The Washington Post

Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare to open Friday

Despite a costly kitchen fire earlier this month, the long-awaited Fiola Mare is scheduled to open to the public at 5:30 Friday night. The 7,500-square-foot Italian restaurant at 3050 K St. NW -- “the biggest one I’ve ever done,” says chef-owner Fabio Trabocchi  -- comes with a sweeping view of the Potomac River and amenities including a seafood market counter where diners can select whole Dover sole, turbot and branzino from a bed of shaved ice. The grilled fish will be filleted tableside.

Mario and Fabio Trabocchi: It's a family affair at Casa Luca. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post) Maria and Fabio Trabocchi. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Fiola Mare’s menu is expected to change daily. When asked which three dishes he was most excited about guests trying, Trabocchi listed his sea urchin panna cotta, Venetian-style risotto made with the lower part of a cod jaw, and a dessert of rum-soaked brioche with poached pears. Assisting him in the kitchen: John Melfi, formerly with Blue Duck Tavern.

Built for close to $5 million, Fiola Mare is Trabocchi’s third restaurant, following Fiola in Penn Quarter and Casa Luca downtown. The waterfront destination includes two bars, one of which will be accessible to the restaurant’s multiple semi-private dining areas and outdoor patio.

The Feb. 1 fire, which occurred during the staff’s first rehearsal, caused extensive damage to both the kitchen wall, which was the source of the smoke and flames, and Fiola Mare’s European stove, says Trabocchi.  Fortunately, no employees were injured and the delay to launch was a mere 10 days.

Fiola Mare, 3050 K St. NW. Opening Feb. 21. 

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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