Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

November 5, 2009 11:51 AM

Restaurant: Osteria Bibiania

Osteria Bibiania

1100 New York Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
(Entrance at 12th and H)
I first visited Bibiania with Marcia and Fred. I look forward to returning.

As you enter, there is a host stand, and directly behind the stand is a long, straight bar with about 16 high chairs. Behind the bar are open areas that allow you to look into the working kitchen.

Directly to the right of the entry dining room there is a cozy seating area that holds a dozen or more people for drinks and socializing.

There are two dining rooms. The one to the left of the entry way seats about 50 in 4s and 2s. It is sometimes used for private parties.

The dining room to the right seats 70. There is a half-wall separating the room from the entry way. Along that half-wall there is a padded bench which is used for seating at a series of tables. There is a private area at the far side of this dining room that looks to seat up to 10 people. The area is separated from the rest of the room by a gauzy curtain.

The dining room to the right, in which our table was located, was quite noisy, but we were able to hear ourselves think and to hear each other.

There are large black and white photographs scattered about the restaurant and the men's room. The dominant decorating material throughout the restaurant appears to be chrome.

We began our meal by sharing a series of Piatti (appetizers):

Arancini (Saffron Rice Fritters, Parmigiano)
Baccala (Salted Cod Fritters,Pil-Pil)
Polpettine (Veal Meat Balls in Sugo Finto)
Carciofi (Artichoke Guidea)
Pomodor (Heirlook Tomato Salad)

There are 4 pieces of each of these treats.

For her main course, Marcia chose Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese (Tagliatelle with traditional bolognes,Ragu). Fred and I chose the same entree, Razza (Seared Skate, little neck clams, cauliflower,brown butter).

I was alone in ordering dessert, each of 3 available flavors of gelatto. They were served in an interesting fashion, The flavors were layered in a glass that had the appearance of a short clear drinking glass. It was easy to spoon out all 3 flavors at the same time.

The service was fast and attentive, even though the restaurant was quite full. Our serving person was particularly friendly. He remembered me from another restaurant at which he had worked.

The men's room has a bright red wall on the right as you enter. To the left are two large round white ceramic cylyndrical wash basins standing about 3 feet deep with a large mirror behind them.

In most men's rooms there are one or two urinals that are relatively out in the open, easily visible. In this restroom there was no urinal in the open. There are 3 small "rooms," completely enclosed from floor to ceiling with full size doors. The doors and walls are heavy, dark wood. In each of the 2 narrower "rooms" there is a urinal. In the larger "room" there is a white ceramic commode. There is also a large picture above the commode.

The walls, other than the red wall, are painted in a very dark color, and the floors are totally covered with a dark material that appears to be planks laid end- to-end in rows.

Reservations are recommended. There is valet parking at the H Street entrance to the restaurant.

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