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On Saturday I continued working through our Restaurant Week top picks and had dinner at Bibiana. I’ll spill the beans now and say that unlike Willow and Tosca, which were fabulous, Bibiana fell flat.

Fresh foccacia and a woodsy plate of roasted wild mushrooms were a promising start:

Funghi appetizer

The foccacia was crusty and moist, and the funghi were cooked and seasoned just right to bring out all that satisfying mushroom texture and flavor. Had I known this was to be the highlight of my meal, I would have lingered a bit longer on each bite.

For my entree I chose the ravioli filled with cacio cavallo cheese and served with marjoram, basil and tomato (also featured on the regular menu) over the other vegetarian choice of rigatoni with eggplant, tomato and ricotta salata (on RW menu only).

Sad ravioli

The cheese was tangy and stretchy and the pasta fresh and firm, but I’ll just say it: the tomato sauce tasted like it came from a can. Labeled ‘tomato paste’. No amount of marjoram or basil could rescue it, or the dish. What a disappointment.

For dessert, our waiter recommended the gianduja, plum torta and peppermint semifreddo. I looooove anything with chocolate and hazelnut so I jumped on the gianduja, hoping to redeem the meal.

Gianduja

Aaaand hope was in vain. Yes, this tasted pretty much just how it looked. An entire half of a banana, caramelized, sitting next to a glop of gianduja over a chocolate pizzele. What? Am I supposed to spread the chocolate goo on the banana? Leave it as a lump on the pizzele? Fold the whole thing in half and chow down? I’m not saying I didn’t eat it, especially after leaving half of my pasta behind. I’m just saying that I expected more in terms of composition and presentation from Bibiana, not to mention sophistication.

My two companions fared better with the peppermint semifreddo, which tasted like an ice cream sandwich version of an Andes mint, and the torta, a simple but successful combination of juicy plum on top of an almond cookie with chantilly cream.

Peppermint semifreddo

Plum torta

Although I liked the appetizer and two of the desserts well enough, I just couldn’t get past that ravioli. Did I experience the ‘dumbing down’ of the menu that supposedly occurs during Restaurant Week, despite ordering an entree available on the regular menu? You’ll have to let me know, because I won’t be going back to Bibiana any time soon to find out.

1100 New York Ave NW
(202) 216-9550

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