2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012
Every time I eat at Fiola, I'm reminded that Fabio Trabocchi cooked at the four-star (and sadly closed) Maestro in Tysons Corner. Try his meatballs -- soft orbs of finely ground veal, pork and beef crowned with an organic egg -- and you'll understand. The chef's puffy golden veal Milanese, made to order in a pan with fresh sage, is another simple Italian recipe transformed into something sensational. His pasta? Divine. Smoked potato agnolotti containing cod cooked in milk and strewn with seafood in a copper casserole shows off both noodle and fish. My go-to dessert these days is ensaimada, a coil-shaped sweet bread filled with what tastes like creme brulee and a salute to the chef's Spanish wife. While the portions lean to the grandmotherly, the interior is pure chic: Saffron-colored wallpaper draws eyes to the ceiling, the floor appears to be paved in seashells and no one will mistake the glamorous mistress of ceremonies, Maria Trabocchi, for anyone's nonna. Dinner with drinks and wine can cost a small fortune. But visiting Fiola without sipping a liquid wonder from bar ace Jeff Faile is like going to Rome and skipping the Vatican. Go at lunch when a three-course, low-calorie menu for $28 and a same-size “power" lunch for $34 compete for a bargain hunter's attention.
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