Things are humming along nicely for Fabio Trabocchi's Fiola, slated to open in Penn Quarter by April 11 (and possibly earlier). Though the restaurant is still under construction, a health inspection is scheduled for tomorrow with the liquor license soon to follow — allowing sommelier Adrian Reynolds to procure the 175 regional (mostly Italian) wines that will fill the restaurant's cavernous wine cellar. The main players are in place, the menu is being tweaked and apparently Fabio fans are already calling for reservations and to book events in the private dining room. "We feel so welcome and so loved in DC that it's an easy transition," Maria Trabocchi says of the duo's return from New York — the early days of which, she adds, were almost like a honeymoon as the husband-and-wife team worked side-by-side on their new project.
The Penn Quarter space is a huge departure from Le Paradou and the restaurants that came before it. Fiola underwent a full week of demolition in January and has been rebuilt with more open space intended to evoke an Italian villa with its stone walls, rustic wood finishings and warm colors. Trabocchi says the design is also intended to reflect his menu — which might surprise those who remember his days at Maestro. Rather than a four-star restaurant-style menu, they're going for "comfortable luxury," a simple yet sophisticated menu with fresh pasta and mostly local products. The menu is still top secret, but expect some old Maestro classics like lobster ravioli and lasagna vincisgrassi. And expect it soon!