Wine pairings can accompany each serving if desired – we desired – so we requested a flavorful Venetian Pinot Grigio (in honor of Teatro’s Venetian roots) to augment our terrine. A lighter Sauvignon Blanc from Tuscany was better suited for the next course, a delicately-sliced branzino carpaccio (European sea bass) served in a cigar box with morel mushrooms.
Fargione playfully delights in experimenting with presentation – I thought I was being served a mid-dinner Montecristo until I flipped the lid to encounter an enticing applewood aroma. But that was just the beginning: The paccheri pasta with braised codfish, fresh scallops, and warm broccoli puree arrived in a caviar tin; large shrimp tempura jutted out from a white ceramic cappuccino cup, whose base had been painted with a fresh basil and pea puree topped with porcini mushroom foam; and we couldn’t help but smile when served tomato “popsicles” with goat cheese and strips of roasted eggplant.
The Turin Italy native’s creative approach and penchant for drama seems a natural fit for Teatro Goldoni’s colorful Venetian festival-themed interior. The bright colors and vibrant ambiance are a welcomed respite from the city’s more traditional Italian restaurants.
Latter courses included Hawaiian ahi tuna seared 10 seconds per side and served in garlic and anchovy sauce; and Moulard duck seared 30 seconds per side accompanied by blood orange reduction and mascarpone cheese sauce. For dessert, we enjoyed a savory extra virgin olive oil and poppy seed gelato and two sorbets: sour apple and blueberry-lemon zest.
Fargione’s sous-chef experience under Roberto Donna, including five years at Galileo, have served him well. But watch him create from the chef’s table and you get the impression that he is delighting in spreading his culinary wings and experimenting with ingredients, flavors and, most notably, presentation.
For years Teatro Goldoni was defined by owner/chef Fabrizio Aielli. Fargione isn’t reinventing the wheel, but he is injecting an important new ingredient into the menu – his personality – and elevating a dining experience that has long been a K Street staple.