Last week I had the chance to eat at Bibiana in downtown Washington, DC.
Wow!! The menu fits into the category of Italian, but this is not merely a new copy of an old favorite cookbook! From the moment you walk in the atmosphere and decor is sleek and comfortable, and the service is efficient and enthusiastic.
The picture above is an appetizer called Buratta d’Andria. It was buratta cheese which is made from mozzarella and cream. Mozzarella and cream! It had a slightly firm outer crust and was creamy yet light inside. It was served with grilled zucchini and a minted zucchini puree.
If I had been called away after just this dish the evening would have been a success!
Fortunately I was not called away and the next course was Fried Artichokes. These were tiny, tender fried artichoke hearts which featured the tart, almost pickled flavor of the vegetable with the lightest crispy exterior!
The food just got better from here. I ordered a special that night, truffle risotto. As this dish arrived, tables around me could smell the rich earthy truffle and began reconsidering their dinner order. The server brought out a truffle the size of a hard boiled egg and grated it over my dish the way one might grate parmesan cheese! He told me to say “when” but I was speechless!
Every single bite of the dish made me acutely aware of how delicious it was. Bibiana was a finalist for Best New Restaurant of 2010 in DC, and its chef, Nicholas Stefanelli was named a Rising Star Chef by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Google him and you will see that he is indeed a rising star. I was quite pleased to see this as Nicholas Stefanelli is a graduate of Gaithersburg’s L’Academie de Cuisine, an institution at which I myself spent some time.
This is a great time to get down there because they feature a seasonal menu and they make the most of summer’s bounty. It’s also much easier to get a table in DC in the summer!