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  1. Sunday evening found us at the Rail Stop Restaurant in The Plains, following a tasting at Chrysalis Vineyards and a stroll through Middleburg. Lacking a reservation, we were seated in the less formal, but cozy, front room. I was a little concerned about how dinner would go, as our dining companions were my SO’s parents who were visiting and previous attempts to impress/please had been less than successful (how could they not like Ray’s?!), Well, it turned out to be a very good meal, even if the service was on the slow side and a bit scattered. We started with a few shared appetizers: A special of seared tuna on a soba noodle salad – the piece of tuna was smallish, but flavorful. The noodles were a bit too cold – room temp would have been better – but fresh and tender. Also, Duck spring rolls with a raspberry sauce – the wrapper was more egg roll than spring roll but the shredded duck filling was tender and full of flavor. The mains were a hit (except for one but that was due to a lack of attention paid to the description) and 3 of the 4 were fish. I had the halibut served with a mushroom risotto and asparagus. This had to have been some of the most perfectly cooked fish I’ve had in a long time. It came out piping hot, moist, and delicious. The same could be said for the grilled salmon, served on a bed of vegetables, and the mackerel fillet special, served over a cioppino that included trout and a few other seafood treats. Somebody in that kitchen really knows how to cook fish! The only dish that left someone disappointed was another special – smoked chicken and fettucine (both the chicken smoked, and pasta made, in-house) with vegetables and garlic oil. The recipient had failed to note the garlic oil in the description and was expecting a more traditional sauce. The bite I had was very good – the chicken had a great flavor and wasn’t the least bit dry and the pasta was fantastic. We wrapped things up with the homemade mixed berry tart and, MM-MM-MM, they were good! Hot and topped with a crispy crumble, the blueberries were huge and sweet and the strawberries weren’t bad either. The only quibble was that there was a very long pause between being seated and ordering drinks and again between the apps and the entrees. I didn’t mind but the men in the party were beginning to get restless My only other visit was for lunch a couple years ago, but I do remember the chili was very good and I had the added excitement of a Robert Duvall sighting. He sat at the table in front of mine and I had a hard time trying not to stare too much!
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