Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bibiana, DC

I can't stay away from Bibiana because of Chef Nichols Stefanelli and his commitment to authentic Italian cooking.  Right now I believe that Nicholas is Washington DC's only authentic Italian Chef as his renderings are simple and absolutely as delicious as an Italian dish can taste and feel here in the USA.  While we have plenty of awesome Italian Chefs in DC and most prepare amazing food, Stefanelli on frequent trips to Italy steals recipes from little old ladies and prepares them precisely in his marvelous kitchen where the culture is authenticity.  He is quick to research an ingredient or recipe that others might ignore and with charm and grace duplicates things like Calabrian 'Nudja and La Tiella Pugliese.

On my latest trip to Bibiana we shared a "Genovese" as the Napolitani call it, a graceful, absolutely phenomenal onion and beef like stew prepared with pasta, the meat and onions often served as a Secondo.  Steffanelli teamed it with Bucatini Faella from one of Italy's finest pasta manufacturers in Gragnano situated on the slopes of Mt Vesuvio.  The neighboring town of San Marzano famed for it's tomatoes is also a haunt of Stefanelli's.  My friends raved about his Amatriciana, Gnocchi and my Spaghetti alla Norma, Norma never had it so good!  While many chefs summoned by the sirens song to embellish their dishes with obscure ingredients Nicholas Stefanelli is taxed by a higher being to strive for this authenticity that is his and his alone.

Intrigued by charcuterie years ago Stefanelli embarked on another journey to the mother country and came back with a masters degree in La Cucina Povera di Macelleria, an Italian Butcher he has now created for Bibiana Washington DC's finest charcuterie antipasto plate.  For crying out loud our favorite authentic Italian Chef is making his own Mortadella!  Who does this?

Trust and believe that when you dine at Stefanelli's table, somewhere in Italy someone else is having an identical meal, festive, inventive, authentic and simply fantastic.  The Chef's recent return from Sicily is sure to hold surprises for guests of Bibiana.  God help our waistlines when he returns from Calabria, Abruzzo and Basilicata! Run don't walk to Bibiana.

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