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Chef Geoff's, Geoff Tracy's Local American Chain in Several Area Locations

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It was Sunday night football last night at the Tysons Corner Chef Geoff's, with $3 domestic pints, wings, sliders, and duck corn dogs. Valet parking is $2.

This bar has a very different feel from when it was Colvin Run Tavern - the bartender wore a bright-orange mesh football jersey, and so did one of the patrons. There are definitely some regulars that come in, some of whom are in the restaurant industry.

I started with a pint of Bell's Amber Ale (a remarkable $3.00), and was tempted by the "Pizza Pies" portion of their menu, which says "we make our mozzarella fresh by hand daily." So to keep it simple, I ordered a Straight Up ($10.95) with Mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil, and EVOO (essentially a Margherita). This was a pretty good pizza, with the only mild weakness being the crust, and for the price, it's worth the money.

Moving on to my entree, :angry: I was going to order either the sliders or the duck corn dogs, but was talked into the regular old Chef Geoff Burger because both the bartender and a regular customer told me it was worth the upcharge (I didn't see anything about $5.95 Sunday-night burgers on the menu, but that's what they told me it cost). Well, it was a perfectly fine burger, ordered and cooked medium, topped with cheddar and bacon, and served with an ever-important ramekin of green chile "aioli" which is what really sets it apart (the ramekin of ketchup sat untouched). I ordered the housemade Old Bay potato chips instead of fries, and was unimpressed. A pint of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA was, again, a remarkable $3.00.

When I got the check, the burger showed up as $10.95, but the second beer was absent. I mentioned both mistakes to the bartender (although I'm still not convinced the burger is discounted on Sunday nights), and he said he'd fix it, but then he got really slammed, and I just decided to leave it as is (it was only two dollars, and I was in a hurry at that point).

The service and atmosphere were friendly and sports-bar-like, and both the pizza and the burger were good renditions of pub food, and good values for the money - doubly so because of the terrific beer specials.

I had a very pleasant bar meal at Chef Geoff's last night - dare I test the kitchen a bit more next time?

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I had a very pleasant bar meal at Chef Geoff's last night - dare I test the kitchen a bit more next time?

I was a tad dissapointed in the Roasted Garlic and Wild Mushroom Soup I had at Chef Geoff's Downtown two weeks ago for lunch. It was not bad, per se, but it was all roasted garlic and no wild mushroom in taste. It might benefit from a slight change in proportions better to balance the flavors.

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I like Chef Geoff's in Tysons Corner but it's not a place I'll frequent. It's crazy loud during the week due to the huge bar and the happy-hour 20-something crowd suit-and-tie crowd. Last time I was there in August or so, there was a verbal battle between a happy hour reveler and management. Nice. It becomes a little more pleasant after about 7:30-8, if I remember correctly. They have an extensive and impressive beer selection. The prices are reasonable for the area and for the quality of food. I like that the menu is seasonal, but c'mon Geoff, leave the house-made tater tots on the menu year-round. Those things are fantastic!!! They looked like what you remember from your youth, but they tasted like potato, were crunchy and were served with a delicious aioli that I could've eaten with a spoon. My last meal there was a roasted chicken that was perfectly cooked. No complaints there:-)

Honestly, the noise deters me the most. It makes the meal totally unpleasant for me to have to raise my (quiet) voice to converse with my table mates and have ask them to repeat themselves.

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Did anyone else get a Ten for Ten coupon in the mail for $10 off in celebration of 10 years in business? I have never given them my postal address, so I can only imagine they sent one to every house residence in the metro area. It is also available on their website.

Edited by dcs

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Did anyone else get a Ten for Ten coupon in the mail for $10 off in celebration of 10 years in business? I have never given them my postal address, so I can only imagine they sent one to every house in the metro area. It is also available on their website.

I think every household. I live in an apt. complex, never visited Chef Geoff's and still got one.

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Lobster Roll

chilled maine lobster, sauce louis, scallion, dill chips 19.95

Sonoran Fish Tacos

cabbage slaw, roasted corn salsa, crispy plantains 15.95

Which sounds more appetizing? I have to do a business lunch here and would like to try one of these as an appetizer.

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Which sounds more appetizing? I have to do a business lunch here and would like to try one of these as an appetizer.

In my "girlie girl" opinion, I'd pick the one that's less messy in terms of eating at a business meeting :)

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Which sounds more appetizing? I have to do a business lunch here and would like to try one of these as an appetizer.

Honestly, I can think of few things less appetizing than spending $20 at Chef Geoff's for a lobster roll -- unless it's spending $16 for an appetizer of fish tacos there. I've never had anything good there -- and those prices are ridiculous. (In fairness, I learned my lesson and haven't been there in at least two years, so i't always possible things have changed.) My advice would be to lower your expectations (i.e., don't come in with any -- then the best case scenario would be a pleasant surprise), or to pick a different spot for your lunch.

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I'm with Marty. Order a hamburger and pray for the best.

Agreed, though I think the burger is actually above average and rather enjoyable along with their thin, crispy fries, especially during happy hour when it is half-priced. That said, I would probably try to move the lunch.

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Honestly, I can think of few things less appetizing than spending $20 at Chef Geoff's for a lobster roll -- unless it's spending $16 for an appetizer of fish tacos there.

To be fair, those aren't actually appetizers. I would order them as appetizer because I'm interested in trying them and there's nothing listed as appetizers that seems appetizing to me. I was thinking about getting some linguine with clam and shrimp as my entree. No - I'm not paying for the meal so I don't mind the cost. And I'm in Tysons so the pickings are slim to none.

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I'm in Tysons so the pickings are slim to none.

How about Shamshiry, just five minutes away? Or Woo Lae Oak (which I've heard is designed for just such business lunches)?

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I ended up ordering both the fish tacos and the lobster roll. Both were edible but nothing exciting. The fish tacos were fish sticks topped with some cabbage in a very thick tortilla. Not much flavor. The lobster roll was meaty but didn't taste as fresh as the one I had at Passionfish. I also like the sauce better at Passionfish.

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I have to endorse the above comments as reflective of our experience today. Salmon tartare had no taste, mostly onion and a too large chop tossed with mayo and capers with no seasoning. Flavors had no time to macerate and the chunks were too large for a tartare - fried chips were nondescript. Flat iron steak was perfectly fine (not distinctive) but the server kindly warned us anything ordering anything other than medium rare would be a tough chew.

Accompanying fries were limpid and nondescript. The salmon entree was a large serving but totally average on a plate dominated by sliced new potatoes, a less-than single spear of asparagus and a single quartered baby beet the size of thimble. The much-touted olive oil chocolate cake was a disaster and the figs/dates were a gummy sweet mess. Coffee was pretty good.

The menu is extensive, not but not that imaginative, and quite pricey. I think one can do far better in Tysons. BTW, the parking situation is an annoyance. Either valet park for $2 + tip or dodge endless "reserved and restricted" signs in the lot and the garage - you pass countless rows of endless empty spaces with such dispiriting signs - until you are ready to give up and head to McDonalds. Chef Geoff should impress on the landlord the parking situation needs to be made far more hospitable and less frustrating to patrons.

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I have to endorse the above comments as reflective of our experience today. Salmon tartare had no taste, mostly onion and a too large chop tossed with mayo and capers with no seasoning. Flavors had no time to macerate and the chunks were too large for a tartare - fried chips were nondescript. Flat iron steak was perfectly fine (not distinctive) but the server kindly warned us anything ordering anything other than medium rare would be a tough chew.

Accompanying fries were limpid and nondescript. The salmon entree was a large serving but totally average on a plate dominated by sliced new potatoes, a less-than single spear of asparagus and a single quartered baby beet the size of thimble. The much-touted olive oil chocolate cake was a disaster and the figs/dates were a gummy sweet mess. Coffee was pretty good.

The menu is extensive, not but not that imaginative, and quite pricey. I think one can do far better in Tysons. BTW, the parking situation is an annoyance. Either valet park for $2 + tip or dodge endless "reserved and restricted" signs in the lot and the garage - you pass countless rows of endless empty spaces with such dispiriting signs - until you are ready to give up and head to McDonalds. Chef Geoff should impress on the landlord the parking situation needs to be made far more hospitable and less frustrating to patrons.

We also had a disappointing exprerience at Chef Geoff for lunch last week. Very mediocre food despite the huge menu. You mentioned in your post that one could do better in Tysons Corner. Do you have any recs?

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Impressions from Chef Geoff's Tyson's on 4/15:

The mussels and Korean chicken were excellent, flavorful and correctly cooked.

The pork chops were quite good, but were not cooked medium rare, as the server

suggested -- they were served medium, slightly pink in the center, as one would

expect for pork.

The kitchen needs to learn how to cook ribs. My "Kansas City" ribs were

definitely not Kansas City cut. Worse, they were undercooked, tough and rubbery. I

stopped eating after three bites from various locations in the half-rack. Only

the dessert donuts saved the day (evening).

Also, IMO, the wine list is overpriced for the level of the menu. Downtown's

wine list is both better priced and far, far more interesting. The Tyson's wine

list looks like they acquired a defunct restaurant's stock and have not added to

it.

The beer list does not provide enough information about the styles of the draft

offerings, and the bartenders don't recognize the term "Calvados," despite a

Busnel (spelled "Bushnell") printed on the Cognac/Brandy list.

The place has a really nice decor, and is mobbed for happy hour, but the table

service was inattentive, despite the dining room being only half full -- we were

unable to order a bottle of wine until after the appetizers had been finished.

Overall, despite the much better wine list downtown, we're unlikely to be

tempted to try the downtown location or Lia's.

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We ate at Lia's several years ago and were unimpressed with the food - sounded good, looked good, but was just sort of tasteless. Now I hear that Cesare Lanfranconi is the executive chef which leads me to wonder whether the food has improved. Has anyone tried Lia's recently?

I haven't tried Lia's recently (was closed the other week when I went, resulting in Chadwicks), but had dinner the other evening at the Tysons Corner Chef Geoff's which features "pasta made fresh daily at Lia's." I really, really wanted to like it, but a $17.95 ($16.95 on the check) Spaghetti and Meatballs dish (with ricotta and basil) was just a big bowl of overcooked spaghetti which may as well have been dried. The sauce and (three large) meatballs were nondescript, and portion size aside, this dish could have come from a cafeteria. The strong points here were the atmosphere (the old Colvin Run Tavern really is a nice space), $2.00 valet parking, and the service (the friendly bartender shook my hand and asked (and remembered) my first name). Yet, just 24 hours before, I spent $2-3 LESS and had the fresh Saffron Pici with Maryland Blue Crab meat, lemon, chives, and bottarga at Palena. Forgive me, Frank, for I have strayed.

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Oh Gosh, Don I couldn't agree more, please forgive me. I went with a friend after voicing reservations and boy did i feel like gloating at the end of meal.

The best thing I can say is my friend agreed and we can say, "been there, did that, next...."

Frank, forgive me too b/c Palena is a completely different league then this.

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But here's what I'm wondering. If Cesare Lanfranconi is actually the chef at Lia's now, the food should be really good. No?

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I was at the Chef Geoff's in Tysons for brunch a few months back, and just this past weekend was at the NW location for graduation Brunner (brunch-dinner graduation was pretty much an all day thing). I will say, while this is not super creative, delicate or artistic food, it is a good place to go with a group of varied tastes, for a decent meal.

I was happy at brunch that I could get an egg white omelette with very healthy ingredients. Hubby got a burger, which they always have very solid burgers. Other friends were happy, there is free valet parking, and was convenient for all our locations. In the Tyson's area it is a pretty good brunch choice.

At NW for brunner we had ham biscuits and chips with tzatziki sauce for starters. The ham biscuits are little biscuits with the ham incorporated in them, with a pepper jelly, I think traditional ham biscuits have better ham flavor, and the jelly was a bit sweet. The chips and tzatziki were fine, just as stated. Nothing special, but not bad.

I had the catfish tacos for my entree and actually really liked these. The catfish was lightly battered, fried well. I liked the tangy slaw with it. It was a huge portion, of course it was our only meal of the day so I polished them off. The plantain chips were nice and crispy, well seasoned. I wasn't crazy about their guacamole, but it wasn't bad, just a little bland.

I also had their gluten free pineapple upside down cake which was really good especially for being gluten free. And it was so nice to see a gluten free dessert on the menu. I thought they were pretty thoughtful as to special dietary needs on the menu. That's something that even if I am not currently abiding, I really notice nowdays.

No, it's no Palena, but it wasn't bad and was conveniently located, with stuff that could accommodate a variety of tastes.

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The lamb kofti on the Downtown location lunch menu is solid.

However, I find that the snacky bar food on the happy hour menu (not talking about the burger or pizza offerings) to be lame. I look at the list and nothing ever seems appealing...dude it's happy hour, keep it simple. And the beer list is weak...usually just order a Murphy's.

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I was at the Chef Geoff's in Tysons for brunch a few months back, and just this past weekend was at the NW location for graduation Brunner (brunch-dinner graduation was pretty much an all day thing). I will say, while this is not super creative, delicate or artistic food, it is a good place to go with a group of varied tastes, for a decent meal.

I would agree about accommodating differing tastes, but my brunch a few weeks back at the Arizona Ave location was an expensive disappointment. The eggs in my eggs benedict were far overcooked, along with the canadian bacon, leaving the whole dish to be pretty dry. I'm far from a gourmet chef but it seems to take quite a bit of mess up eggs benedict. My S.O. had the shrimp and grits which would have been much better had it not been surrounded by a thick moat of what tasted like pure butter. Lax service and tables WAY too tightly crammed together and we were ready to bail.

I'm actually glad to hear others have had better experiences - this is an uber convenient location for us to have brunch on Sundays, maybe we just caught an off day (a really, really off day).

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Speaking of accommodating various "dietary" needs...Food aside, I want to give Chef Geoff's props for something I found particularly cool... when I was pregnant last year - Chef Geoff's was a great spot for "mocktails"... they have quite a few made with fresh ingredients listed on their drink menu... made it a little easier to "happy hour" when I couldn't imbibe as usual! :P I found this section of their "drink menu" pretty thoughtful... I was only off the sauce for 9 months, but I'm sure others who either don't drink or perhaps aren't drinking while out for one reason or another also appreciate the gesture! :) Of course, many bartenders at our better restaurants that serve "craft cocktails" were always more than helpful in crafting something creative and non-alcoholic - i.e. Palena, Eventide, etc. They even seemed to have fun doing so! But there were a lot of spots we went that I'd either have the non-alcoholic beers or just "juice"... kind of boring - especially for someone who isn't a big "sweets" person. Interestingly enough, we were at a birthday party last summer and La Tasca served non-alcoholic sangria... very exciting to me at the time! :wub: Oh - and if you're ever looking for a non-alcoholic beer that's "better" than the others (still not as good as say some of the not so great "real beers")... my NA taste tests yielded "Buckler" n/a King of the non-alcoholic beers! :D Incidentally - the restaurants that served Buckler as their NA beer tended to have the better beer menus and better food... clearly - someone was actually trying the stuff they were buying before offering it to the public! ha ha! Oh - and the loser of the NA group - Kaliber - which is a "Guiness product"... too malty and sooo disappointing... So, now you know... you're welcome! :P

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Oh and I give Chef Geoff major credit for hiring someone to waive a sign near the speed camera on Foxhall (temporarily removed now due to construction). That was pretty great.

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