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The Goodstone Inn, Chef John Leonard Replaces William Walden on Snake Hill Road in Middleburg


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This summer Tom Sietsema reviewed this place and tore it to shreds. Since then they've replaced the old chef with a much younger and more innovative one. His name is Tarver King and he comes from The Woodlands resort and Inn, in Summerville, SC. Looks like he's doing some interesting stuff. The place raises it's own cows, chickens, and the majority of the produce... (including sorrel and elderflowers that grow wild on the property!)
there is a blog of the food and property started...
www.goodstoneblog.blogspot.com

His stuff looks pretty modern but completely local... check it out for an interesting read!
their regular website..
www.goodstone.com
the place is gorgeous and only about an hour outside of the city!

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His stuff looks pretty modern but completely local... check it out for an interesting read!

My take on the four-course menu is that it looks interesting, but it had better be good at $79 prix fixe (which presumably includes amuses and mignardises). The prices can be broken down as follows:

App: $20

Salad: $15

Main: $34

Dessert: $10

Needless to say, that isn't cheap, and neither is their wine list, although it is workable. At these prices, my attitude would be: It had better be every bit as good as what Barry Koslow would produce at Mendocino Grill; otherwise, I'm going to leave disappointed and potentially furious at dropping $125-150 per person.

That said, who knows? And I wish Chef King good luck in his new position.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Has anyone been by here yet? I'm making a reservation for mid-may, and honestly, I can't wait to go. If you've taken a look at his blog (http://goodstoneblog.blogspot.com/) You can see that there's some pretty insane food being put out there, and seems to follow the same edge cuisine tenants demonstrated at places like Alinea or L20 in Chicago, and WD-50 in NYC, all with the same sensibility of locality and sustainability one would expect to find at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chez Panisse, or Manresa. I'm stoked about it and if anyone's been since chef King took over I'd love to hear about it.

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Has anyone been by here yet? I'm making a reservation for mid-may, and honestly, I can't wait to go. If you've taken a look at his blog (http://goodstoneblog.blogspot.com/) You can see that there's some pretty insane food being put out there, and seems to follow the same edge cuisine tenants demonstrated at places like Alinea or L20 in Chicago, and WD-50 in NYC, all with the same sensibility of locality and sustainability one would expect to find at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chez Panisse, or Manresa. I'm stoked about it and if anyone's been since chef King took over I'd love to hear about it.

Paging Mr. Rojas ...

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(pops head out from beneath the mound of paperwork littering his desk)

I can't share all my intel at this particular moment. But I'm fairly confident DCcook will not be disappointed.

Meanwhile, Goodstone automatically tips out at 18 percent. So don't freak when the bill arrives pre-padded.

(burrows back into the restaurant-centric rubble of his life)

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But he'd better hurry: A credible source tells me that the restaurant at Goodstone Inn will soon be turning into a steakhouse. :rolleyes:

Tarver the chef is one of my greatest friends... the owner is up in arms about what exactly he's going to do.. no real decision has been made yet.

I heard the same thing and jumped on my only chance to "stage" and dine there.

This meal was easily one of the best I have ever had in my entire life. If Tarver leaves this area because of a concept change. It would be a huge shame to this area.

I know I'm friends with the chef but the meal I had last sunday..

20 times better than the meal I had at the French Laundry 4 years ago... better than the meal I had at 3 michelin starred Vissani in Baschi Italy. absolutely true respect to the flavors of the original ingredients.. before the dinner I was helping the cooks pull the vegetables out of the ground for service, it really doesn't get any fresher than this..

do yourself a favor and don't think about the wallet for one day... make a reservation at the 28 seat dining room at the goodstone and have one of the best meals you will ever have anywhere in the country... do it soon before he's gone because I can honestly say you'll regret it if you don't.

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20 times better than the meal I had at the French Laundry 4 years ago... better than the meal I had at 3 michelin starred Vissani in Baschi Italy.

With that kind of endorsement, I'd damn well like to see some reports coming in from other DR members very soon. I see the price is now $94 (+$65 for wine). The food does look gorgeous, though: http://goodstoneblog.blogspot.com/

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With that kind of endorsement, I'd damn well like to see some reports coming in from other DR members very soon. I see the price is now $94 (+$65 for wine). The food does look gorgeous, though: http://goodstoneblog.blogspot.com/

I was thinking about it, but apparently singles aren't allowed? At least OpenTable doesn't seem to want to give "1 Person" a table. "2 People" can get one, though...is this a known OpenTable bug?

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I was thinking about it, but apparently singles aren't allowed? At least OpenTable doesn't seem to want to give "1 Person" a table. "2 People" can get one, though...is this a known OpenTable bug?

I suspect you can book for two on OpenTable, then call the restaurant the day before (not the day of, please!) and explain that you wanted to make it for one; I've heard of this issue before at other restaurants using OpenTable. For example, one Very Well Known restaurant only has fourtops, and on OpenTable, you cannot make a reservation for two - the solution is to book for four, then call the restaurant and explain - they'll happily adjust it downward.

Better still, maybe just call the restaurant directly?

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Yet again, I fell into another BRF-day (belated reservation failure) birthday situation. I called around desperately this week, aiming to secure a Saturday dinner spot for a friend's natal anniversary. The requirement was “a bucolic drive destination...and a venue featuring locally-grown or raised ingredients would be nice.” Right up my sustainable alley, so I thought.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm was completely booked all weekend. When I asked the reservationist where he would aim if in my shoes, he suggested Goodstone Inn because “they do a good job there”. It was unclear whether or not he knew Chef Tarver had left, and with him, much of the sustainability focus. Either way, Ashby Inn was already booked, so I figured I'd give Goodstone a try. For one, the panoramic view exceeded the atmosphere requirement. And two, I figured I could take one for the team and provide recent intel for this restaurant thread that has not been updated since September.

In a nutshell, this is the L'Auberge Chez Francois menu experience in a smaller setting. The same prix fixe with upgrade and a la carte options menu structure; the same crunchy garlic loaf with cottage cheese and chives; the same sorbet palate cleanser before the main course; the same gratis side dish of shared vegetable; the same chocolate, raspberry, or Grand Marnier selections of soufflé. The echo of intention is no surprise since Chef William Walden spent 9 years at L’Auberge.

The meal began with a medley of mushrooms, including morels. Cutely plated, deeply earthy and rich with Madeira sauce, a forest-on-a-plate reflection to complement the lush treetop views. Service stayed sharp and attentive throughout the meal with a keenly professional and wine-savvy server.

Goat Cheese and Beet (trite, I know) salad followed. Gorgeous, fresh greens and a variety of juicy sprouts, a joy to enjoy. The pickled beet was one of the best in recent memory. However, it forced me to label this as “The Highlander Salad”. Could there be only one? Just one half of a tiny beet of bliss? This seemed like such a woeful tease, I asked the server if it was a portioning error. She noted it was the intended salad design, and agreed the purple shock of color and flavor was worthy of rave review.

The main course included softshell crab, stuffed with more crab, prepared in almond meal, over asparagus. I was pretty stuffed myself at this point, and this was the least successful dish for me. The nut meal appeared and tasted over the edge of too dark from the frying pan, the asparagus sadly oversteamed. The inside of the soft shells were cooked to perfection, a juicy, umami-rich forkful, but overall the dish was a miss for me. The gratis steamed spinach brought nutmeg and rich, leafy harmony to the party, a welcomed addition.

Like nitrous cartridges, both the Grand Marnier and raspberry soufflés were an inhalable hit. Light, airy, not even edging into the realm of too sweet. An ideal ending.

However, on the minus-tipping-into-ghastly shocker of the night, in barked the coffee. I’ve had gas station street sweepings more flavorful than this beverage, what were they thinking? I noticed an industrial strength brew machine towards the back hallway. This machine (and thrice-ground broom straws) must be to blame. I was stunned into wondering why the Inn’s breakfast crowd had not defenestrated their chairs through the handsome glass panes in protest. It was that bad, completely out of alignment with the rest of the meal.

Mini-French presses and an Arabica upgrade would be an ideal adjustment for this venue to pursue. Immediately.

Along with simple syrup so that tea-sweetening guests don't clang-glang their spoons throughout the meal in the tiny, but well-spaced, gorgeous, and airy dining room. That repeated noise almost drove me to my own defenestration.

In summary, I chose well...for tonight. The drive, the epic views, and the adventure of trying this venue made the meal special on most fronts. If you order judiciously, and shy away from too much alcohol, the prix fixe options won’t break the bank too mightily. Dine early, so as to enjoy the full view in the full sun.

And BYOC (bring your own coffee).

Snapshots are from a walk of the grounds, not from inside the restaurant.

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We are thinking about staying at the Goodstone Inn in April. Accomodations and food? Thanks.

The Goodstone is great. We were there relatively recently, and rented the Manor House for a long weekend. Can't speak to rooms in general, but the manor house was spectacular. Since Chef King had left, the food is somewhat less ambitious, but still good. The setting is fantastic, and the wine list is also solid. I would definitely stay there over any other spots in Middleburg, but might try Ashby Inn for dinner since Chef King is there now (and it's not too far away, I don't think).

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We stayed here this weekend, having purchased a "deal" from one of the endless 'deal of the day' sites. For the price we paid, we thought the Inn was fantastic. Beautiful setting and rooms, gracious service. Personally, I wouldn't be okay with paying full price, especially what we saw listed as peak season rates. We had a lovely dinner on Sunday night. Luckily for us Sun-Thurs they offer a 3 course menu for $39 (regular menu entree items alone exceed this cost, $55 for lamb?? .. I digress)... Our starters were each very, very good. I had a duo of salmon - one cured, one smoked with lovely accompaniments. My +1 had a mussel and crab bisque.. perfect creaminess, plenty of crab (though, now that I think about it, I don't recall the mussels.. hm). My entree was the run away hit of the night - braised short ribs. Melt in your mouth served over a perfect amount of creamy potatoes. Delicious. I was too in love with my dinner to even try my husband's salmon but he greatly enjoyed it. We were too full to eat much dessert, but the presentation was nice. Wine list: also pricey compared to similar lists in DC. Service: good, but you could tell the staff was fatigued at the end of the long weekend.

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This is one of the great dining adventures within hundreds of miles of the D C. area.  A storybook setting reminiscent of the Birchrunville Store Cafe west of Philly, miles and miles of fantasy like heavily wooded, stone walled countryside before finding the Inn which must have once been a horse stable straight out of the 19th Century or earlier.  With all due respect to the first six years of this thread if we had found the Goodstone Inn before the Ashby Inn we would have never gone further.  Truly idyllic especially tonight with a full moon softly shining through the forest.  I will honestly match the overall setting one on one with the Inn at Little Washington. Perhaps not quite the same sumptuous luxury as the Inn but character, flavor and a memory to match.  (I must note here that several of their rooms/suites are in the $500-750 range per night range.  Staying at the Goodstone is an expensive indulgence.)

For their small restaurant they also have corkage which is reasonable @$35 a bottle.  A la carte with first courses $10-20, main courses in the $30+ range, superb fruit pastry in a small cast iron skillet, a la mode, worth every penny of $12.50.  All four of us absolutely loved our dinner with the overall experience among the best anywhere on the East Coast.  The food?  Two and a half to three stars, several dishes worth a destination.  With corkage, tax, tip and full dinners we were about $125 per person.  Four course prix fixe was $85 or so-still well worth the "investment."

This is dining in another century, in another land.  Sincerely, a Great Escape.

And, on Monday night almost everyone of the 28 seats was full.  It has a following.

I raved about Clarity in another thread.  This is a Washington Irving countryside adventure to match.

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This is one of the great dining adventures within hundreds of miles of the D C. area.  A storybook setting reminiscent of the Birchrunville Store Cafe west of Philly, miles and miles of fantasy like heavily wooded, stone walled countryside before finding the Inn which must have once been a horse stable straight out of the 19th Century or earlier.  With all due respect to the first six years of this thread if we had found the Goodstone Inn before the Ashby Inn we would have never gone further.  Truly idyllic especially tonight with a full moon softly shining through the forest.  I will honestly match the overall setting one on one with the Inn at Little Washington. Perhaps not quite the same sumptuous luxury as the Inn but character, flavor and a memory to match.  (I must note here that several of their rooms/suites are in the $500-750 range per night range.  Staying at the Goodstone is an expensive indulgence.)

For their small restaurant they also have corkage which is reasonable @$35 a bottle.  A la carte with first courses $10-20, main courses in the $30+ range, superb fruit pastry in a small cast iron skillet, a la mode, worth every penny of $12.50.  All four of us absolutely loved our dinner with the overall experience among the best anywhere on the East Coast.  The food?  Two and a half to three stars, several dishes worth a destination.  With corkage, tax, tip and full dinners we were about $125 per person.  Four course prix fixe was $85 or so-still well worth the "investment."

This is dining in another century, in another land.  Sincerely, a Great Escape.

And, on Monday night almost everyone of the 28 seats was full.  It has a following.

I raved about Clarity in another thread.  This is a Washington Irving countryside adventure to match.

I've seen nothing about Chef John Leonard becoming the Chef, but he did in Jun, 2015. I also don't see how, within one single property, it's possible to promote someone from "Chef de Cuisine" to "Executive Chef." What's the difference? (This is not a criticism; I honestly I don't know.)

Goodstone Inn Chef Press Release 2015-06-04.pdf

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The press release includes comments from various publications that it is one of the most romantic inns in America.  Not only do I agree with this but with more than 30 years of heavy international travel I would feel comfortable putting it one on one with anywhere I have been in North America or Europe. We are fortunate to have this so close by.  In fact my wife and I talked about this last night:  if we had crossed an ocean we would have been overjoyed to find a similar inn and restaurant in the Cotswalds, Tuscany or outside of Aix.  We didn't have to cross an ocean:  we drove 30 minutes from Reston and found an experience worthy of crossing an ocean for.

The Goodstone Inn is special.

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My wife and I will be having dinner at the Goodstone Inn tomorrow (Friday) evening. Can anyone advise on the dress code? I planned on wearing a sport coat but not a tie. Will that suffice or should I plan to wear a tie? Thanks. 

You'll be fine.  I believe ties were invented by the devil to torture those of Eastern European descent, but perhaps that's just because I've got an 18' neck.  It was a bit warm in the restaurant last weekend, so I even skipped the sports coat.  By the way, the food was wonderful, no matter how you were dressed.  I had the Goodstone French Toast, Beet salad, and Guinea Hen.  Wife had the Scallops, Greens salad, and Dover Sole.  Paired it all with a Hardscrabble Chardonnay, which went wonderfully.

Enjoy your dinner.

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Funny to read my comments in the thread from before I was a local resident. Jonathan Leonard is now Chef at the Ashby Inn, and Jean Van Haute is the Executive Chef at Goodstone, coming by way of Bruges, Belgium. A number of staff from the Ashby have migrated over to the Goodstone, further reinforcing the rural hospitality switcheroo.

We hadn't been in for quite a while, so headed over for dinner on Saturday night. The new conservatory is a beautiful addition to the property and is quite "atmospheric" as JoeH might say. Tables were very well spaced across two levels, and staff were well versed in appropriate protocols for COVID - gloves, masks, etc etc.

Dry January is still in effect for us, so no wine. My overall impression of the wine list was that while large, it was skewed to recent vintages and fairly expensive compared to other lists in the area. That said, plenty of variety on offer and I surely would have a suitable bottle or two.

Appetizers included a cheese plate for my daughter, escargot for my son, foie gras terrine for my wife, and french onion soup for myself. My wife and I also split an order of escargot. All appetizers were enjoyed, but when is a foie gras terrine ever bad? The escargot could have used more salt - a recurring theme throughout the meal.

Entrees included Roast Chicken, Pheasant, beef tenderloin and turbot. The Roast chicken was a solid preparation - certainly the best between Middleburg and DC, at any rate. My daughter especially enjoyed the croquettes that came along with the bird. The pheasant was another winner, likely the most interesting dish, though the portion was pretty darn small. Turbot was beautifully presented and perfectly cooked, but desperately in need of salt. The lobster béarnaise sauce did a but to punch things up, but not enough. Even the dish's underpinnings of fingerling potatoes could have used additional seasoning.

Desserts were chocolate mousse and crème brulee. Nothing groundbreaking, though tasty. All in all a nice meal in a comfortable environment with excellent service. A bit more attention to detail wrt seasoning would have materially improved the meal. Not an overnight addition to the local rotation, but we will be back.

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