WASHINGTON — If there’s one word that describes a traditional Italian woman dedicated to the craft of hand-rolling sheets of fresh pasta, it’s “sfoglina.”
That word also happens to be the name of James Beard Award-winning chef Fabio Trabocchi’s newest D.C. restaurant.
Trabocchi and his wife, Maria, are the culinary power couple behind Fiola, Fiola Mare and Casa Luca. In mid-December, they will add a fourth restaurant to their resume, when Sfoglina opens in D.C.’s Van Ness neighborhood.
Unlike the Trabocchis’ other restaurants, Sfoglina will be a casual eatery.
“The inspiration and purpose of the restaurant is to be everyone’s extension of their own kitchen,” said Trabocchi, who hails from the Le Marche area of central Italy along the Adriatic Sea.
The menu will reflect the concept’s less formal atmosphere with a primary focus on homemade, rustic pastas. Trabocchi says there will be a variety of noodle shapes, fillings and sauces, with several selections rotating daily, monthly and seasonally.
The selection will include dishes “from the entire boot of Italy,” and visitors will be able to see the pasta being made at the restaurant’s entrance.
Sfoglina is one of two retail outlets planned for the new Park Van Ness development on Connecticut Avenue. Soapstone Market, from the owners of Chevy Chase’s Broad Branch Market, opened in early November. Trabocchi says he hopes Sfoglina will join the neighboring cafe and food mart by mid-December.
“I still need to be generic on the date because there can always be some last-minute surprises that prevent us from [opening],” he said.
Sfoglina, which will seat about 70 inside and an additional 20 in an enclosed veranda, will be Trabocchi’s first restaurant anchored in a neighborhood — both Fiola and Casa Luca are located downtown, and Fiola Mare is on Georgetown’s waterfront.
Trabocchi said he chose the upper Northwest destination based on feedback from his regular diners.
“We know a lot of people in this neighborhood; they are clients at our other restaurants. And so the concept and the area is the perfect fit,” he said. “It fits perfectly with the neighbors.”
Once Sfoglina opens, the Trabocchis have no intention of slowing down. The restaurateurs recently announced plans to open an 11,500-square-foot Spanish seafood restaurant along D.C.’s Southwest waterfront.