Thursday, April 20, 2017

FIOLA MARE makes a mark with a luscious luncheon (4-19-17)

We returned to FIOLA MARE in Georgetown with two co-workers for lunch as we had the most magnificent brunch there back in January! Nothing has changed. The food is fabulous, the service is superlative and the ambiance is awesome.
The only tiny error that occurred was one person got still instead of sparkling water, which was rectified immediately by using colored water glasses for the sparkling. Why doesn't everyone do this?
Our server Joshua was an attentive gem and truly was the perfect waiter. I have to say that while the prices here are indeed high, they deliver on every aspect of the meal from arrival to departure; every face is friendly and welcoming to boot.
We started with a glass of prosecco and I moved on to a superb Etna Bianco 2012 from Alice Buonaccorsi "ValCerasa" which was 100% Carricante and had the oddest yellow tinge from the intense minerals found on the volcanoes slopes. Can't wait to add this to our list of wineries and wines for Sicily this summer!
Appetizers included Ahi Tuna Tartare served with flatbread and grilled bread and Spanish Octopus Carpaccio with baby Arugula, Black Garlic and Blood Orange Dressing.
Two of us chose pastas: one guest went for the Rigatoni Carbonara which I had last time and is indeed one of the richest pasta dishes around, but so satisfying, especially on a cool spring day as it was. I chose the special pasta of Strozzapreti with Pork Sausage Ragu, Chanterelles and English peas. It was a seasonal delight and also rich, but in a restrained way accenting the spring with peas and chanterelles but having depth as the Strozzapreti(literraly meaning "priest-stanglers" as they are long and thick cavatelli like rope nooses!) noodles are so thick and dense as I love them.
Main courses were less varied. One of us chose the Crabcake with Pimento d'Espellete, Leeks & Orange Shellfish Emulsion which was one gigantic cake sitting atop the two sauces and sautéed leeks. Half of that easily went home for later!
The other three of us could not resist the special as it was indeed the first (and yes, Chesapeake local) Crispy Soft Shell Crabs of the season with Puntarelle (that wonderful green related to chicory that we discovered recently in Europe!), Anchovy Aioli (with truffle!!) and Seasoned Salt. The dish was sheer perfection and while it may have been chilly out, the recent warmth brought out our favorite summer crustacean and now we know spring is really here! The minerality of my Etna Bianco was superb with this as well.
Desserts were very varied with my Strawberry & Lychee Panna Cotta with Roasted Harry's Berries and Lime Meringue. The little dots of meringue were fun, but the strawberries starred here and while the panna cotta was light and superb, the marinated and fresh berries shone.
Marchesi is a chocolate terrine of Amedei Dark Chocolate with Garden Mint & Pistachios and the Amalfi Coast Lemon Spumoni was a huge bowl of the lemon ice cream sitting ver Almond Cake with Fresh Thyme and topped with a gorgeous Caramel Tuile. All of these can be viewed on my FB page and they are indeed all gorgeous presentations.
I am so glad we purchased these meals as Sam's school auction last year and we have one left--next week--a tasting dinner at Fiola!