Release Date: October 4, 2011
Fall Dishes Added to Garden Café Italia, Created by Chef Fabio Trabocchi in Honor of Italian Art Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art
Washington, DC—As Washington welcomes the fall season, Chef Fabio Trabocchi of the Penn Quarter restaurant Fiola has added robust new dishes to the National Gallery of Art Garden Café menu inspired by harvest ingredients and an impressive exhibition of Italian sculpture—Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes—on view through April 8, 2012. Chef Trabocchi first created signature Italian dishes for the Garden Café Italia menu in honor of Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals (February 20–May 30, 2011), and revised the menu once before with lighter summertime offerings in honor of Italian Master Drawings from the Wolfgang Ratjen Collection, 1525–1835 (May 8–November 27, 2011). Chef Trabocchi's Garden Café Italia menu, consisting of a buffet as well as à la carte dishes, is also inspired by Italian masterpieces in the Gallery's renowned permanent collection.
The Garden Café Italia menu will be served through early spring 2012, and is presented in partnership with Restaurant Associates and Executive Chef David Rogers at the National Gallery of Art.
Garden Café Italia
Chef Trabocchi developed the Garden Café Italia menu with an eye to seasonal ingredients sold in Italian farmers' markets, such as castagna (chestnut), in season beginning in October. The à la carte menu features ragù d'anatra e polenta (rich duck ragu and creamy polenta, $14.50); prosciutto di San Daniele (dry-cured ham and marinated eggplant served with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and aged balsamic vinegar, $12.00); and tortellini al basilica e mozzarella (basil tortellini with buffalo mozzarella, $14.00). Desserts include classic tiramisu with chocolate sauce and gelato stracciatella (vanilla ice cream with chocolate shavings).
Chef Trabocchi's buffet ($20.25) presents an array of customary Italian dishes, beginning with a selection of Italian breads and cured meats served with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and marinated Castelvetrano olives. For main courses, the buffet offers buccatini with pancetta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and melanzane alla parmigiana (baked eggplant with tomato, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and mozzarella). Seasonal additions for the fall include a salad featuring Lola Rosa lettuce with aged white balsamic vinegar dressing, dried cherries, and Pecorino Romano cheese, as well as zuppa di castagne (chestnut soup), which recalls the chef's childhood memories of the seductive smell of roasting nuts and wood smoke. Rounding out the meal is panna cotta, an Italian custard with orange segments and candied orange.
White, red, and sparkling Italian wines have been carefully selected to complement the menu, along with beer (Birra Moretti, Udine, Italy) and signature cocktails (Campari and soda, Bellini, and Aperol spritz). Juice, soda, and still or sparkling bottled water are available, as are authentic Italian illy brand coffee, espresso, and tea produced in Trieste, Italy. Recipe cards for selected dishes are offered to guests free of charge.
Garden Café Italia is open Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. One of the most distinctive dining spots in the nation's capital, the Garden Café features a 19th-century French marble sculpture after Jacopo Sansovino, Bacchus and a Faun, and a fountain with Herbert Adams' bronze Girl with Water Lilies (model 1928).
The Garden Café is located in the West Building near the entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. To make reservations for groups of eight or more, please contact the café manager at (202) 712-7454. For more information about the Gallery and its restaurants, visit www.nga.gov/dining.
Chef Trabocchi prides himself on his attention to detail, creative imagination, and extensive knowledge of Italy's culinary heritage and technique. His passion for cooking was nurtured by his father and grandparents as he grew up in Italy's Le Marche region. He was already comfortable in the kitchen by the age of eight, and decided to pursue culinary school in his early teens. After a progression of apprenticeships in kitchens throughout the region, he was working in the kitchen of a three-star Michelin restaurant, Gualtiero Marchesi, at age 16. At 18 he was responsible for the entire kitchen staff at the Michelin one-star Navalge Moena.
In London, Trabocchi began to showcase his own culinary style at the celebrated Floriana, where he won the Carlton Award for London's Best Young Chef in 1999. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC then invited him to design his own kitchen and create the vision and concept for Maestro in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, which opened in 2001. At Maestro, his study in the evolution of Italian cuisine brought him acclaim. He was named Food & Wine's Best New Chef in 2002, Chef of the Year in 2005 by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, and the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef—Mid-Atlantic in 2006. As the restaurant's chef de cuisine, he also earned a series of four-star reviews from The Washington Post. Later, his tenure at Fiamma in New York City from 2007 to 2010 was well received: Frank Bruni awarded him three stars in The New York Times, a rave review that joins others from such publications as New York Daily News, and New York Magazine, as well as a one-star rating by the 2009 Michelin Guide.
Trabocchi recently returned to Washington for his newest project, the celebrated Fiola, which opened in April at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Fiola ("little girl" or "sweetheart" in Italian) is Trabocchi's nickname for his daughter. The new restaurant is a modern Italian trattoria with an emphasis on fresh ingredients from local farms and markets. The menu changes daily, focusing on seasonal ingredients served in a casual, comfortable setting designed by GrizForm Design Architects.
Trabocchi and his family—wife Maria, daughter Aliche (9), and son Luca (7)—live within walking distance of the Gallery and visit often, attending skating lessons at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink during the winter months and exploring the museum. Trabocchi's blog includes updates about Garden Café Italia and Fiola. The Gallery Shops offer his cookbook, Cucina of Le Marche (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2006), a celebration of his personal culinary heritage coauthored with Peter Kaminsky.
Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes
Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi, known as Antico (c. 1455–1528), transformed the art of bronze sculpture. His contributions are celebrated in Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes, the first monographic exhibition in the United States devoted to the Italian sculptor and goldsmith. On view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from November 6, 2011, through April 8, 2012, the exhibition includes some 40 rare works—medals, reliefs, busts, and Antico's renowned statuettes—more than three-quarters of the sculptor's known works.
This exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in association with The Frick Collection, New York, where it will be on view from May 1 through July 29, 2012. The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Robert H. and Clarice Smith. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Learn about the exhibition at www.nga.gov/exhibitions/anticoinfo.htm
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