With profound relief, I'm happy to say there's a new restaurant on the Georgetown Watefront with marvelous food and drink. Fabio Trabocchi's beautiful Fiola Mare (3050 K St. NW)is a revelation for this Northwest D.C. resident, and I am just left to ponder why it took so long for this to happen.
For the eight years I've been a D.C. resident, the Georgetown Waterfront has been dominated by the been-around-for-years Sequoia and Tony & Joe's, and more recently, the lengthy wait times at Farmers Fisher Bakers. To say I only frequent the Georgetown Waterfront for going-away parties and random happy hours is a vast understatement.
So imagine my surprise when I walked into the gorgeously expansive views provided by Fiola Mare's floor-to-ceiling windows. I felt as though I had walked onto a yacht, and when I tried the food arranged by Executive Chef John Melfi (formerly of Blue Duck Tavern), my happiness only grew.
I would definitely begin again with the burrata of buffalo mozzarella ($16), an arresting presentation of edible vivid flowers alongside baby artichokes, radish and pesto of Basil Genovese, all gently aligned on a decadent burrata. I felt so healthy and content eating this, it's like Fabio Trabocchi had pulled me aside to gently talk to me about the need to eat more vegetables.
My contentment did not waver when moving to a sample from both the pasta and lunch entrée portions of the menu.
The smoked potato gnocchi ($28) presented itself freshly, with just a glimmer of the discomfort that too much of a good thing can bring about. Flying mullet, spring peas, the early spring vegetable ramps and black trumpet mushrooms gave a healthy balance to the aromatically delicate gnocchi. I particularly liked the combination of the nicely cooked fish with the smoked gnocchi, a pairing I don't encounter much.
After both of these nutrient-rich and healthy selections, the lobster roll was too much to take, in all the best ways. Hearty chunks of Maine lobster doused in spicy calabrese mayo, pickled cucumbers and basil, laid in a hot dog shaped potato bun.... After eating relatively clean, I found this entrée to be just too much; however, it's the most-ordered lunch entrée on the menu. Though messy, its juicy flavors are filling, and I can see how diners would gravitate toward this.
However, I think the fish entrees are better. A good alternative would be the black bass (&28), with smoked potato, arugula, capers and cornichons.
But whatever you order as an entrée, if you miss dessert at Fiola Mare, you are missing the opportunity to try some of the best desserts in the city. I am not even remotely overstating my passion for all of Fiola Mare's dolcis ($12). I am severe with my judgment of sweets, and I found both the desserts I tried at Fiola Mare to be un-skippable, like a sugary magnetic force.
Though it was tough to decide whether I preferred the spumone alle fragole or the visually magnificent torta al limone, I am going to say I adored the spumone. Composed of strawberry gelato, Tuscan olive oil cake and macerated strawberries, the gelato's sweetness was brought out by the olive oil cake, while the strawberries added the fresh element I found consistent throughout my dining experience at Fiola Mare.
Of course, choosing the spumone over the torta is akin to deciding between Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling. On a different day, I might have said the torta: lemon curd, yuzu and the best -- THE BEST -- coconut sorbet in the city artfully arrayed with tiny golden flecks. The sun hit it right when it was laid in front of me, and made it sparkle like a pastry city of gold. So fun!
Since my visit, I've been telling friends to visit to Fiola Mare, and I encourage anyone looking for a fabulous waterfront dining spot to head on over. Plus, it's summer! What better place to be in D.C. than on the waterfront?