PHOTO: Some of our starters at Officina (c) Sery Kim
Last night I finally had a chance to eat at Officina, Michelin-starred Chef Nicholas Stefanellis' three-story market and restaurant on D.C.'s popular Wharf. To say the dining experience was fun and gluttonous would be a massive understatement! We went upstairs to the Trattoria and put our culinary choices in Nicholas' more than capable hands. And (in the greatest of praise) I hardly have any photos because I spent the majority of my time eating and drinking! Be sure to order the Buccatini from the pasta section and the Filleto from the carne section.
The Buccatini had an incredibly creative bent with the red onion crisped to the point it became crunchy, with a texture more consistent to a potato chip, a marvelous variation on a sometimes forgotten vegetable, while the pasta itself was thickly bursting with flavor. Now, considering I had a plethora of choices for our third course, it does seem odd to say I liked the 6 ounce beef tenderloin so much, but the ideal temperature of the steak ignited a conversation among us food critics about the hardest art: cooking a steak to the right temperature. Nicholas, as could be expected, did it superbly and I took the leftovers home with me. Honestly, I would say both are exquisite, and the best in the city.
As a fair warning, Officina is NOT Masseria and the difference is both welcomed, as well as something to be noted. The food is heartier at Officina, but for those who don't have the bandwidth (or wallet) to enjoy Masseria -- definitely one of my top five restaurants in D.C. -- then Officina is the ideal substitute.