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January 2005 Maestro

The dining experience at this restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner is luxurious.

From the first glimpse of the lovely dining room and open kitchen to the last sip of coffee, the dining experience at this restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner is luxurious. Chef Fabio Trabocchi offers separate menus of traditional and modern dishes, each with two or three items listed for each course. Diners can select as they wish from the two menus or allow Trabocchi to create a special menu for them. The standard menu is five courses for $110. Ingredients are first-rate, and Trabocchi is a wizard with sauces. To choose the appropriate wine from the impressive list, enlist the expert help of sommelier Vincent Feraud.

Autumn's traditional menu included an appetizer consisting of fontina cheese fondue, a quenelle of polenta, truffle-milk froth, gently fried parsnips, and shavings of white truffles. The modern menu offered a combination of Belon oysters, seared foie gras, cauliflower cream, and Champagne zabaglione. Next were pasta courses like agnolotti of cotechino sausage with a confit of porcini mushrooms, and a bowl of smoked potato gnocchi with venison ragoût. The fish course offered roasted wild sturgeon with a green-lentil crust in a red-wine sauce or red mullet with a confit of red peppers. The selection of meats featured roasted Scottish pheasant with white turnips and a grappa sauce and a roasted muscovy duck breast with a mound of leg confit flakes.

Desserts are as pretty as they are good. Try a hot-caramel soufflé or Le Castagne, a mélange of chestnuts with praline, chocolate, and chestnut ice cream. The very good cheese selection provides an alternative to dessert on the five-course menu. There is a separate vegetarian menu.

Reserve well in advance. Note that the hotel rather than Trabocchi presents Sunday brunch at the restaurant.

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