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Fiola Mare dish recs?

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Hey friends-

Former DC'er returning for a weekend, and friends have settled on fiola mare for dinner tomorrow. Scanned the board, and while the name comes up a few times, haven't seen much in the way of what to get/what to avoid, and thus, am turning to you all for advice.

fyi, i have been to fiola before and enjoyed the style of food... and my main query may be whether i lean on the italian/pasta side, or go more fish forward. great fish is great, but at those prices, worried i'll end up experiencing eater's remorse than if i go with what (given good track record at fiola) are safer bets on the menu. thoughts?

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  1. I have not been to FIola Mare, just regular FIola. A wise man once said of Fiola, "If risotto is on the menu, it must be ordered." Get the squid ink risotto.

    1. I tend to order what I want to order and hope for the best. With that said, I've had too many bad sea urchin pastas to recommend it. On the other hand, I've always loved the lobster ravioli.

      1. Thanks both! And yes- I was having same conundrum with sea urchin pasta: love it, but it's like Dave Chang's pork buns 5 years ago... seems to be everywhere now.... good to know it doesn't blow away the rest of the pack.

        1. I have eaten there. I enjoyed what I had. Others with me were disappointed. I ordered Dover sole It was not on the menu. Waiter "made it happen". The lobster ravioli was wonderful. Someone ordered a seafood pasta that lacked much seafood. I wouldn't recommend. I think any fish table side will be a good choice. Dessert too fou fou (if that is how to spell it). That is something you may want to skip. Overall, I think you will enjoy. Service was great. Ask for a table by the window. Great view

          1. Since I don't know how to add a link, I'll do a partial cut and paste.

            Starters included pefectly fresh and perfectly shucked and beautifully presented Wild Belon, Rasberry Point and Kumamoto Oysters with a Chardonnay/Thyme Mignonettte (sp) and a Passion Fruit Mignonette that was unique and addictive.

            Also, two must orders: Chocolate Clams w blood orange and shiso that just took us back with flavor. And a wonderfully done Tuna Carpaccio w cucumber, olives and capers. But the best of all the beginnings was Fiola Mare Oysters and Caviar w Prosecco Zabaglione. Oyters and caviar married with ginger and soy in the bottom of a parfait glass with a rich delicious foam on top. On my next visit, i may have two of these. Finally, a salad of Buffalo Burrata w baby artichoke and radish with a pesto vinagrette.

            Then focus on pastas. The Gragnano Spagehetti w little neck clams is the sweetest most lucious thing you've ever eaten with golden coins of garlic. Acquerello Risotto w calamarie was deeply oceany and rich. And the Lobster Ravioli, which I've had many times, must pack at least 1.5 lobsters gently sauteed in butter packd into delicate wrappers with a light sauce that lets the seafood shine through. Amazing.

            Stuffed...we fought on. The Adriatic Seafood Brodetto was full of fish, scallops, shrimp, octopus in another long reduced marine-y tomato-y and a little smoke-y thin sauce. Each piece of seafood cooked perfectly. The Under the Sea composition was my lesser favorite, as I was a bit put off by the dashi broth, but the seafood was every bit as impeccable.

            I'm not much a dessert guy, but all four were well received. A rich dense chocolate torte, a light yummy lemon mouse on shortcake, a wonderful marinated cherry bombe, and boozey strawberries with light as air whipped cream.

            1. Thank you all for the recs! We got:

              frutti di mare large platter (6 of us.. this was not my choice, as i'm always skeptical of seafood tower-esque things)

              full order lobster ravioli

              full order gragano spaghetti

              olive oil poached black bass

              side of olive oil crushed potatoes

              dessert: chocolate marchesi and bombolini

              alas! no risotto on the menu.

              Thoughts:

              1. as expected, frutti di mare was the one and only disappointment. the raw shellfish, prepared mussels, and lobster were great and well-portioned, but the tuna tartare, peekytoe salad, and uni were all subpar, and served in incredibly tiny dishes- my big issue here is that, this being the large platter, it's almost impossible to imagine there is a smaller dish/portion of those they use on teh small platter... so i think you just get the same amount of crab/tuna/urchin regardless, which is frustrating.

              2. all the other savory food was lovely.

              again, it was a bit odd that the 'full' portion of the lobster ravioli had only 3 ravioli (as it raised the question of what a half order would have), but the portion of lobster was great, and, more importantly, the lobster itself, the ravioli, and the broth were clean/refreshing and delicious (which is a great counterpoint to a normal buttered-lobster feeling)

              clams and spaghetti also had a wonderful sauce that had us asking for extra bread.

              olive oil black bass was also wonderfully executed. meat was tender, the oyster/caviar accompaniment was wonderful (it looked like this was the same prep as the oyster/caviar app, made me bummed we didn't get that separately)

              3. dessert:

              bombolini were great, but iirc they've been on fiola menu a while and received much deserved praise there.

              the marchesi was a disappointment. The chocolate cake itself is just a par for the course rich chocolate, and the mint sauce on top, while exceedingly fresh (very herbal, not sweet at all), it did not mesh well with the chocolate, and ended up dominating the pistachios that were also present.

              overall... i'd go back for the pastas, and the prepared fish, but, having gotten to sample most of the raw fish via the platter, i wouldn't bother order anything from the raw seafood page again given the prices they charge.