine left and it would have been shameful not to pair that with something else <wink>.
Dinner followed with Debbie ordering the Olive Oil-Poached Local Rockfish with Morel Crèma, Green Asparagus, Baby Artichokes, Brown Butter Zabaglione, and Olivada.
I ordered the “Under the Sea” with Branzino, Maine Lobster, Langoustine, Prawn, Scallop, Mussels, Foie Gras, Quinoa, Maitake Mushrooms, and Parmigiano Dashi.
Frank & Joy split the Grand Adriatic Grilled Seafood which was a Classic Mixed Seafood Grill for two. The presentation was table side and quite beautiful. This restaurant really knows how to create the ambience to match the food coming from the kitchen. The Trabocchi’s know what they are doing!
The wine Mo paired with the dinner course was a 2010 Palari Rosso del Soprano – Nerrello Cappucio/Nerello Mascalese from on the hillsides of Mount Etna. We challenged Mo to find a red that would pair with the seafood courses we ordered for dinner. This red was the perfect match for the table. The smokiness of the wine brought out the umami profile of my dish, softened the creaminess of Debbie’s, and highlighted the brightness and acidity of Joy & Frank’s. This reinforced Mo’s skillset and made me a believer for sure!
As the evening winds down we are all having some fun at the table watching Frank take “selfies” when Mo paid us a surprise visit!
The final course was bit of a blur after the bourbon and wine. But from the pictures I found on my phone I see that Debbie helped make our dessert selection.
For dessert Debbie & I had the Bomboloni which was Sardinian Ricotta Doughnuts, Vanilla Gelato, Warm Butterscotch Sauce, and Ron Zacapa 23 yr Rum. This rum was incredible and a great way to finish the evening. I am certain Frank & Joy had dessert… but I found no evidence of it on my phone.
Well that’s it… a great night for sure! We will definitely be back to Fiola Mare.