Friday, March 18, 2011

My Two Cents: Bibiana

Disclaimer: I'm writing this post while still in the semi-vegetative food coma after my meal.

When the James Beard semi-finalists came out recently, I was pleased to see Bibiana's Nicholas Stefanelli on the list. This is largely due to the fact it's one of the few restaurants in our fare District to have a James Beard recognized chef. It was extremely easy to get a reservation and tonight was the night. Four fellow aspiring foodies and I arrived to impeccable service and a welcoming atmosphere. Our server was both incredibly helpful and superlatively gracious. She suggested the fried artichoke hearts which are not to be missed, people. Light and crispy with a surprisingly delicate flavor and not even a hint of greasiness. We paired that with a classic burrata served with beets and olive oil, a ricotta spread coated with chives and sweet almond oil, along with a simple arrugula with pickled fruit and vegetable salad. They were all delightful, but the fried artichokes really stand out. I ordered what was described as both the signature and most popular entree of squid ink spaghetti with lump crab and it was to die for. As soon as it was set down in front of me the crab and general sea food goodness wafted to my nostrils and I knew I was in for a treat. The pasta itself almost bordered on salty, but paired with the crab, garlic, and touch of heat from spices came together beautifully. The real surprise was the quality of the desserts! The menu offered an impressive selection, and 3 out of our 4 choices were absolute winners. I had the berry semifreddo with a meringue and compote that was elegantly presented and lacked any heavy overtones. Each bite was fluffy and chilled to just the right temperature and I must confess I ate every bite. My friends who had the salted caramel and vanilla gelato and the study on chocolate and hazelnut were also impressed. I mean how could a study on chocolate and hazelnut go wrong? I think myf friend Lucy described it best as a fresher and more complex version of nutella. Combine all that with a delicious Italian red suggested by the sommelier as the right choice for the beautiful spring day we had and color me content!

Get thee to Bibiana! It is well worth the trip.

Details: | 1100 New York Ave. NW | 202-216-9550 | Metro: Metro Center