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Found 9 results

  1. Annnnd... The New Bridge has closed and re-re-opened as "Denim and Pearls", a nominally Italian restaurant. The New Bridge team is out (save for the building owner) and Chef John Payne is in. We stopped by for lunch on Monday, and see very little reason to return, sadly. DnP is not ready for prime time. We ordered fairly simply and were seated to the back of the sparsely populated dining room. Our group ordered a "housemade mozzarella" salad with heriloom tomatoes, basil and balsamic to start, two meatball subs, pasta with meatballs and fettuccine alfredo with flank steak. Our server took our order, brought us drinks, and we waited. And waited. And waited. At the twenty minute mark (for a salad, mind you) we asked our server if the salad would be forthcoming. At this point the lunch could have been rescued by a sympathetic word or an update - basically any interaction. However our server returned about ten minutes later with our full order. One of our group pointed out that we had asked for the salad to start, and was given a shrug in response. That aside, the mains were pretty solid, save the fettuccine. Meatball subs were a generous portion of pretty light meatballs in a bright tomato sauce, and the spaghetti and meatballs were basically the same, sans bread. Nothing groundbreaking, but acceptable. The fettuccine came topped with three slices of flank steak, cooked far beyond the requested medium rare. The alfredo sauce was fine, but the plate had a coating of balsamic vinegar around the rim and under the sauce. I now know why you rarely see alfredo sauce combined with a heavy dose of balsamic vinegar. Blech. The dish was a total failure. Between the overcooked steak, long wait and subpar fettuccine I don't see much reason to return until we hear that the ship has been righted, or this location has yet another iteration. Cafe Torino provides a reliable, if atmosphere-less option for Italian-American cuisine in Warrenton.
  2. I posted a review in Intrepid Traveler, but the Dining Guide includes Fauquier County, so here is another observation. In a few words, this is the best Cuban restaurant within 50 miles of Washington DC. Setting aside the noisy bar area and the slow service, this quaint little gem is decorated in a nice Cuban/Spanish style, and somewhat hidden in a large strip mall on the eastern edge of Warrenton. The food is very good, the prices are reasonable and the mojitos are great. I enjoyed a great tapas sampler tonight and I'm going back tomorrow for a Cubano sandwich. Tonight I had the pulpo (octopus) a la Gallega, spicy mussel tapa, scallops in paprika and lechon (pork) asado, all of which were spot on. I accompanied these dishes with a couple of mojitos, straight up originals instead of the many variations on the menu. I'll say that the octopus -- in a garlic-oil sauce with perfectly cooked potatoes -- was superb. The scallops in paprika were perfect, fresh and moist on the inside and nicely crisp on the outside. The lechon was the best pork dish I can remember enjoying in a long while, nicely specked with fresh chopped onions and fresh parsley. And the spicy mussels were buried under a spicy tomato sauce that begged to be sopped up with all the bread in sight. And speaking of bread, before all the tapas arrived there was bread on the table with an interesting dipping sauce of oil, lemon, garlic and grated cheese, so there wasn't a lot of leftover bread! And these four dishes, with two mojitos for me and two glasses of wine for Lady Kibbee, along with tax and generous tip, added up to a mere $80. I'll admit my judgment may be a bit blurred by a pair of mojitos, but I have been searching the DC metropolitan area for good Cuban fare for years. If I bite into a decent Cubano sandwich there tomorrow, I will sing the praises of this place high and low, near and far. Please add this jewel to the Fauquier County list in the Dining Guide, and count on multiple additional visits from Kibbee Nayee in the future. UPDATE -- Returned today for the Cubano sandwich, and it was very good. I can't truly say it was better than any Cubano in the DC area -- there was one at Acadiana as a special that was about as good, but it trounces anything I've tried at Cuba Libre or Fast Gourmet, for example. The bread was perfectly pressed, and the ham and Swiss cheese inside were very nicely warm, balanced against the briny crunch of the pickle. The pork looked like the pieces of pork that otherwise ends up as lechon asado, but this was a darned good sandwich. I swapped the side of fries for the plantains, and I'm glad I did. Crisply sweet on the outside and almost creamy on the inside, they were very good. I declare this restaurant the best Cuban restaurant in our extended area, and despite the trek, it's a heck of a lot closer than Miami.
  3. Same chef and bar manager though. But for the fact that the last guy forgot to renew the liquor license the place might have stayed open continuously, but they had to re-apply and used the time waiting for the new liquor license to spruce the place up a bit. I believe Mr. Moliere always owned the building and was heavily invested as a backer of the former "owner", to the extent that he controlled the situation and had the power to boot the guy.
  4. Lady Kibbee and I dined at Claire's at the Depot in Warrenton this evening, and it was absolutely excellent. It reminded us of a really good Old Town Alexandria restaurant, which is coincidental because Executive Chef and Owner Claire Lamborne is from Alexandria. She purchased this beautiful little spot in 2004 at the old train station, and I am told it only recently reopened after a renovation to the bar area. It is simply a beautiful dining destination. Lady Kibbee began with the Southwestern Caesar and followed with the seared Ahi Tuna, accompanied by glasses of Naked Mountain chardonnay. Both dishes were extremely well executed from either local ingredients or a certified catch. The details, down to the spiciness in the house made croutons on the salad, were perfect. I enjoyed two off the menu specials -- I had my eye on the Depot Mixed Grill on the menu, but when I heard the specials, I changed my mind -- the Mushroom Soup and the Cowboy Rib-eye. The Mushroom Soup was outstanding, and in retrospect, I wish I had ordered sherry to accompany it. It was creamy and had lots of fresh, local mushroom flavor, and even a bit of crunch from some fresh aromatics. The Cowboy Rib-eye was 16 oz. of some of the best and most mouth-watering beef I have ever enjoyed, and again, it was locally sourced and cooked to a perfect medium rare. The accompanying mushroom sauce was also from the locally sourced mushrooms that were in the soup, and this dish was just mouth-watering. Start to finish, this is one of the better meals I've enjoyed in a long time. Service was an A+. Total bill with drinks, tax, and a generous tip was $120 (pre-tax total was about $89). And I believe it's worth a detour.
  5. Ben & Mary's Steakhouse U.S. Rt. 17, southbound side, 1.5 mi north of RT 211intersection/downtown Warrenton, VA 540-347-4100 Home of the "Fabulous Filet Mignon" Where to go after a long day of hiking in the mountains and hanging out by the swimming holes and waterfalls on White Oak Canyon? Pack a decent shirt and pair of pants and let the traffick on I-66 subside at Ben and Mary's, about 2/3 of the way from Skyline Drive to Mt. Pleasant We had always taken 66 to 29 (to 211 to Sperryville...) if we wanted to intersect the Blue Ridge further south than Front Royal the traffic is so screwed that we went the "long way" last time, heading south on U.S. 17, and were rewarded with a savings of many minutes and a glimpse (worth remembering if you're going to the Inn at Little Washington, too) of a homey-looking steakhouse just north of downtown Warrenton. The sad truth is that too many of these charming little spots turn out reprehensible food but Ben and Mary's is exactly the kind of place you're looking for when you decide to blow off chain dining for a little uncertainty and delight. Pretty good steaks ($13-25 with 2 sides) surprisingly excellent shrimp, delivered fresh every Friday night, wonderful staff and -- despite the paucity of what might be called "decor" -- an indisputable charm. In addition to the steaks, the menu strikes several southern notes that we look forward to exploring, including honey fried chicken and fried oysters (I'll bet their iced tea is good, too -- the tables are set with iced tea spoons); and a selection of sandwiches for a more casual meal. This ain't Ray's or Charlie Palmers, and the wines come from a jug. But Ben and Mary's makes a decent martini (although the place is so Southern that I almost felt guilty drinking gin on a Sunday) and by the time it arrived, our waitress had us feeling as though we'd been regulars almost as long she's been working there: 29 years. All in all, a nice little place to unwind after a long day in the woods.
  6. Manor House at Poplar Springs is the website for a very real enigma. I've never heard of it yet the website looks absolutely fascinating. It's also nominated on WUSA 9 for the title of the Washington area's most romantic restaurant along with Citronelle and Obelisk among others. Has anyone been?
  7. You may also want to check out IronBridge Wine Company in Warrenton. The building itself is awesome, go downstairs and see what they have done with the basement! The food has been consistant each time I have visited. The menu seems to change weekly so that is a good sign! (Hey we welcome any kind of change in these here parts!) The wine selection and prices can't be beat. The main floor can get busy on Saturday nights though, so upstairs, the windows, or the basement is where I would sit! Good luck!
  8. Stopped in at Pearmund Cellars over the weekend. An easy side trip off I-66, close to Warrenton, as well as Rt. 15. A winding gravel road through the vineyard takes you to a good sized tasting room. $10 tasting fee gets you 12 samples. We enjoyed: 2011 Petit Manseng - A very drinkable white wine which would good well with a sunny afternoon outback on the deck with some cheese. They recommend it with "Not overly spicy Asian." 2011 Riesling - Sweet but with some backbone which stops it from being cloying. 2009 Celebration - Grapes from Kendall Farms, Sunnyside, WA. A blend of Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay. We found this to be quite excellent. I'm interested to see how we feel about it when we crack open a bottle. 2010 Late Harvest Petit Manseng - A sweet dessert wine. But very solid. I did not like any of their red wines...the 2009 Ameritage was...ok. Also picked up a bottle of local honey. Overall it was a pleasent way to kill an hour on our way home to DC. If you are in the Warrenton area then worth checking out.
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