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Fiola Mare, Washington Harbour, A 9,000 Square Foot Italian Seafood Concept by the Owners of Fiola

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NEW ITALIAN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT FIOLA MARE SIGNS 15 YEAR LEASE AT MRP REALTY PROPERTY WASHINGTON HARBOUR

Washington, D.C., February 26, 2013 "“ MRP Realty, a real estate operating company, today announced that Fiola Mare signed a 15 year lease for 9,000 square feet at 3050 K St., NW (Washington Harbour) in Washington, D.C.

The Class-A space will be will be an Italian seafood concept owned by restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi. Fiola Mare is expected to open by end of 2013.

"Fiola Mare will be exceptional complement to the restaurant tenant mix we have at Washington Harbour," said Bob Murphy, managing principal of MRP Realty. "Having recently completed a significant renovation project at Washington Harbour, Fiola Mare will add to the level of sophistication that we are bringing to our tenants, residents and the community."

Recent renovations at Washington Harbour include: extensive upgrades to the upper and lower level plazas with fully renovated fountains, specialized lighting and animated water jets during the warm weather and the addition of an approximately 12,000 square feet ice rink during the winter months.   Additionally, the retail storefronts have been substantially replaced on both plaza levels and a new 3,200 square feet state of the art fitness center has opened with onsite personal trainers and renovated lobbies, elevators and bathrooms.

John Asadoorian of Asadoorian Retail Solutions represented MRP Realty during the transaction.

MRP Realty acquired the Washington Harbour property two years ago.

About MRP Realty

Founded in 2005, MidAtlantic Realty Partners, LLC ("MRP Realty") is a real estate operating company focused on the Washington DC metropolitan area.  MRP provides a full array of real estate services including acquisition/disposition, development/construction management, property management and asset management services.  MRP Realty's senior leadership team has worked together in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding market area in various capacities for periods ranging from eight to 25 years and has wide ranging experience across a multitude of product types in both urban and suburban settings. MRP Realty's managing members have been involved in over 20 million square feet of investment with a total capitalization in excess of $4 billion in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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I think this is huge news for the overall development and for DC's continuing rise as a great food city, bar none.

Interesting the timing of the announcement right on the heels of the similarly conceptualized Ancora by Bob Kinkead in Foggy Bottom.

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Similarly conceptualized? Night and day.

Similar in the sense of both using "italian seafood" to describe the positioning. Fully agree likely to be night and day in most every other way.

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There is great seafood in the Marche region of Italy...where Fabio is from. Two Michelin stars and on the beach: http://www.uliassi.it/eng/ristorante.php

Could this be a model? A Fiola of the Sea? There is even a cookbook about this (!): http://www.fabiotrabocchi.com/cookbook.html with dishes such as: Scorpion fish risotto, drunken tuna Marchigiana style, trout with black truffles and anchovy pesto and an incredible fish stew, Brodetto all'Anconetana, which acknowledges the Institute of Brodetto in Ancona. Fabio's version includes mullet, striped bass, tilapia, turbot. monkfish, cod, skate, cuttlefish, clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari. I should note that I have had his bouillibasse and it was the equal of the best I have ever had in Nice. I can imagine what his Brodetto all'Anconetana must taste like!

Several of the best meals we ever had were in the Marche region of Italy. We eagerly look forward to Fabio's introduction of this to D. C.

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There is great seafood in the Marche region of Italy...where Fabio is from. Two Michelin stars and on the beach: http://www.uliassi.it/eng/ristorante.php

Could this be a model? A Fiola of the Sea? There is even a cookbook about this (!): http://www.fabiotrabocchi.com/cookbook.html with dishes such as: Scorpion fish risotto, drunken tuna Marchigiana style, trout with black truffles and anchovy pesto and an incredible fish stew, Brodetto all'Anconetana, which acknowledges the Institute of Brodetto in Ancona. Fabio's version includes mullet, striped bass, tilapia, turbot. monkfish, cod, skate, cuttlefish, clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari. I should note that I have had his bouillibasse and it was the equal of the best I have ever had in Nice. I can imagine what his Brodetto all'Anconetana must taste like!

Several of the best meals we ever had were in the Marche region of Italy. We eagerly look forward to Fabio's introduction of this to D. C.

OK. Aside from Joe amping up my enthusiasm for Fiola Mare from it's already very high level, he also prompts a question. Everything I've read makes me think tilapia is a commoditized, mass-market, commercially farmed, lower quality and generally problematic fish that I avoid. Is that wrong? Is there a quality and culinary case to be made for this generally maligned fish?

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Well, Zagat's expected opening date (above post) didn't happen it seems.  On Jan. 21,  Tom Sietsema said:

Singhofen replaces John Melfi, who has been tapped to work with chef Fabio Trabocchi at Trabocchi's forthcoming seafood extravaganza, Fiola Mare, in Washington Harbour. Because the 7,500-square-foot project is being built from scratch -- a "soup to nuts" operation, Fabio Trabocchi calls it -- the owner says the restaurant is unlikely to open before spring. Reached at the site, co-owner Maria Trabocchi preached caution.

"I'm surrounded by a bunch of cables," she said with a laugh.

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with all due respect, $18-$24 for half dozen oysters just crazy. 

This may be one instance where a Trabocchi offering becomes less expensive going forward. I don't see how a 9,000-square-foot restaurant can support these prices; on the other hand, I don't see how so many thousands of people can afford million-dollar homes, so maybe I'm just living in another era. I wish everyone involved with this venture the best of luck - for me, personally, Fabio (the chef, not the friend) becomes less-and-less valuable with each new restaurant he opens (that is not meant as an insult - I would say the same thing about anyone, and in fact I *did* say the same thing about Ducasse when he opened Alain Ducasse - Paris, and also Veyrat when he opened La Ferme de Mon Père).

Since I became a Forum Host on eGullet over ten years ago, I have witnessed the world of restaurants devolve into a world of insanity.

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with all due respect, $18-$24 for half dozen oysters just crazy. And congrats on the opening!

I don't see how a 9,000-square-foot restaurant can support these prices

Same oyster pricing as Le Diplomate ($18.50 for a half dozen 'assorted', $24 for a half dozen Belon). It's expensive, but there's certainly precedent for a huge restaurant in DC supporting those prices.

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Same oyster pricing as Le Diplomate ($18.50 for a half dozen 'assorted', $24 for a half dozen Belon). It's expensive, but there's certainly precedent for a huge restaurant in DC supporting those prices.

Actually, I meant the menu as a whole (*); I wasn't even thinking about the oysters (although once oysters in this town cracked the $4 barrier, I called for the men in white jackets). The menu at Le Diplomate is nothing like the menu at Fiola Mare, in that there are escape hatches for those who aren't feeling flush.

Then again, Restaurant Eve is not small, and it has supported $16 appetizers and $36 entrees for many years now ... yet, this is higher still - I suspect check averages will be over $100.

Again, this is not a complaint; it's an observation. As my son would say, it took some "serious stones" to open with this menu.

(*) Fiola Mare Dinner Menu 2-22-14.pdf

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Here is the dinner menu.  It opened last night.  Someone must have gone:  this is one of D. C.'s biggest openings!

Based on a very small sampling of dishes, I'd say there's every reason to believe that Fiola Mare will live up to expectations.  The space is beautiful in an understated sort of way.  It might be the first restaurant to offer both outstanding food and a view.  I predict that within a few weeks the window seats will be the most coveted on the District dining scene; certainly when the weather warms up and they open those doors and pull the tables outside, they will be.  And Don, there are plenty of people who live within walking distance who won't balk at the pricing.

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Based on a very small sampling of dishes, I'd say there's every reason to believe that Fiola Mare will live up to expectations.  The space is beautiful in an understated sort of way.  It might be the first restaurant to offer outstanding food and a view.  I predict that within a few weeks the window seats will be the most coveted on the DC Dining scene; certainly when the weather warms up and they open those doors and pull the tables outside, it will be mobbed.  There are plenty of people who live within walking distance who won't balk at the pricing.

That's a very good point: anyone who can afford to walk there, can afford to dine there. I would caution that the A-Team was probably working last night.

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ps for Don: on the topic of "substantive" writing, you know why I'm limiting my comments on this place, right?

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ps for Don: on the topic of "substantive" writing, you know why I'm limiting my comments on this place, right?

Because you have a race to attend?

ETA: And? And??

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Looking at the comments so far, I'm curious in the context of DC dining, does any other restaurant have higher prices for seafood in DC at the moment? 

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 I don't see how a 9,000-square-foot restaurant can support these prices;

That's just the nature of fresh seafood. If a restauranteur is truly concerned about serving only the freshest, most pristine seafood available, which Chef Trabocchi seems to be, his menu should should be on par with steakhouse prices. Actually, when you consider the waste incurred in a menu featuring nothing but seafood, it should be much higher than a steakhouse.*

*98% of steakhouses are ridiculously overpriced

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I finally tried Fiola Mare.  The short version is that although (as many have noted here) it is pricey and on the formal side, the food was extremely good.

The Frutti De Mare platted came with interesting dipping sauces and contained a nice assortment.  A crudo of bay scallops with black truffle was delicious and truffley.  Crudo of hamachi with lime, ginger, and seabeans was light, creative, and delicious.  Still good but not as great as the other starters was a peekytoe crab with roasted tomatoes and yuzu (great use of yuzu) and a burrata with pesto and a vegetable salad (certainly lovely but in need of a bit more salt).

We had various pastas (which are fortunately available in half portions).  The table consensus was that the best pasta was a smoked potato gnocchi with scallops, peas, and fava -- a mix of smoke and bright spring flavors.  I think the second best pasta (loosely defined) was a squid ink risotto with cod tripe (seriously), sea beans, and some other assorted seafood.  I would rank third (but still strong) a bucatini with prawns, sea urchin, and espellette.  The urchin was subtle but present in the sauce.  The prawns were large.  The chef's famous lobster ravioli with ginger led to divergent opinions.  Several of us (myself included) thought that it was good but felt like it needed another note.  One person loved it.  It was suggested that the dish would make a good appetizer but that after a few bites you want a new flavor.  

Dessert was a bit weaker but solid.  Baba al rhum was very good.  A lemon/coconut/yuzu tort was a bit flat.

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