“If you ask me what I prefer to eat and cook, it is always fish,” says chef Fabio Trabocchi. “Fish in combination with pasta,” the owner of the Italian-inspired Fiola downtown quickly amends.
His passion for surf is inspiring his next restaurant, the 7,500 square foot Fiola Mare, which Trabocchi hopes to launch in Washington Harbour at 3050 K St. NW in fall 2013. Fingers crossed: The chef signed a letter of intent with the landlord, MidAtlantic Realty Partners , two weeks ago.
The marine location appeals to the chef — who grew up near the Adriatic Sea in the Le Marche region of Italy — on several levels. “I love the fact you can look at the water” from the dining room, which also counts a park as a neighbor.
The Georgetown-based architecture firm HapstakDemetriou has been hired to design the Potomac-facing space. The coastal Mediterranean-themed restaurant is expected to seat at least 140 diners inside and 80 more on an outdoor patio. Additional lures include an open kitchen, a raw bar and a seafood counter where patrons can select their own fish and seafood.
Fiola Mare’s draft menu finds seafood salad, Sicilian-style grilled calamari and fluke with olives and chiles among the starters. Larger plates run to scallop risotto, swordfish with eggplant caponata and whole dorade baked in salt. Trabocchi expects lunch checks to average between $25 and $35 and dinner checks to run between $45 and $60 per person.
The chef says he will divide his time between his two restaurants and hire a chef de cuisine to anchor Fiola Mare. (Yes, that’s a help wanted advertisement.)
Trabocchi is wasting no time moving forward on the project. He’s already begun testing recipes for Fiola Mare at the mothership and plans a road trip to Maine next week to meet his lobster, oyster and other purveyors.
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