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Maialino Mare - Chef Rose Noel's Roman-Style Trattoria in the Thompson Hotel, Navy Yard - No Tipping


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Maialino Mare, a contemporary trattoria from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group...reimagines the flavors and comfort of Rome’s Mediterranean locale for The District.  Our menus showcase seafood pastas and whole-roasted fish...Executive Chef Rose Noel draws inspiration from Roman trattorias to create seasonally inspired Italian fare that celebrates our relationships with local farmers and fishers...Situated near Nationals Park in the Navy Yard, the restaurant is open for dinner, with brunch and other meals coming soon. 

https://www.maialinomare.com/

Now open.

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30 minutes ago, Bart said:

Interesting(?) note on their website:

Our team at Maialino Mare participates in a revenue share. We are a non-tipping restaurant.

Aren't all of his restaurants run on the no tipping model? I know at least some are.

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1 hour ago, Bart said:

Interesting(?) note on their website:

Our team at Maialino Mare participates in a revenue share. We are a non-tipping restaurant.

41 minutes ago, Pat said:

Aren't all of his restaurants run on the no tipping model? I know at least some are.

Washington City Paper interview with Danny Meyer discussing tipping (published today).

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We had a delightful brunch here. We arrived about 15 minutes early for our reservation but were promptly seated; it was early for them as well, with just a few parties in the restaurant. The service was really great; knowledgable, excited to discuss dishes, and not afraid to make recommendations. At the end of our meal, they reminded us of the revenue sharing model to indicate that no tipping was necessary.

We started with the pastry basket--a chocolate croissant, a croissant, an olive oil muffin, and a toffee pastry. All were fantastic, and would have held their own in almost any bakery in the city. My "cotechino" was a pork sausage/fried egg on a nice biscuit. The name could have been misleading, but the server was quick to explain the dish when I ordered it. My wife had soft scrambled eggs with cured roe (uovo e bottarga), and it was a beautifully prepared, fish-flavored egg dish that we both loved. My son had the ricotta pancakes--two large, fluffy, fried/baked discs--perhaps a bit sugary, in my view, but he very much enjoyed them.

We will happily return--this place is off to a great start.

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The first course was Bresaola and arugula, with crispy artichoke and Parmesan cheese.  Everything melded together nicely.  Frankly, it is hard to order anything green with Steve unless it also had meat.  This dish had both.

The primis were FETTUCCINE CON GAMBERETTI  and TRENETTE ALLE VONGOLE.  The fettucine and the shrimp were cooked perfectly.  The trenette were a little crunchy, but the sauce was nicely flavored.  Due to the pasta being undercooked, half a plate was left uneaten.

The finale was MAIALINO AL FORNO.  The skin was so crispy, you just wanted to break it off and eat it like a cracker.  The meat itself was tender and juicy.  However, the entire dish was on the bland side.  The potatoes underneath were well seasoned and delicious though.  Compared to the Puerto Rican Lechon that I've had, this is much much better.

I'll be back.

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22 hours ago, Marty L. said:

Is that a reaction to EricandBlueboy's post or to a meal of your own?

This was my reaction to Eric's post:

On 2/2/2020 at 3:29 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

The first course was Bresaola and arugula, with crispy artichoke and Parmesan cheese.  Everything melded together nicely.  Frankly, it is hard to order anything green with Steve unless it also had meat.  This dish had both.

The primis were FETTUCCINE CON GAMBERETTI  and TRENETTE ALLE VONGOLE.  The fettucine and the shrimp were cooked perfectly.  The trenette were a little crunchy, but the sauce was nicely flavored.  Due to the pasta being undercooked, half a plate was left uneaten.

The finale was MAIALINO AL FORNO.  The skin was so crispy, you just wanted to break it off and eat it like a cracker.  The meat itself was tender and juicy.  However, the entire dish was on the bland side.  The potatoes underneath were well seasoned and delicious though.  Compared to the Puerto Rican Lechon that I've had, this is much much better.

On 2/2/2020 at 5:48 PM, DonRocks said:

I want this exact same meal.

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Maialino Mare is the recently opened DC transplant of the well-known Maialino in New York City’s Gramercy Park.  Maialino Mare is located Inside the newly opened Thompson Hotel in the Navy Yard neighborhood. The restaurant is large and nicely designed. The ambience is comfortable, with lots of light filtering through large windows that provide a sense of open space, though it feels a bit colder, less cozy than the Gramercy Park original. Maialino Mare also has an upstairs bar with roof terrace (Anchovy Social) which serves mostly small plates and drinks and has an outstanding view of the Anacostia River and the Navy Yard area.

The NYC restaurant is a stalwart of Roman cuisine, with an American twist, in the Big Apple.  We had been to Maialino a few years ago and very much enjoyed the experience then (including the eponymous maialino al forno—roasted suckling pig). We wanted to try how its DC offshoot fared. We were certainly not disappointed.

Maialino in New York is “more Roman” than its DC counterpart. For example, it offers three typical Roman pastas (cacio e pepe, carbonara and amatriciana) as opposed to only one (amatriciana) in the Navy yard establishment. It also has the coda alla vaccinara--or oxtail stew in a tomato-and-celery-based sauce, a staple of traditional Roman cuisine. On the other hand, Maialino Mare, as its very name suggests, has a more expansive menu of seafood, including skate wing, octopus, swordfish and spigola (the Southern Italian name of branzino or Mediterranean sea bass).

We tried three different veggie appetizers: “insalata”--a generic name for a kind of Italianate Caesar salad--, radicchio and fried baby artichokes. All were excellent, though the artichokes were only a proxy for the Jewish artichokes (Carciofi all Giudia) that are ubiquitous in Rome, especially in its Jewish quarter, and rely on the super tender local big artichokes.

Then we had two classic pastas: Amatriciana and bottarga--dried mullet roe, typical from Sardinia. The waiter had explained which menu pasta items used fresh pasta and which ones used dry pasta. We decided to go for two classic dishes, which both relied on dry pasta.

They were really perfect! (Only concern was the pasta portions were little more than appetizer sizes…)

First, both pastas totally al dente, of course.

Moreover, the bottarga condiment was not overwhelming, meaning that it was tasty without being too salty (you could say that it had “umami balance”), a frequent shortcoming when bottarga is involved.

The Amatriciana was also perfect. An A+. Not only the tomato sauce was done as it should be, but it combined very well with the guanciale. Let me explain.

Three of the most typical Roman pasta dishes, namely gricia, carbonara and amatriciana all live--or die--in the contrast between the creaminess of the sauce and the crunchiness of the guanciale (or, less canonically, pancetta). The creaminess is achieved simply by melting the pecorino cheese with some help from the starchy water in which the pasta has been boiled--in the case of the Amatriciana also with the help of tomato sauce--but no “external” fat.  The crunchiness of the guanciale is achieved by sautéing it in its own rendered fat alone. The Amatriciana at Maialino Mare met this crucial “combination standard” too.

In addition, we shared the Fiorentina (Porterhouse steak) and we added the rosemary roasted potatoes as a side. The Fiorentina was cooked to order (medium rare) and very tasty, perhaps a tad too salty. Obviously, in Tuscany only a porterhouse from the Chianina breed would be deemed a Fiorentina, but we are not purists when the meat is superb anyhow...

Finally, we had the Torta della Nonna as dessert. This was also delicious, but more resembling a cheesecake topped with pine nuts than the traditional version we know from Italy. The authentic Torta della Nonna is flatter and just filled with pastry cream and pine nuts. Nevertheless, the Maialino Mare version is very good in its own style.

Noise levels were better than in most new places: we could actually entertain a conversation without shouting. Prices were acceptable for DC standards.

Overall a great experience, though we still miss a true Roman restaurant in the DC area—I’m Eddie Cano comes close.

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We made it out there last night, nice big space that was more than half empty so we saddled up to the bar.

My wife and I love artichokes, so the Carciofini Fritti was a no brainer as an app.  I have to say, while we enjoyed this dish, it was startlingly simple and a grip at $16 for a plate of about 10-12 hearts.

The highlight of the meal by a long bit was the Malfatti Al Maialino, which was a dish of perfectly cooked pasta shaped like leaves and a generous portion of unctuous pork sitting under a covering of appropriately bitter arugula, which danced nicely with the richness of the lemony sauce.  I'd be hard pressed not to order this again if I ever come back here.  The Fettucine Con Gamberetti was well cooked but a bit bland, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper really punched this dish up a notch and made it lovely.  My one minor quibble was that I was hoping to get "gamberetti" like you get on the Amalfi Coast in this dish; tiny, ruby red shrimp with the shell still on that are addictive to eat like potato chips.  The shrimp in this dish were of a good quality, but no different that what one might get out of the seafood window at Whole Foods.

For the main we split the Pollo Alla Diavola, which was well prepared but a little boring and not as spicy as I would have hoped and overall not that interesting, which was the theme for the night.  Well executed food that just was not exciting enough for me to be thinking about my next trip here.

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Went back to Maialino Mare this weekend.  We started with fried artichokes, fried sardines, and Testarella (crispy suckling pig head).  At first I thought the pig head meat, fat & skin would be picked and then mushed back together into a block, but nope.  You get half a head and a steakknife.  The skin was crispy and wonderful, very delicious with all the fat underneath.  My only concern being the number of calories associated with such a fatty dish.  There is a little bit of meat, which actually doesn't taste nearly as good as the skin.  

I really wanted to order the MALFATTI AL MAIALINO (Roasted Suckling Pig, Grana Padano, Arugula) but it wasn't on the menu.  So we ordered TRENETTE ALLA VONGOLESPAGHETINI CON BOTTARGA, and PAPPARDELLE ALLA BOLOGNESE.

All the pastas were really salty.  I actually had to send the clam pasta back for a refund.  I would've sent the mullet roe pasta back too had I tasted it before sending the clam pasta back, but I ate it anyway (the kids tried it and hated it).  They at least ate some of the pappardelle.  Other than the saltiness, the pastas would've been really good. 

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