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Leek American Bistro, Ballston - Nathan Spittal and Joe D'Jassebi in the old Thai Terrace Space - Closed

Ballston American Bistro Local and Seasonal Closed

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#1 dcs

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:31 AM

Leek American Bistro is now open. I stopped by for a quick to go lunch earlier in the week. I am not sure I am buying into the "homemade apple jam" on the "Carolina" pulled pork biscuits. Maybe if they dropped the word "Carolina" I might climb on board. I will reserve judgment further opinions while they work out the kinks (kick out the jams?). I think they just opened this week.



#2 Mark Slater

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:50 PM

Reminds me of a recipe I saw. "First, take two leeks."

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#3 DonRocks

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:00 PM

Leek American Bistro is now open. I stopped by for a quick to go lunch earlier in the week. I am not sure I am buying into the "homemade apple jam" on the "Carolina" pulled pork biscuits. Maybe if they dropped the word "Carolina" I might climb on board. I will reserve judgment further opinions while they work out the kinks (kick out the jams?). I think they just opened this week.


This is a much better than average restaurant for the neighborhood. It's not expensive, it's pleasant, and it's worth trying.

For the record:

Bulleit Bourbon ($8) neat, one ice cube on the side
Non-Alcoholic Sweet San Antone (a remarkable $3 instead of $9 with Tequila) - fresh pineapple, sweet basil, lemon-lime soda, and kudos to them for serving my son an interesting non-alcoholic cocktail and not ripping us off. *Thank you*
Blueberries' Maryland ($10) with Maryland Blueberries, fresh rosemary, smoked maple syrup, club soda, and Grand Marnier

Homemade Focaccia and Homemade Pesto (Gratis)
Fennel and Leek Soup ($7) poached lobster (not much) and orange-anise cream

Maryland Crabcake Sandwich ($13) with LTO, whole-grain mustard remoulade, house-cut garlic fries
Louisville Hot Brown ($10) house-roasted turkey, Texas toast, sliced tomato, hickory bacon, sauce Mornay, house-cut garlic fries

Black Sesame Pear Tea Cake ($10) with candied ginger and coconut gelato

A very good, well-priced meal backed up with friendly, enthusiastic service. Well-done, my friends.

This is right on the border of being Italic in the Dining Guide, and I'm sitting here wondering right now as to what's keeping me from pulling the trigger. An ecclectic menu that could be a disaster, but isn't at all. I would return here without hesitation.

To put this in perspective, last week we had dinner at the Ballston Rustico (with a dessert at Buzz Bakery), and we both enjoyed this substantially more.

Spread the word and tell your friends about Leek American Bistro. It won't change your life, but it's good, it's inexpensive, and I'm happy it's in the neighborhood.

Cheers,
Rocks

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#4 thetrain

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:35 PM

Thanks for taking the initiative on this - the early reviews were not good but I still meant to visit. At least to get a hot brown, which few places (if any?) serve in dc. A decent neighborhood restaurant for a inexpensive price is exactly what this limited stretch of the orange line needs.

#5 hopsing

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

To put this in perspective, last week we had dinner at the Ballston Rustico (with a dessert at Buzz Bakery), and we both enjoyed this substantially more.


Just to be sure I'm understanding you right, you mean you enjoyed Leek Bistro substantially more, right? Not Rustico/Buzz?

#6 jasonc

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

What is the substance of the happy hour deal their website mentions? Thinking about bringing my mom there after a matinee @Ballston.

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#7 DonRocks

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:17 PM

Just to be sure I'm understanding you right, you mean you enjoyed Leek Bistro substantially more, right? Not Rustico/Buzz?


Yes. I don't want to play too hard on the word "substantially" because that might be making Leek sound like something it's not intended to be. We had a good dinner, but the restaurant's not really trying to be "great." If you like a good open-faced hot turkey sandwich, the Louisville Hot Brown is what's sticking out in my mind a day later - if I get it again, I might ask for some extra Mornay sauce. The turkey was pretty clearly brined and is somewhat salty, and the sauce adds a mildly sweet component.

If I were Tiffany MacIssac, I would not want my name associated with Buzz Bakery.

What is the substance of the happy hour deal their website mentions? Thinking about bringing my mom there after a matinee @Ballston.


I'm not sure about the Happy Hour deals, but this is a good "mom" place - white tablecloths, and fairly quiet when you get away from the (large) bar area.

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#8 TSchaad

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

I stopped by yesterday afternoon to pick up a menu take home. I asked a waiter about the Happy Hour Specials,and he was a little vague - he said that beers and wines by the glass are half price, and some appetizers are also discounted. He also said you could take advantage of these price breaks at a table in the dining area as well as at the bar.

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#9 jasonc

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:59 PM

I e-mailed them and this is what they had to say about happy hour: "Our Happy Hour specials include half-price house wine and beer, as well as a special Happy Hour menu on which all items are discounted from their regular price."

edited to add: thanks for asking for me TSchaad!

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#10 Pat

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

I recommended this to my husband for a work dinner after a day-long meeting held around the corner. It seemed to work well for their group and my husband reports that they enjoyed the meal. I don't recall the other items ordered, but he had tuna tartare, which he quite liked, and the chili chicken, which wowed him a little less. I'm glad I saw this thread, since they tend to have difficulties finding dinner spots in this immediate area. (I sent them up to one of the Ray's for a previous meal.)

#11 Genevieve

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:16 PM

Non-Alcoholic Sweet San Antone (a remarkable $3 instead of $9 with Tequila) - fresh pineapple, sweet basil, lemon-lime soda, and kudos to them for serving my son an interesting non-alcoholic cocktail and not ripping us off. *Thank you*


This in and of itself will make me go try it. I'm always asking for non-alcoholic cocktails and so many places don't have anything.

#12 Genevieve

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

This in and of itself will make me go try it. I'm always asking for non-alcoholic cocktails and so many places don't have anything.


We definitely enjoyed it, although the drinks and first course were far more successful than the mains and dessert. We'll go there again.

I had two non-alcoholic cocktails, both $3 - the aforementioned San Antone, and the Maryland Blueberries (which also includes blueberry soda). The server was knowledgeable and helpful, and the drinks were delicious.

Our bread basket foccacia was very tasty (and warm), as was the olive oil w/pesto served with it gratis.
I had the house salad of local mixed greens with chevre, grilled pear, smoked red onions, and herb-cider vinaigrette. Nice greens, delicious cheese and pear, tasty dressing. My husband had the special of curried carrot soup with mussels, and loved it -- 3 mussels, delicious soup that he sopped up every drop of with the bread.

Mains: my crabcakes were far too much filler, very little lump (some shredded crab). Tasted more of bread than crab, and I definitely would not order it again. The garlic fries were fine, and the English pea and roasted corn succotash was nice and not overcooked (though heavier on the creamy sauce than I expect from succotash). My husband had the duck breast with tea-poached pear and ginger glaze, and liked it except that it was rarer than he likes (he took the chef's recommendation as conveyed by the server, 'medium rare', but found -- as I often do with medium rare for beef -- that it was much closer to rare).

For dessert, we shared the black sesame pear tea cake with candied ginger and coconut gelato. We found the cake unusual and tasty but overly dry (a moist sauce would have been good, especially if it soaked in it a bit -- the gelato didn't moisten it sufficiently), and the gelato full of coconut flavor (and visible shreds of coconut, which I like) but full of ice crystals rather than creamy.

Service was friendly and efficient (though the shape of the water pitchers led to several ice spills). The space is nice, and open for lunch (for those talking about places open for lunch in Clarendon).
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#13 FunnyJohn

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:25 AM

Living Social Has a deal -- $39 for a three course meal for two (one app, two entrees, two desserts) -- for Leek and some other deals too.


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#14 FunnyJohn

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 01:25 PM

Went to Leek last night to cash in the Living Social Coupon I purchased.  First on a positive note -- the food here is very good.  My wife started with the shortribs app and I had leek and fennel soup which featured morsels of lobster in a very tast broth.  The shortribs were prepared perfectly and were beefy and flavorful.  For our mains, she had the strip steak. She forgot to mention that she wanted it rare, but it came out pretty much that way and was just great.  I had"falafel crusted" salmon in some kind of garbanzo based sauce, also perfectly prepared.

 

Now the negative: they completely altered the Living Social deal I thought I had bought.  The deal as advertised made no mention of being limited in what could be selected from the menu, but when we got there and presented the coupon, we were told that for our apps we could select from a soup or a salad, and for the mains we were limited to the chicken, salmon or tofu entrees.  Now they did give us an app each which was better than advertised, but the limitation on the entrees was a significant departure from the deal as promised.  When I raised this with out waiter, and asked to speak with a manager, the waiter came back and said we could get any entree and just pay the difference, ditto for the apps.  Did anyone else encounter this and what do you think should be done when a Living Social or Groupon deal is altered after the fact?

 

All-in-all, we were satisfied with the way things turned out, and I would definitely give Leek another chance -- they need some business -- only a few tables were occupied on Saturday night and it's a big place


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#15 daveo

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 08:58 AM

On a stroll last night I was astonished to see Leek completely empty at 8PM.  Not a customer.  Zero diners.   Depressing.   Clarendon, down the road was packed.  Rustico in Ballston/ a half block to the West...BUSY   Restaurants in Ballston busy.   

 

Leek.  Nobody.  not a good sign.



#16 DonRocks

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:30 AM

On a stroll last night I was astonished to see Leek completely empty at 8PM.  Not a customer.  Zero diners.   Depressing.   Clarendon, down the road was packed.  Rustico in Ballston/ a half block to the West...BUSY   Restaurants in Ballston busy.   

 

Leek.  Nobody.  not a good sign.

 

Leek is clearly designed to do some lunch business, but the way they're set up, it's pretty obvious they were banking on some dinner crowds also. It's a tough neighborhood for dinners, being off a major artery.


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#17 dcs

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:42 PM

Leek is clearly designed to do some lunch business, but the way they're set up, it's pretty obvious they were banking on some dinner crowds also. It's a tough neighborhood for dinners, being off a major artery.

 

Tough neighborhood indeed.  ARLnow.com reporting on the dreaded "closed for renovations."  The Open Table link on their website no longer works.



#18 DonRocks

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:51 PM

Tough neighborhood indeed.  ARLnow.com reporting on the dreaded "closed for renovations."  The Open Table link on their website no longer works.

 

Wow. A one-year-old restaurant closing “for renovations."

 

I’d appreciate it if someone from Leek could come on here and explain what the renovations are; until then, I’m assuming it’s kaput.


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#19 dcs

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:34 AM

Coming soon to this location:  Republic at Arlington per ARLnow.com.



#20 DonRocks

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:38 PM

Wow. A one-year-old restaurant closing “for renovations."

 

I’d appreciate it if someone from Leek could come on here and explain what the renovations are; until then, I’m assuming it’s kaput.

Coming soon to this location:  Republic at Arlington per ARLnow.com.

 

You kind of get sick of the deception after awhile, you know?

 

When I Tweeted ‘Take the chef seriously because of opening Sweetwater Tavern,’ I’m not referring to any award-winning cuisine coming our way; I’m referring to business acumen, and the ability to deal with high volume.


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