Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola to open on Friday


Chef Fabio Trabocchi, here in New York restaurant Fiamma. (Helayne Seidman/For The Washington Post)

“I want to take baby steps,” says the former chef of the late Maestro in Tysons Corner, who will continue to practice on private audiences over the next few days with his staff, including Jason Gehring, the former pastry chef at Charleston in Baltimore and the recently hired chef Miles Vaden of Eventide.

The general public will be able to taste-test the menu starting Friday. (For reservations, call 202-285-1611 202-628-2888.) A preview of the possibilities include Ligurian chickpea fritters, eggplant Parmigiana with lemon froth, lasagna with prosciutto and black truffles, and a veal chop with hazelnuts. Desserts will highlight rhubarb in a crostata and litchees in a panna cotta.

Early birds – customers who visit during Fiola’s soft launch -- are in for a special treat: Trabocchi is offering a 10 percent discount on their (entire) bill at least until April 16. The price break, he says, is a way of thanking customers “for allowing us to get better.” If Trabocchi feels further fine-tuning is necessary after the middle of the month, he will extend the discount “until I think we will be able to provide the right standard of food and service.”

While he’s stocked the new restaurant with veterans of the business, the chef says launching Fiola, like any start-up, “is like going to day one of school.”

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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