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genericeric

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About genericeric

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    Ashburn, VA

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  1. Visited last night as part of a corporate private party. I'm sure there are a number of spaces/configurations for private events - we were seated in the front room upstairs, which was very comfortable for 15 or so guests. Service was fantastic as always and the food was a unanimous hit - some dishes I hadn't seen on the menu before (though I hadn't visited in some time). I wasn't part of the planning process so unsure what options or prices were available. The two wines for the evening were a Sancerre that carried us through the first 2/3 of the menu, followed by a french red but I didn't catch the specific type - that being said, the full bar and wine list were available. A quick rundown from memory as there was no printed menu: Foie Gras amuse Coconut ice cream with caviar Oysters with cream and spicy granita English Muffin with clotted cream and orange marmalade. This was the highlight for me - yes, the bread course. Lychee Salad Squash blossom rangoon. This was the low for me (but was still pretty good). It was salty and fried, but beyond that I wouldn't have been able to tell you it was a squash blossom or contained crab Honey fried chicken Rigatoni alla vodka with calamari - just a fantastic pasta dish Linguini with shrimp and garlic Wedge salad Tomahawk steak (picture below) - impressive presentation. Came with roasted garlic, also separate pans of roasted mushrooms and potato straws. The steak was fantastic - the mushrooms were very balsamic and cold - seemed better suited to a salad than a steak accompaniment, particularly the temperature Cinnamon toast crunch ice cream topped with crushed cereal ("palate cleanser") Chocolate pecan pie topped with chocolate mouse and vanilla ice cream They honestly could've stopped after the chicken and everyone would've been satisfied, but the servers were good sports about making to-go boxes. Also noted that one member of the group had a severe shellfish allergy that the restaurant handled very well.
  2. genericeric

    Dining in Leesburg

    I assume One Loudoun is next, which would be more interesting assuming they meet the state law criteria.
  3. According to TheBurn.com, Bar Ahso is coming to the new Chefscape Food Hall/Incubator/Commercial Kitchen/Event space at the Village at Leesburg. I really want Ahso to be successful, and want Bar Ahso to be as well, which is significantly closer to where I live. That being said, this development seems to be a tough place to thrive in, and this mixed concept doesn't inspire too much confidence.
  4. genericeric

    Dining near Dulles Airport

    I believe the restaurant that is geographically closest to Dulles without actually being on airport grounds is the Cracker Barrel just off 28, and if you are aiming for brunch, you could do a lot worse.
  5. Was devastated in early August when we came here and found they had closed Le Verdure, the vegetarian-themed restaurant. Ok, devastated may be dramatic, let's go with deeply disappointed. While they were under construction on its replacement, the wife and I had a delightful meal at Manzo - splitting a cheese plate and a fabulous sweet corn ravioli. Popped in yesterday and the new Il Pastaio has opened. This may now be the largest counter space in Eataly - significantly larger than Le Verdure. The opening menu has 12ish pasta bowls. I had the Casarecce with tomato, almond, basil, pecorino romano (15$). While not really what I was expecting (was more of a tomato sauce and less fresh tomatoes), it was a solid dish of pasta. But that's all it was - no bread, no grated cheese, etc. I got the sense that this counter may have just opened this week, so may take some time to iron out the kinks. All-in-all, I enjoyed Manzo more - a more complete, composed dish. Side note - $7 for a Peroni in Manhattan isn't bad. I had a second, doubting I could find another at that price nearby.
  6. genericeric

    Conch Fritters

    These were fine, definitely not in the 'really good' category.
  7. I would go back for the biscuits. After we sat down at the bar and the biscuits came, I was relieved that they were so shamelessly an attempt at Red Lobster's biscuits, but much improved. Lighter, softer, but nailed the taste exactly. And that is the last nice thing to say about the food at this restaurant. Well, the conch fritters were fine. The hush puppies seem to have changed since Tom S.'s initial review and were straightforward, dense balls of fried cornmeal, dusted in too much old bay, served with honey butter that tasted like they ran out of honey. It was the first of several dishes that tasted of murky salt, and not much more. The Shrimp and Grits followed suit, with a brown sauce that tasted only of salt, and grits so loose they dissolved into the dark goo. Sweet Tea chicken brought two pieces of fried chicken (menu and plate didn't match) over a brownish puree of what I later learned were peas. No brightness whatsoever from the peas, the chicken was rubbery underneath the over-salted skin. I have a feeling this is a place that could be decent if you know what to order and stick to it. Raw seafood, some of the fried options. The bartender took my plate of chicken away with only two bites missing, and asked sadly "I trust everything was ok?" while looking down. It was - we had a fun and lucky night at the casino without a toddler. It just would have been better if we'd eaten somewhere else. --- Conch Fritters (DonRocks)
  8. While I've never seen Wildfire "busy" in the dining room, they seem to do a decent happy hour with local office workers. It may be a little more approachable than the Palm or Capital Grille. I just go in on a monthly basis when I'm next door at the Grooming Lounge (and I don't seem to be alone there).
  9. We did confine ourselves to the wines by the glass. It felt to me that the whites (it was hot as hell the day we were there and a red didn't sound good) trended too sweet for my tastes. The flight is currently riesling, which totally makes sense in August in New York, but again, just not as much to my liking. I'm not saying its a bad list, but for a guy that likes a lot of oak in a chardonnay, it wasn't the list for me. The waiter we had at Aldo Sohm was condescending and was having a hard time reading the table. I don't mind waiters gently restating a french term if I've mispronounced it, but doing it three times in front of a group becomes tiresome. Requests for recommendations were met with eye rolls, etc. Perhaps why we had a hard time finding wines we enjoyed. The decor felt dated to me but that is entirely personal preference. Note - while the service at LB wasn't the style I enjoy (a little too formal for my liking), it was entirely professional. Aldo Sohm was not.
  10. The wife and I stopped in on Tuesday night for a pre-theatre snack in the lounge, and had one of the better bites of food I've had in the last several years. Seafood Causa ($26) "Lobster, Crab, Shrimp; Potato Mousseline, Aji Amarillo Pepper, Avocado, Lime". This was seafood and avocado topped with the potato mousseline and then a few of the spicy peppers. A moderate spice permeated throughout. The result was the best 'potato soup' I've ever had - and certainly the first containing avocado. The lobster cappuccino ($17) was good, but not nearly as inventive (or satisfying) as the Causa. Cocktails were well made. Service was a bit cool and detached, particularly for sitting at the bar. Side note, the night before we'd spent a good amount of time at Aldo Sohm next door, not realizing the wine bar is operated by some of the same team. Honestly we didn't care for the wines offered or the shareable plates. Or the service. Or the atmosphere. Maybe it was us?
  11. Thursday afternoon at 5:30 and the only portions of this that were open were the self service bar, the ice cream counter, and Graffiato. That is a massive amount of square footage to be closed within their posted hours of operation. This was 7/5, so maybe they were expecting it to be slow so they reduced capacity, but it didn't seem to bode well for long term prospects. Normally after I get my hair did at the Grooming Lounge, I head next door to Wildfire for a Manhattan. Consistency lately has been an issue, but more irking, they charge $17.00 for a cocktail that is served in what feels like a plastic martini glass. So the wife and I head to the 'self serve' section of Graffiato - order at the bar, someone brings you the food. Don't expect to get napkins, silverware, or a clean table. Two drinks were ok and the happy hour prices were decent. Two apps - french fries and meatballs - were oddly flavorless. Even my wife, who typically enjoys a bland meal, wondered how you could have a marinara with so little flavor. I can't imagine Isabella's press is helping, but he's not doing himself any favors with the bland food and shuttered concepts.
  12. This place seemed doomed from the start (Aggio, not Family Meal). The last meal I had at Family Meal was depressing, and the canvas sign/banner hung on the exterior saying Aggio while the building itself still said Family Meal didn't leave me confident. I'm amazed it stayed open this long as I never saw anyone in there. While I think the location became a problem as the developer shifted parking from lots to garages and further away from the restaurant, there is a sad blueprint for successful restaurants at OL - Uncle Julio's, Matchbox, Eddie Merlot's - all larger chains. I'm amazed at how busy Uncle Julio's is considering the prices they charge for sub-par food and bad margaritas.
  13. If you're like me, and find that fitting your 6'3" frame into a standard airline seat is challenging, it sounds like AA is no longer going to be an option, reducing their seat pitch and removing all IFE. At some point, you may as well be on Spirit. Dec 2, 2017 - "American Airlines Just Reduced the Amount of Legroom on Its Newest Planes (Yes, in First Class Too)" by Chris Matyszczyk on inc.com Nov 30, 2017 - "No, American Airlines' 30-Inch Pitch and Bring-Your-Own Entertainment Isn't All Passengers Need" by Gary Leff on viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com
  14. The swath America West's legacy has cut through the airline industry is quite remarkable. US Airways was never leading the pack in terms of customer service and satisfaction, but it wasn't a bad airline to fly on pre-merger. Then came the years of charging customers for a glass of soda on board their aircraft, and the much more serious charges of under-fueling aircraft to save weight and pushing pilots to fly in weather some considered unsafe. 15 years ago, American Airlines came through 9/11 in better shape than many - acquiring TWA in the process and was generally held in decent regard - particularly as Delta and Northwest experienced the pains of their merger. But, economics caught up, and the corporate culture that started at American West and eventually gutted US Air moved in - not surprising given that CEO Doug Parker has been at the helm of the shifting company since the America West days, and now leads AA's parent holding company. My wife was bumped from an American flight last week. I'll spare the details, but it was a situation caused by human mismanagement, and she is clearly entitled to compensation according to current DOT rules. Having said that, it was a minimal inconvenience and she wasn't inclined to make a big deal out of it. But there was no apology. No attempt by the airline to make amends. Only a manager rudely telling the gate agent to give no vouchers or compensation, and then walking away without ever acknowledging the 20 or so jilted passengers stuck at the airport. American's response is to say that she (and I guess the 20 other passengers?) were denied boarding because they were late to the gate. She was not, nor were the others - the company simply fabricated an excuse that is difficult to disprove to get out of paying the DOT mandated money. So now an appeal is filed with the DOT. Even if the appeal is denied, it would have been a lot cheaper for a low level manager to say "I'm Sorry" at the gate.
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