Monday, January 16, 2017

DC's FIOLA MARE amasses a mean feast for brunch in Georgetown (1-15-17)

I am not a big brunch person as a large midday meal often tires me out, but yesterday was an exception with the holiday and weekend and we had won the certificate at Samuel's school auction, so off we headed to Georgetown and FIOLA MARE on the Potomac River in Georgetown Harbor. On arrival we were warmly greeting and taken to one of the much quieter rear dining rooms, so while we had no river view the place was full and we had a very relaxes and quiet experience. Within a couple of minutes our server returned with apologies of taking too long (3 minutes?) and would be back shortly with complimentary prosecco; off to an excellent start and it just kept getting better.
The dining room was clean with crisp white linens in a most elegant setting with fabric ceiling and we could easily see through to the open kitchen in the next larger dining area.
Fiola Mare has an a la carte menu, but that seems silly when the $45 brunch includes a cocktail, three courses and a basket of awesome warm pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, apple turnovers, cinnamon rolls and cheese Danish!
We ordered and spent the next several minutes trying to guess the origins of our super server. We were all wrong! Milad was from Lebanon, and we subsequently promised to ask for him on every return visit. he even offered to replace our drinks (if only barely touched) should they become too warm, as brunch cocktails (you have 3 choices between Mimosas, Bellinis and Sangria) are meant to be served and drunk cold!
Our friend started with the Monkfish Tripe "alla Romana" with San Marzano Tomatoes, Calabrese Chile and grilled bread which was beautiful (all dishes can be seen on FB) while Will chose the Burrata of Buffalo Mozzarella with Smoked Beet Tartare, Celery Root, Capers & Green Apple Garlic Emulsion. I really wanted the signature Insalata of Frutti di mare (prawns, scallops, calamari, pomegranate, persimmons and marcona almonds) but we were told up front they were plum out of this, so I switched to the Butternut Squash Vellutata which was a rich bowl of creamy indulgent sup with "Carbonara" Espuma and Winter Black Truffles. The carbonara foam was graced with bacon bits making it a tasty crunchy addition. The Bellinis are superb and not too sweet and then I tried the Bellagio of vodka, cocchi rosa, Elderflower shrub & prosecco which comes with pomegranate seeds filling the bottom of the flute. The drink was superb and again not too sweet and the acidity was nice with my rich main course. I also loved the seeds at the bottom afterwards which by then had soaked up the alcohol nicely.
My main course was even more indulgent than the starter with "carbonara" as I chose the Rigatoni alla Carbonara with Guanciale as its crunchy protein (instead of regular bacon), black pepper, Pecorino Romano and a sunny side up Duck egg covering the rich dish like a little yellow and white cap. I can't remember a better Carbonara since I was in Rome 8+ years ago. Will had the Tortelli of Butternut Squash with Sage Brown Butter, Parmegiano Reggiano and tons of shaved Black Truffles! Since Fiola Mare does specialize in seafood, our guest chose the superb Spaghetti Gragnano alla Granseola which came with Alaskan King Crab, San Marzano tomatoes, parsley and Controne Chiles. We were all very happy pasta campers. If you lean towards breakfast options (we went at 130pm) for brunch there are also Lemon Ricotta pancakes, poached eggs with rosemary hollandaise & prosciutto and so much more.
Dessert is included in the deal but again we were warned the Warm pear tart was sold out, so I had the yummy warm Bombolini (Sardinian Ricotta Doughnuts) with Chocolate Sauce which came 6 to the order and I insisted on sharing while the others had a super Marchesi or Creamy rich terrine of Tuscan Amedei Chocolate with basil and Sicilian Salted Pistachios. Once again Milad excelled and offered us each a glass of complimentary Bracchetto d'Acqui, a sweet red sparkling dessert wine which cut the rich chocolate perfectly. Excellent Cappuccinos followed and we left knowing that Fiole Mare will see us back again soon! BRAVI TUTTI!