From January 2005 100 Very Best RestaurantsK Street lawyers and other office workers fill every seat at the bar of this lively Italian restaurant by shortly after noon, drawn by chef Fabrizio Aielli's bargain-priced bar lunch. For $12.50, customers get a heaping bowl of rigatoni alla matriciana, an Italian-style hamburger with fried eggplant and a fried egg, or one of half a dozen other Italian favorites, plus a glass of wine.
But there's much more to Aielli's cooking than a bargain lunch. Born in Venice, he is skilled with the seafood and rice dishes at which Venetians excel. His Grand Fritto Misto, a platter heaped with crisply fried oysters, scallops, shrimp, calamari, and thin slices of zucchini, is very good. The menu each day lists half a dozen varieties of fish, served with soft polenta, and another half-dozen risotti.