Perhaps the most well known restaurateurs in Washington are Fabio and Maria Trabocchi. They took D.C. by storm when they opened Fiola back in 2011 followed by Casa Luca in 2013, and Fiola Mare in 2014. Everything the Trabocchi's touch turns to gold. The way they have amassed a restaurant empire in town has been done in the most elegant and sophisticated manner with each of their restaurants encompassing a top notch professional staff, and an attention to detail that makes every customer feel welcome. Enter their newest restaurant: Sfoglina. Located in the restaurant wasteland of the Van Ness neighborhood, I can't think of a place more deserving of a high quality restaurant that caters to the Washington elite in addition to neighborhood dwellers and families.
Sfoglina's menu is the most playful and casual of all of their restaurants. While they offer fish and meat, the star of the show at Sfoglina is the pasta. I particularly love that they offer a pasta tasting of 3 pastas of your choice for $65. We started the meal with the buffalo milk mozzarella with arugula served over a creamy Tuscan tonnato. The nibbles and small plates on the menu include a colorful aged prosciutto with balsamic vinegar and persimmons as well as a burrata with hazelnuts and endives.
For our pasta course we went with three very different options in order to get a sense for the different sauces and pasta shapes. The gnocchi with porcini crema, foraged mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano was a favorite, but the beet-stained ravioli was not only beautiful, it was nostalgic for me and reminded me of one of my favorite dishes I used to eat regularly when I lived in Italy. The pear and cheese ravioli from Coquinarius in Florence is one of my all time favorite meals. The version at Sfoglina has all of the right components, but I love the twist of the beet pasta not only for the color but for the flavor. The mixture of goat cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, pears, and balsamic is pretty perfect. Lastly, we enjoyed the rigatoni amatriciana which was served in a vintage Corningware dish that my mom used to bake with at home when I was growing up.
As much as the pastas filled us up, dessert is not to be missed at Sfoglina. It's a small menu, but every option is worth trying. The white chocolate budino with warm chocolate sauce was light with crunchy bits on top, and the ice cream with chocolate pearls is simple yet satisfying. However, the lemon and hazelnut cake was perhaps my favorite. It tasted like a warm breakfast muffin with a touch of oat and honey.
From the décor to the menu to the dinnerware, Sfoglina has so many touches of family and home woven into the fabric of the restaurant. There are few things I enjoy more than a great glass of wine and a delicious bowl of pasta, and Sfoglina really delivers on that experience. I foresee another smashing success for the Trabocchi's.