What is in this article?:
- Fabio Trabocchi talks upcoming seafood restaurant
- A look at Casa Luca
Chef Fabio Trabocchi discussed his plans for Fiola Mare, as well as the recently opened Casa Luca, with Nation’s Restaurant News.
Chef Fabio Trabocchi
Fabio Trabocchi has long been praised for his skill in cooking seafood. A native of the Italian region of Le Marche, theand owner of Washington, D.C., restaurants Fiola, a modern Italian trattoria, and Casa Luca, a new casual osteria, grew up 20 minutes from the Adriatic Sea.
Early in his career, Trabocchi worked at seaside restaurants with counters where guests would select the fish they wanted prepared for them. Trabocchi plans to bring that experience to Washington this December, when Fiola Mare is scheduled to open on the Georgetown waterfront. The restaurant will include an outdoor patio with a retractable roof for year-round use.
Trabocchi was named a Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef in 2002, when he was chef at Maestro at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, in McLean, Va. During his tenure there, he was also named best chef in the Mid-Atlantic in 2006 by the James Beard Foundation. Fiola was named one of the best new restaurants in 2012 by Bon Appétit magazine, an acknowledgement it also received from Esquire in 2011.
Trabocchi discussed his plans for Fiola Mare, as well as the recently opened Casa Luca, with Nation’s Restaurant News.
Why open a seafood restaurant?
I love seafood, to start with. I’m excited to cook everything, but maybe a little bit more when it comes to seafood.
I grew up within 20 minutes of Adriatic Sea. In 20 minutes we’re on the water and in 30 minutes we’re in the mountains. That was one of the beauties of being exposed to both land products and seafood products.
What types of dishes do you plan to serve?
We have drafted the menu, but we’re still working on it. There will be Italian seafood and pasta, crudo and an oyster bar, salads and pastries, and grilled whole fish carved tableside. The fish will come from all over — from Maine to California, Latin America, Italy, Spain, Portugal.
We’ll make some classical Italian dishes and some things that are more contemporary.
There’s a bounty of seafood out there. From here [in the D.C. area] we’ll use jumbo lump crab and soft-shell crab, and in the Northeast there’s wild striped sea bass, Belon oysters, Nantucket Bay scallops and spot prawns. From the West Coast we’ll get Catalina Island sea urchins that are delicious.
The inspiration for Fiola Mare is from restaurants on the sea where I worked early in my career. The restaurant will be overlooking water from every window. It will have an open kitchen and a counter where people can choose their own fish, like they do on the Adriatic.
But on the Adriatic the fish is local. Do you face challenges sourcing seafood for Fiola Mare?
Even at Fiola, our biggest part of the menu is seafood. That’s what we sell the most of. It’s a matter of coordinating schedules with suppliers from all over the country and Europe as well. We might have to talk about seafood at 5 in the morning when they first see the fish at the auctions. At the same time, they’re going to have their reports from fishmongers in Portugal and Spain about what’s coming in. So the menu will change frequently depending on availability of local seafood and what’s available abroad.
We won’t make big orders of ingredients when they’re coming from afar, because we don’t want to sit on ingredients that have already been traveling. It’s important to use what’s sustainable and that has the shortest time out of the water as possible.