Tuesday, January 30, 2007

bravo to BEBO, Roberto roves across the river

I am sorry to have gotten a bit behind this week, it's been a very busy one for us. Our only restaurant outing, however, was the exciting new bistro started by Chef ROBERTO DONNA across the river in Crystal City (2250-B Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA) which is Chef Donna's new first home while the building that Galileo in downtown DC is under renovation.

To start with there is complimentary parking after 4pm in the garage underneath, and this location is a mere 12 minutes from our home making it a very simple trip. We hope to return again soon with Samuel, as BEBO is really a trattoria with many different options for dining, even the tasting menu that Chef Donna has become famous for is available from time to time.

We were invited by our dear friends for a very special birthday celebration, so our meal was completely pre-selected, and we adored everything from our first sips od DIAMANT BLEU 2001 Sparkling wine from FRANCESCO SCANAVINO. We sat at the large center wooden table (with not so comfortable wooden chairs, but not horrible either) the center of which is recessed and implanted with dried marigolds covered with glass. The overall color is orange with eight three-storey tall orange pillars dominating. I would prefer to keep away from the door on a cold night, despite the double doors, but once inside the warm feeling prevails, as many of our old friends from Galileo have made their way across the Potomac, especially our superb server Alberto.

Our first course was a superb SEARED SCALLOP over ARTICHOKE & BASIL CREAM SAUCE that we had to use all the available bread up begging for more! The CASCINA ORSOINA "Rosana" 2004 Chardonnay paired with this course was super-creamy and perfect for scallops, lobster, or rich shellfish.

Our next wine was a surprise and impressed us all at the table: GAJA BARBARESCO 2001 has a huge earthy intensity, but once opened for about 30 minutes turned super smooth retaining its manly intensity. The PAPPARDELLE with DUCK RAGU has always been one of Chef Roberto's signatures, as all his pastas are, and this was a terrific homemade pasta as we always had at Galileo, I only wished for a bit more of the sauce which was so magnificent.

One can not dine at any of Roberto Donna's tastings without multiple pastas, let alone risotto, and ours was a heavenly creamy and rich FOUR CHEESE RISOTTO made from Gorgonzola (just a touch so that it was not to intense), PECORINO, ROBBIOLA and PARMEGGIANO REGIANO. We were all truly in ecstasy with the Gaja and this dish, and luckily had a nice break afterwards to enjoy everyone's company, and of course, finish off the Gaja!

Our next wine could not have been more impressive: SASSICAIO 2003 BOLOGHERI from Tenuta San Guido is a super-Tuscan that we will always remember, and the RACK of LAMB off the bone in POLENTA with CIPPOLINI ONIONS in a COFFEE SAUCE with Balsamic Reduction was a novelty to all of us. We could not guess the coffee at all, and it all worked sublimely.

Since our friends brought with them a superb birthday cake from CAKES by GERARD, Chef Roberto had to lavish us with a cheese course of COPPERFIELD BLUE, a nice lighter Maryland blue goat cheese PECORINO di FOSSA from Italy that was excellent (as all Pecorino is) BRINATA, an Italian sheep cheese BUCHE NOIRE another Maryland goat that is extremely creamy and aged so
it carries a warning.

A glass of LIMONCELLO is a tradition with Chef Roberto, and this time we all partook before wobbling home, satisfied, but knowing that while Galileo may be gone for now, BEBO is back!

Incidentally, the name "Bebo" is Chef Donna's childhood nickname.