Over the course of one's life, there are maybe a handful of memorable meals. Mostly, they're memorable for the company you shared or for the occasion surrounding the meal, and sometimes these factors can color your perception of the food. Other times meals are memorable simply because the food was so outstanding. That's where Fiola comes in. The dishes speak for themselves here.
Before I get to the food, let me say that the cocktails at Fiola are top-notch. My fellow drinks editor from We Love DC, Jenn Larsen, and I met at the bar for dinner, and while perusing the menu, cocktails were in order. Jeff Faile is the bartender of your dreams--name a flavor and he can make a drink for you, pair it with a dish on the menu and even crack a joke at the end of it all. Alright, I know, Jenn had already befriended him so it's not like he wasn't going to pay attention to a friend at his bar. But Jeff can pretty much whip up any concoction to your liking. The cocktails at Fiola are artistic and thoughtful. The Alexandra, a vodka-based cocktail, strikes a perfect balance between the citrus of the lime and the subtle sweetness of the Rothman Pear liqueur. For something even lighter, I also tried the Jolanda, a drink with "maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, liqueur de violettes and prosecco"--delicious and refreshing.
I'll start out with a bold, sweeping statement: dinner at Fiola was one of the best meals I've had in DC. That's not an exaggeration in the least. When I went, the creamy burrata was served on a bed of arugula and other greens with the lightest citrus-flavored vinaigrette. Normally, I let the burrata take over my taste buds and be the sole focus of the dish. But in this version, the salad was not your typical after-thought or garnish--it was dressed perfectly with a vinaigrette that contrasted the creamy burrata perfectly.
After all of that, I had to remember that I still had pasta on the way. For this one, I relied on Jeff's advice for which pasta dish to pick. I went with the tortellini of baby lamb, which as Jeff described, "made him giggle" the first time he tried it. The man was right. The tender lamb and salty prosciutto are complimented by the sage flavor in the creamy sauce. If you feel the urge to giggle gleefully after the first bite, you're not alone; go ahead and let that giggle fly. The strips of prosciutto add a salty kick to the plate and a little something extra to round out the flavors of the lamb and the sage.
If you dare to have room for dessert, go with the bomboloni. These sugar-dusted ricotta donuts are airy and sweet, and the ice cream paired with it is like eating the pure essence of cinnamon. Those hot donuts are just the right thing for dessert on a cold night in winter.
Fiola is elegant and creative Italian food that incorporates traditional flavors or pairings, but takes those dishes to the next level. If you've got an occasion where you're aiming to impress your dinner companions but remain in a completely approachable and unpretentious atmosphere, Fiola is the right pick. Stay tuned to We Love DC for my upcoming Capital Chefs feature on chef Fabio Trabocchi. I'll post the link here when it's online. In the meantime, get yourself over to Fiola.
Take a bite: www.bonappetitfoodie.com.