When was the last time you were in Leesburg? Well, now is the time to go and have dinner at the Palio Ristorante Italiano, located right in the heart of Leesburg—it’s well worth the trip! Recently, I met Palio’s experienced general manager, David Saavedra and got a tour of this charming and first-class restaurant. David’s also the GM of the newly opened Virginia Diner around the corner which is a fun, first-rate diner. Both eateries are owned by the genial Michael O’Connor. Back to Palio. In my opinion, part of its success are the servers like Hugo, Bill and C4.The head chef is Ian Dieter whose menu is outstanding. For starters I had a delicious lobster bisque followed by a great beef carpaccio with truly thinly sliced beef, red onions, arugula, capers and shaved parmigiano cheese. My wife wanted to try a pasta appetizer and was served linguini with Bolognese sauce. A real winner! There are great entrée items to choose from and at Hugo’s suggestion I ordered frutti di mare which consisted of pasta, clams, scallops, calamari, shrimp and mussels in a garlic white wine sauce. Delicious! My wife had one of Palio’s favorite items, risotto ai funghi con Capesante which is pan seared scallops with wild mushroom risotto, truffle oil and asparagus. Outstanding! Some of the other entrees are roasted chicken stuffed with spinach, veal scallopini, filet mignon, herb crusted rack of lamb and more. I don’t think you could go wrong with any choice. Give Palio a try. It’s located at 2 West Market Street, Leesburg. For more information, call 703-779-0060 and check the website at www.palioofleesburg.com.
Rich Massabny is a theatre, arts, & food critic in the nation's capital. He has been quoted in the Washington Post and Washington Times. One of the most visible cable television personalities in the Washington, D.C. area, his celebrity chefs on cooking shows, his weekly reviews and his hour long talk show, reach over 1,000,000 homes.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Did you know there is a truly authentic Italian restaurant in the heart of Falls Church? Located at 800 W. Broad St., with easy access from a parking garage, SFIZI Cafe is not only a restaurant, but also a wine shop and deli market. Owner Lino Ricciardi is proud to point out that everything in the wine shop and deli and on the menu is Italian. SFIZI’s has a glorious menu with appetizers, entrees, salads, pastas and desserts. One item that blew me away was the pizza. It is undoubtedly the best I’ve had since leaving Brooklyn. Reading the menu is a delightful experience. Just hearing the server recommend crostini sfiziosi, calamari all griglia or melanzane alla parmigiana, lasagna casalinga and tagliatelle al gambere are enough to transfer you to a little town in Italy. The food is wonderful and you’ll swear there are Italian grandmothers in the kitchen. Owner Ricciardi says most of his recipes come from his mother and he only uses ingredients imported from Italy. SFIZI’s is my kind of restaurant—authentic homemade food, good service, pleasant ambiance and a convenient location. For more information and reservations, call 703-533-1191 and check the website at www.sfizi.com. SFIZI’s is also open for lunch. By the way, SFIZI is pronounced sfeetzi which means a special treat—and indeed it is!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
There’s a classy new Indian restaurant in southwest D.C. at 1101 4th Street, called Masala Art. It’s in a brand new space just around the corner from the Arena Stage. My guest and I had a sampling of several specialties including chicken tikka, south Indian spicy fish curry in chili coconut sauce, lamb shank curry and goat cheese dumplings. Masala Art has quite the menu and one of the best parts is that each dish has a description. Indian food is all about spices and flavor. Spices are called masalas, hence the restaurant’s name, Masala Art. The menu has appetizers, tandoori specialties, tawa selections, non-vegetarian and vegetarian entrees, biryani, breads, side dishes and desserts. Several dishes caught my attention such as the panipoori appetizer, puffed hollows with diced potatoes and chickpeas topped with chutney plus stuffed tandoori made with marinated potatoes stuffed with ricotta cheese and dried fruit. Also, lamb in a rich mint and cilantro gravy served with a side of their traditional nan or other bread selections. And for dessert, rasmalal—cottage cheese dumplings in sweetened milk. Masala Art is owned by Atul Bhola. He and general manager, Jay and Masala Art’s chef, Ajay Ramola, have a real winner on their hands. Give it a try--you won’t be disappointed! For more information and reservations, call 202-554-1101 and check the website at www.masalaartdc.com. They also have another location at 4441B Wisconsin Avenue Northwest.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
A very impressive new restaurant opened its doors a few months ago at 15th and H Sts. NW in downtown D.C.---and it’s a winner! I’m talking about Joe’s Prime Steak & Stone Crab, well-known for its restaurants in Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas. You would never know it’s been open just a short time. Much credit, obviously, goes to managing partner Michael Rotolo and restaurant manager Travis Paez. Joe’s is a handsome place with stately white columns, high ceilings, a beautiful chandelier and a handsome bar with seating. However, the best part is the menu. What a selection of seafood and steaks. The big thing is the stone crab, served cold with the shells already cracked for you. Joe’s boasts the finest stone crabs in the world. Who am I to argue? Other seafood entrees are scallops, shrimp, crab and lobster. And, if you like steak, Joe’s is the place for you. There’s something for everyone---not to mention the lamb chops, pork chops and calves liver. Don’t overlook the appetizers, particularly the oysters Rockefeller, fried oysters and oysters on the half shell. Save room for dessert and a piece of one of their many pies like key lime, banana cream with foster sauce and Boston cream. Joe’s is truly a dining experience! For more information and reservations, call 202-489-0140 and be sure to check the website at www.joes.net.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I’m thinking of moving to Ashburn, VA so I can be close to the Mediterranean Breeze restaurant
which features two of my favorite cuisines, Greek and Italian. What a menu! So many favorites that youdon’t know what to choose first. And, you’ve got to meet the chef/owner, Terry Kasotakis and his friendly staff. Terry has owned the Mediterranean Breeze for the past 10 years. He came to the U.S. atthe age of 14, worked hard and finally had the opportunity to open his own restaurant. He and his wifehave five children. As you look over the menu you’ll find both Greek and Italian appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, entrees and desserts. A few of the house specials are the Athena Plaka Combination with a wonderful sampling of Greek dishes plus Greek style lamb chops, gyro, spinach pie and souvlaki platters and a Greek burger topped with tzatziki sauce and feta cheese. From the Italian selections, my favorite, veal parmigiana plus pizzas, chicken cacciatore, spaghetti carbonara and a Milano special platter featuring a combination of homemade lasagna, fettucini Alfredo, stuffed shells and chicken Marsala. I don’t want to forget their seafood items such as jumbo lump crab cakes, stuffed flounder, fried shrimp and blackened salmon. Mediterranean Breeze is a real find! Don’t Miss It. The address is 20693 Ashburn Rd., Ashburn. For more information and reservations, call 703-726-1045 and check the website at www.mediterraneanbreezeashburn.com.