City Paper: "Simply stated, he’s turning out the most creative Italian dishes I’ve tasted since Fabio Trabocchi hightailed it to New York City."
Don Rockwell: "The Chef's Table at Teatro Goldoni may be the greatest dining experience in Washington, DC right now."
John Mariani in Esquire, "Chefs to Watch in 2008"
Enzo Fargione is, at present, Washington's most imaginative and deliciously creative chef. Ten of us descended on Teatro Goldoni's expanded Chef's Table last night and found it impossible not to compare elements of the experience and his talent to Fabio at Maestro, Roberto at The Lab, Johnny Monis at Komi, even Minibar. Most of us agreed that Enzo's Chef's Table experience, is extraordinary theatre, topping the current D. C. favorite Komi, as the city's most satisfying and unique dining experience.
The comparisons to Fabio and even Massimilliano at Rubano's three Michelin star Le Calandre are inescapable. Cigar box branzino with smoke wafting out, an egg shell with the head of a prawn seemingly crawling out and a presentation of green tea soup incoporating foie gras and a depth of flavor that, for me, is my current choice as the single best dish in any restaurant in the Washington, D. C. area. With the escaping shrimp from the egg shell a very close second, served minutes apart. Factor in extraordinary gnocchi, exemplery sea bass along with excellent tomatoey lobster risotto, a "study in fennel" and 15 or more dishes (this dinner approaches a total of twenty tastes and courses which lasts over four hours) and it is remarkable that this is not a far more difficult reservation than the six seat Minibar.
Approximately half of the dishes are available in Teatro Goldoni's dining room as part of their regular menu. The Chef's Table is open to a minimum of four (up to six) people in a large booth adjacent to the open kitchen. For larger groups such as ours' tables can be arranged as a type of "stage" in the middle of the main dining room. (Quite appropriate really since Teatro Goldoni is a very real theatre of taste and presentation.) In both situations Enzo plays a primary role discussing and presenting the dinner with everyone at the table. Not only is he gifted in the kitchen but he is also a wonderful ambassador for the delicious glitz that he graces his tables with.
I did not take notes on the dinner. Technique for many of the dishes was complex, often with at least four people simultaneously laboring over the several trays that were being presented to us. The assemblage of several of these such as the eggshell were incredibly labor intensive. Rich, intense stock reductions, textural interplay as well as instructions for maximum crunch or most flavorful sip accompanied a number of dishes.
The $125 prix fixe (+$60 for the wine pairing) seemed to all ten of us an absolute bargain for the level of this extraordinary experience.
Chowhound.com/topics/518053 is the link to a post of mine raving about the ascension of Komi to D. C.'s top rung from May of this year. Today, Enzo stands alone at the top of Washington's ladder. His is the absolute destination to experience and judge for yourself.
Enzo's Chef's Table at Teatro Goldoni: it is going to be talked about...