Birthday Dinner at Sfoglina

I already spilled my heart and soul in my last post.  This one is more about the food.  Today was my 27th birthday, and Chris took me to an amazing birthday dinner at Sfoglina in DC.

It is hard to believe that Chris has been in my life for nine birthdays now! I have had some really good memories (and a few terrible ones) throughout these years of celebrating birthdays together.  Since I moved to DC though in 2015, we have a tradition of going to a new restaurant every year for my birthday.  These have all given me some fantastic experiences.  For example, last year we went to Q by Peter Chang for the first time (which ironically is now a half a block away from where I live).  We became obsessed with that place.  I love our best friend dinners, and this one was no exception.

Sfoglina is a restaurant that specializes in handmade Italian pastas .  It’s in the Van Ness neighborhood, actually just a block from the Metro station.  The aesthetic was a little bit unexpected.  In a city full of old buildings and history, Sfoglina appears as this quaint, gardenesque restaurant.  The inside is modern and chic with subtle hints of a classic vibe.  I didn’t expect it to look so new inside.


The menu is not extensive, but I like it that way.  I can be terribly indecisive so having less choices is typically good for me.  Plus when making handmade pastas, you don’t want too many menu items or it will be too hard to produce in the kitchen.

We started out with cocktails.  I had originally planned to get wine, but the glasses of wine were just as much as the cocktails.  I don’t really see the purpose of paying $14 for a glass of wine when I rarely buy a bottle that is more expensive than that.  I will, however, pay that on occasion for a specialty cocktail.  Chris ordered the Aged Negroni (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth) and I ordered the Fabio Venetian Spritzer (Aperol, prosecco, yuzu).  Both drinks were spectacular.  I found mine to be particularly refreshing.


For entrees, we ordered the squid ink linguine with lobster and the pappardelle noodles with lamb ragu.  These were the two dishes we wanted to try most, of course with the realization that we’d be sharing a little bit.

The pappardelle (the dish I ordered) was fantastic.  The handmade noodles were a work of art.  I found the thickness and texture to be perfect.  However, what really made this dish was the lamb ragu.  Chris even said that it was the best ragu he has had since Bologna (where he studied abroad in college).  I have never had food in Bologna, but that ragu was something to admire.  I could tell that that meat had been braising for a long time due to the depth of flavor that had developed.  This was hands down the best pasta I have had in a long time.


Chris ordered the squid ink linguine.  When the food came out, they actually delivered the dishes to the wrong person, so I was the first one to dig into his dish.  I am officially a super fan of squid ink pasta.  The pasta was cooked perfectly, and so was the lobster.  It was juicy, tender, luscious.  I didn’t quite want to hand the dish over to him.  It was delicious.


Since it was my birthday, we finished our meal by sharing a piece of cake: chocolate piemontese cake.  After all, you have to have some cake on your birthday!  We skipped the espresso because it was $6.  It would have been nice to finish that meal with a nice Italian espresso, but similarly to the wine, I am not about to order a $6 espresso shot.


This cake tasted about as amazing as it looked.  The cake was rich in chocolate flavor.  The ganache was smooth and thick.  My favorite part was definitely the hazelnut crunch in the bottom layer.  I haven’t had chocolate cake that good in a long time.  This is a cake that is definitely not in my wheelhouse, so it was a nice treat to enjoy.

I don’t have anything negative to say about the food.  The only complaint we both had was regarding the service.  It felt incredibly rushed, and that pace didn’t fit in with the theme of the restaurant.  For a restaurant making handmade Italian pastas, it would have been nice to experience a bit of the pacing of Italy and have been able to take our time and enjoy the experience more.  Everything happened so quickly that it was almost overwhelming.  It felt like a sprint instead of a gentle jog.  That did detract from our dining experience.  Other than that, I really enjoyed the meal and would consider going back.

As a final note, I just want to say how happy I am to have my best friend in my life.  We have been through a lot together, and there was a point when I thought our relationship wouldn’t survive.  It did though, and I couldn’t be more thankful.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.  He is my rock, my sounding board, my eating buddy, my goofing off partner, my family.  Christopher, I love you dearly.  Your support and friendship mean the world to me.


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