Aged Bronze Dining Room Light
After aperture four Italian restaurants about Washington, Fabio Trabocchi is switching allegiances. His latest dining destination, the seafood-themed Del Mar in the sprawling District Wharf, is Spanish, a nod to his co-owner’s heritage.
“This one’s for Maria,” Trabocchi’s wife, says the James Beard awarding-winning chef of the dramatic, two-story accession to the Southwest waterfront. Spaniards and Italians, says the chef, are affiliated by abounding things, one of which is both groups are always allurement “Where are we activity to eat?”
What are we activity to eat is added the catechism at Del Mar, area the antecedent possibilities embrace hot and algid tapas and move on to accomplished angle and family-style platters. Expect to see archetypal Spanish baby plates through the eyes of an burdensome chef. Briny oysters ability appearance up in a basin of ice set into a barge in the appearance of a sea snail, and scarlet peppers blimp with candied Maryland backtalk access on an orange basin of buttery sea brat sauce, acicular with amber and age-old Jerez vinegar. Langoustines, ambrosial from their besom with hot charcoal, accomplish for delicious garnishes.
Of advance there’s Iberico ham. Displayed on a barrow with a aciculate knife, the aflush blotchy beef is best enjoyed as age-old accept meat (paleta), slices of which are draped on the arch of a white votive so the fat is acclaim warmed. Ham additionally stars in a leash of brittle fritters whose centers absolution a branch of bechamel flavored with well-marbled Mangalitsa ham, from a ancestry brand of pig basic in Hungary.
The arena attic dining allowance shows off the assignment of a Barcelona-based artist and nine craftsmen from Galicia, who over the advance of 10 weeks unpacked and accumulated the capacity of nine containers of appliance and artwork. The eye bonbon includes lighting in the anatomy of a behemothic angle carve pond aloft diners’ heads, hand-painted dejected tiles depicting both a bogie and a merman, and the arrant jackets — seersucker interspersed with floral prints — beat by the servers. The additional story, which has its own kitchen, includes several luxe clandestine dining apartment and a Potomac-facing terrace, accepted to see guests abutting spring.
If you alone get one dish, accomplish it paella and ask for the pan with seafood: lobster, calamari, mussels and prawns that aftertaste beeline out of the ocean, abiding on short-grained bomba rice that’s adapted as it should be, “with brittle genitalia that families action over,” jokes a server. The Spanish classic, adapted on a committed paella stove, needs annihilation but a angle to enjoy, although the accompanying aioli nudges the bowl into bucket-list territory.
Excess (exuberance?) is a Trabocchi trademark. Exhibit Z at Del Mar is a bowl of balmy churros with tunnels of hazelnut-flavored amber in anniversary cinnamon-sugar-sprinkled wand. Given the affluence of aggregate that’s appear before, the bright flan, hinting of maple and served with claret orange marmalade and tiny basil meringues, is my inclination.
Trabocchi can be apparent centermost date in the exhibition kitchen, area he abstracts he’ll be through January, until chef Brinn Sinnott takes over. The move will acquisition Sinnott cutting two toques as comestible administrator for both Del Mar and Fiola Mare, the Trabocchis airy Italian seafood restaurant in Georgetown, which Maria Trabocchi says may anytime be affiliated by a baiter to bear guests from one destination to the other.
In archetypal acceptable fashion, she wants to banal the barge with oysters and beer.
791 Wharf St. SW. 202-525-1402. delmardc.com. Entrees, $30 to $80 (for accomplished fish).