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Sfoglina, Pastaria by the Owners of Fiola, Now in Several Area Locations

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Just announced. If my googling is correct this will be in the new mixed development/apartment building along Connecticut Ave currently underconstruction. And given the size, 2,800 sq ft plus 1,000 sq ft patio, that's the only location that would make sense. The developers are going big on this one!

Looks like it will be pasta focused with salads, antipasti, salumi, cheese, and meat/fish entrees.

Bread Furst on one side of the street and the Trabocchis on the other.

"Fabio and Maria Trabocchi are Opening a Van Ness Restaurant Devoted to Pasta" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com

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I hate restaurants with unpronounceable names.

Let me rephrase that..........I hate restaurant names that are unpronounceable

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2 hours ago, Bart said:

I hate restaurants with unpronounceable names.

Let me rephrase that..........I hate restaurant names that are unpronounceable

This point hits home...also related to a general unfamiliarity with certain languages and an inability to remember certain words.   Some years ago I learned to cook some Italian artichoke dishes.   Some of that is related to the associated thread

Artichokes = Carciofi in Italian.   For the life of me I could never recall carciofi as a word.  I finally stopped preparing the dish.  90% of the reason was because I couldn't recall or stumbled on the name.   Go figure  ;)   

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Attended a media dinner last night, and was able to sample the majority of the menu. Space is gorgeous; knowing Maria, that's to be expected. Menu is very tight and concise, focused on traditional Italian small plates (divided between four $7 "nibbles" and four $14 "small plates"), pasta made daily in-house, and a few separate main courses (think short rib, braised sea bass, and roasted maitake mushrooms). Pasta menu has three traditional preparations ($22 each) and three "Seasonal" preparations ($25) that will rotate. There's also an option of putting together a three-pasta tasting for $60. Pastas were outstanding, as one might expect from a Fabio Trabocchi kitchen - highlight was definitely the Hand-Rolled Tagliatelle with three grams of umami-laden Alba white truffles shaved into the sauce; I also loved the old-school square white casserole dish in which the pasta was served...reminded me of my mom's Tuna Helper casseroles back in good ol' South Dakota. Wine list is very heavily focused on Italy, with a couple California bottles sprinkled into the super expensive bottle list. Overall, though, I was *very* pleasantly surprised at the affordability of the entire menu (including wines and cocktails). It's a mere two blocks from the Van Ness red line stop, so should be easily accessible for most, even though it's pretty deep NW. Like all the other Trabocchi restaurants, this one should kill.

Cheers!

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..."Hand-Rolled Tagliatelle"...

I pity the tortured individual rolling out the dough with a rolling pin unless one of the hands is operating the crank of a commercial pasta rolling mechanism, the same hand that pulls down the lever on the French fry thingy at other restaurants.

They have “wild calamari”. I have never heard of any other kind. Must be some untamed squid or sounds better in Italian.

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6 hours ago, Poivrot Farci said:

I pity the tortured individual rolling out the dough with a rolling pin unless one of the hands is operating the crank of a commercial pasta rolling mechanism, the same hand that pulls down the lever on the French fry thingy at other restaurants.

They have “wild calamari”. I have never heard of any other kind. Must be some untamed squid or sounds better in Italian.

wild calamari. 

I shall use that reference for anything I find amusing in menu offerings.

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Had happy hour and dinner here today. Quite delicious. Mrs. Trabocchi was very kind and the staff were hospitable and efficient. Happy hour specials were inexpensive and good, and the pasta dishes (tried the tonnarelli and agnolotti) were both excellent - very rich and flavorsome. Hopefully the new apartment building will attract further redevelopment of the Cleveland Park/Van Ness area.

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I wanted to like this place so much more than I did.

My wife and I went here for dinner last weekend on a last-minute reservation. The place is very cute and homey -- a great "date night" type of spot.

The wine menu is small, but delivers what you need -- skews heavily Italian, of course. We ordered a couple glasses of wine - Ornellaia's third wine, Le Volte ($17) and Tolaini's Valdisanti ($19). A bit pricy -- both are around $20 bottles -- but nothing too bad.

We decided to sample as much as we could. We shared the buffalo milk mozzarella($7) and the spicy 'nduja salami($7) to start. The mozzarella was, surprisingly, only okay. I've had better at numerous places in DC -- this just wasn't particularly flavorful. The 'nduja, to contrast, was intensely flavored and delicious (it was served with streghe crackers).

The bread course is a bag of streghe crackers that lists the story of the crackers and their origin in Italy. I can't help but feel that this type of homey-style Italian place should have bread and olive oil, but the crackers are pretty good in any event.

I'm not sure why (although it had been a while since we finished our starters), our waiter brought out the beef agnolotti del plin as a complimentary dish. This turned out to be the best dish of the night. It was cooked perfectly and the pasta, parmigiano, black truffle, and beef all melded to make a very decadent umami and savory experience.

Our pastas arrived (we considered the white truffle pasta, but at 3 grams for $60, we decided to pass -- definitely on the steep side). I ordered the spaghetti chitarra($22) which was prepared "carbonara style" and delivered with a sunny-side-up egg on top. The pasta was cooked well. It had the savory richness you look for in a carbonara, but it had an overwhelming taste of smoke that dominated the dish. It was as if someone added a few drops of liquid smoke to our guanciale as it was cooking. My wife ordered the seasonal mushroom pasta($25) which unfortunately isn't on the website's menu. It came in a brownish sauce with round disc-style pasta. Again, the pasta was cooked well -- a consistency that is rarer than it should be. Her dish was great -- it was, like the other pastas, on the heavier side, which was a bit unexpected -- the description would lead you to think it's on the lighter side. The mushrooms were fantastic.

Despite being full, we elect to share the Nonna's lemon and hazelnut cake with whipped mascarpone($8). This, of all things, is an airy and light dessert. It was fantastic,a nd I'd be hard pressed not to order this again. The restaurant has Italian dessert wines (in addition to port and madeira) that we were not familiar with, so we shared a glass of Brachetto d'Acqui($8) and Passito di Pantelleria($16). It was interesting to try grapes and wines we weren't familiar with, but it sort of reinforced my belief that with Italian wine, one should stick to reds (the Brachetto was sort of like boozy strawberry soda and the Passito was a poor man's sauternes).

At the end of the day, I'm not sure this finds a spot in our regular rotation. Part of that is simply that it's not that convenient to get to compared to other places we like better. Another part is everything seems a bit too expensive. And honestly, as much as I hate to admit it, for this price, I'm 9 times out of 10 choosing RPM Italian.

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1 hour ago, franch said:

The wine menu is small, but delivers what you need -- skews heavily Italian, of course. We ordered a couple glasses of wine - Ornellaia's third wine, Le Volte ($17) and Tolaini's Valdisanti ($19). A bit pricy -- both are around $20 bottles -- but nothing too bad.

This is crazy.  It's like they're* daring us to not order any drinks at all.  I know restaurants make a ton of money on alcohol, but this is approaching (actually surpassing) counter productive.  I could see someone (me) going for a 8 or 10 dollar glass of wine, but staying completely sober instead of dropping a twenty on one glass.

* Not just this place, but many places in the area

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15 hours ago, franch said:

The wine menu is small, but delivers what you need -- skews heavily Italian, of course. We ordered a couple glasses of wine - Ornellaia's third wine, Le Volte ($17) and Tolaini's Valdisanti ($19). A bit pricy -- both are around $20 bottles -- but nothing too bad.

That sounds absurdly high to me. 3X markup on wholesale, I get.  But this is 2.5-3X on retail!

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Had a terrific dinner the week between Christmas and New Year's. The rest of DC may have felt half empty but this place was buzzing. Highlights included all of the pastas (particularly the squid ink with perfectly cooked lobster and scallops), the grilled calamari and the branzino. Basically any pasta and any seafood will be reliably good. If they can keep the prices in check and the quality up, it should do well. On the quality point, Fabio was there overseeing everything that came out of the kitchen; it will be interesting to see whether there's an impact when his attention is diverted to the Waterfront or elsewhere. For those interested, in a more in-depth review with pictures, please check out my blog:   

"Sfoglina - a Real Mouthful in Van Ness" by Rick Chessen on rickeatsdc.com

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Our first visit was a special occasion dinner (early Valentine's Day). We'll be sure to return for a taste of the regular/seasonal menu!

Highlights Saturday Feb. 11

Tuna carpaccio with steelhead roe. Bursts of the sea!

Potato gnocchi special, with pork belly, mushrooms (best dish of the night!)

Goat Cheese Scarpinocc Ravioli with pear

Branzino with sunchoke whip. Perfectly fresh and moist!

(Lamb chops were a bit ordinary. Needed something).

Tiramisu

Friendly and attentive service, warm setting. We were in the front, glass enclosed room closer to the street. Looked a little bit cozy in the main room near the bar where there was always a lot of foot traffic going by.

Fabio was there. You might want to go while he's getting the place underway and making a really good impression.

Just past the Calvert Woodley wine shop.

 

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Beautiful photos indeed.

it seems as if butter based sauces are having their moment (not a huge fan).

How can one not love sage and butter sauce over tortellini (or whatever those pasta are)?  

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Overall a delicious (and rich) dinner at Sfoglina over the weekend. 

We started with cocktails and both hit the spot: The Van Ness Manhattan and the Sfoglina (vodka, elderflower shrub, prosecco), along with their bread and olive oil, nice bread and great fruity olive oil.

For apps we ordered the excellent grilled spicy calamari, lovely big rings of tender calamari and a couple of tentacle pieces, although the romesco wasn't particularly spicy.  It's described as a small plate, but it's a generous serving and perfect for a couple to split.  We also had the arugula and bibb salad, a little greenery before what we knew would be a rich meal.  It was a perfectly fine salad.

For pastas we went with the potato gnocchi with porcini crema and foraged mushrooms.  Just a wonderful plate of potato and mushrooms...super rich.  We also got the squid ink and paprika cannelloni curl, a curled tubed of pasta stuffed with baccala and topped with lobster meat, also quite excellent.

The dessert options weren't really singing to us so we went with the Italian soft serve chocolate gelato.   

With dinner we had a glass of the Tenuta Casali brut rose and Mastroberardino Falanghina, which were both decent but nothing special.  I wrapped things up with a glass of the Taylor Fladgate Tawny port.

What can you say, Sfoglina is supposed to be the Trabocchi's casual restaurant, but of course it's not.  Fabio's food is going to be rich.  And you know the meal is going to cost you, in this case $195 with tax and tip (although next time I think we would skip dessert and the port wasn't really necessary, but sometimes you want some port!).  At these prices, it won't be on our regular rotation, but I guess it's nice to have a special occasion restaurant within walking distance.  

I'd say my only critique is the actual menus suck, they are weird clip board things and you leaf through the pages like you're doing some sort of innovatory check list.  It's like the one thing they went cheap on!       

 

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On 10/30/2017 at 12:01 PM, Tweaked said:

And you know the meal is going to cost you, in this case $195 with tax and tip (although next time I think we would skip dessert and the port wasn't really necessary, but sometimes you want some port!).  At these prices, it won't be on our regular rotation, but I guess it's nice to have a special occasion restaurant within walking distance.

But that can't be right; it's a Bib Gourmand!  :P  

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Within the last few weeks (can't remember exact day), tried Sfoglina for the first time with my wife and 2 small kids. It was an ok experience. We live nearby and hoped it would be a nice addition to our rotation but sadly no. The room is lovely and the staff very friendly but the prices are higher than necessary and the service wasn't great.  I really appreciate they have a kids meal but $14 for a small plate of fresh pasta is way too high - especially when most kids menus are less than $10 (even at nicer places). One kid had spaghetti and the other had gnocchi - really nothing special for either - I've had as good from a box.  We had the tortellini pasta (very good, rich - possibly worth the price) and the spinach tornarelli (interesting and different but only ok).  The prosecco cocktails were fine but we had to ask several times for them and they arrived halfway through our entrees being completed (which is a while - unlike most - my kids are SLOW eaters). We also had to ask several time for our cauliflower side which was again good but nothing special. You can find equal or better pastas at more reasonable prices at other restaurants around town - we recently dined and enjoyed Dino's Grotto (it has always had excellent pasta since it was Dino's) and Al Volo in Adams Morgan (soon opening in Cleveland Park too :-))

The best part of the meal was surprisingly dessert. The cookies and milk desserts is excellent - rich and large enough for 2-3 people (or our whole family of 4) to share. The apple hazelnut cake was also very good and probably would have seemed better if it wasn't tried along with the cookies and milk. The chocolate dairy-free soft serve was good and very rich (like dark chocolate) due to the lack of dairy.

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Scene from Restaurant Week: a prep cook in a side room at Sfoglina reviving a sorry looking box of greens, wilted leaf by wilted leaf, using a spray bottle.  

I can forgive many shortcuts during Restaurant Week, such as setting out nine pre-plated orders of salad on the pass, waiting for orders to come in, but clearing plates before everyone in the party has finished a course is poor form at any time.

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We went this weekend on the snowy night and it was a great meal with friends. I'd certainly go back. IMHO, better than Masseria, but they are kind of different things. The apple hazelnut cake was quite good for dessert.

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