From January 2005 100 Very Best Restaurants
K 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.