The award-winning Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s newest venture, Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, a 140-seat Italian restaurant at 1100 New York Ave, NW is officially open for business as of today, Friday, September 4th. Bajaj is also the owner of Bombay Club, 701, Rasika, Ardeo, and sister wine bar Bardeo – some of the best restaurants in the city. I slipped in for lunch and was surprised to see that it was quite busy. I just assumed opening a new restaurant Labor Day weekend would generally mean business would be slow – not today. Most of the tables in the main dining room and the private dining area that seats 50 were full. Bajaj was greeting guests as they were being seated and General Manager, Christian Pendleton was walking around checking to make sure that each table was happy.
It was announced on July 10, 2009 that Nicholas Stefanelli, formerly of Maestro in Tysons Corner was tapped to be the Executive Chef.Bajaj said, “the entire menu is from Nick. All of the dishes are of his influence.”
Baccala’ – Cod Fritters
The authentic Italian menu offers a variety of different “Piatti Piccoli” or small plates including Saffron Rice Fritters with parmiagiano, Fiori di Zucca – fried squash blossoms, Polpettine, – veal meat balls in sugo finto, Crostini di Pollo, which is chicken liver with red onion marmalade and Fichi or Black Figs with Blu Di Monchiniso. I tried the Baccala’ or cod fritters served in a fish sauce, “Pil-Pil”. My server, Arthur from the Ukraine said that “Baccala’ is a traditional dish served around Christmas time in Naples.” Also on the menu is a Pomodoro Heirloom Tomato Salad. I was very tempted to order this, but I think that the Baccala’ was a very unique dish – certainly something that I have never tried before.
Also on the menu is various Antipasti offerings such as Sarde, or grilled sardines with peperonata, and orgegano, Vitello Tonnato which is roasted Veal Sirloin with Tonnato sauce and chicory. I decided to try the Barbabietola, which is a delicious salad made with three varieties of beets, the traditional deep purple beet, a golden variety and “Cioga”, a white beet that turns pink when it is cooked. The salad is made up of small round thick slices of the varieties of beets, topped with Blu di Monchiniso, a blue cheese cheese from Northern Italy and sprinkled with almonds.
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Bibana is open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM; Thursday and Friday from 11:00 AM to 11 PM and Saturday 5 PM to 11 PM. For reservations, please call (202) 216-9550 and patrons can also visit www.Bibianadc.com