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Trummer's on Main, Clifton - Chef Austin Fausett, who Replaced Cory Lambert, has Departed

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Don,

As the person who nominated Trummer's, I was happy to see that it had the most votes (apparently I'm not the only one who's curious), and I am very grateful to you for having written the review.  As you know, we've been living in southern Fairfax county for awhile and Trummer's is one of the very few fine dining restaurants near us.  We and several others went there for Thanksgiving dinner and found it to be just ok.  (Certainly nowhere near as fine as our previous Thanksgiving dinners at Corduroy and Ashby Inn).  I was surprised to see Austrian wines on the menu and I mentioned that to our server.  He told me that the chef was from Austria.  It turns out the chef spent some time in Austria, but he's not actually Austrian.

We subsequently went there for brunch in January and it was pretty good, but I don't ever judge a restaurant based on brunch or a holiday meal.  So, I'm very happy to have your expert review of an evening meal there.  I'd describe your review as lukewarm, so I'm not in a real hurry to book a dinner meal at Trummer's.  Although, I might go to the bar and order that $8 Wild Turkey.  I agree that their bar area is very nice.

Thanks again, Don!

The Wild Turkey was *exactly* a 2-ounce pour, measured in one of those shot-jigger things. 2 ounces for $8 is, distressingly, pretty fair in the grand scheme of things. However, that works out to about $96 for the entire bottle, which retails for $20, and wholesales for less than that - they're selling this by the glass at 600% of what they paid for it.

You know, people say you shouldn't drink at home alone; financially, that's the *only* time it makes sense to drink.

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 I'd describe your review as lukewarm, so I'm not in a real hurry to book a dinner meal at Trummer's.

I felt the same way and was surprised it still kept the "italics" rating.

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I felt the same way and was surprised it still kept the "italics" rating.

Earning an Italic rating does not take all that much - about 1 in 5 non-chain restaurants have one. Is Trummer's in the top 20% of all non-chain restaurants? Of course it is. Think about it: the building, the patio, the beverage program, the service, the dining room, and yes, the food, which, while not taking home any James Beard Awards this year, is perfectly fine.

Honestly, putting Trummer's in Italics is not even a close call. Italics means, quite simply, "DCDining Recommended." Ben's Chili Bowl is in Italics due to its history and sociological importance (not because of its chili dogs). :)

I am very much an anti-ratings, anti-numbers, anti-stars person (the irony being that I'm a mathematical person), and I don't want people to put too much credence in such shorthand notation - just read what I write, and things should be obvious. The ratings are for people in a hurry who need help quickly; not some sort of "final arbiter" of quality. In my opinion, this is the way *all* critics should operate - not just restaurant critics, but *all* critics - but none of them do because (and I hate to say this, because I have many friends who are food and wine critics) the rankings are more about the critic than what's being critiqued. This is exactly why I've created Bold and Italic - they're deliberately unappealing terms, and *nobody* is going to go around saying, "Rockwell rated it in Italic!" and that's just the way I want it to be. I've thought about changing to a star system because, quite honestly, that's what people want - to go around memorizing star ratings as a substitute for actual knowledge - but I'm not going to do it. Frankly, I would be embarrassed to be an art or music critic, and "ranking" compositions on a 1-to-100 numeric scale - in my eyes, that's not much different than doing it with restaurants: You're trying to quantify something that's not quantifiable. Thank *God* Robert Parker's influence on wine is waning - the long-term damage he did is difficult to calculate: The hubris it must take to rate a wine "97 points" vs. "98 points," and to *believe your own bullshit*, is something I just don't have inside me, because it's, well, I can't think of one single word to describe what it is, other than *wrong*.

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Why the hell did they sous vide it for three and a half hours? Of course the texture was messed up. *slaps head*

Searing before cooking sous vide also makes no sense. Food that come out of SV bags is wet, so any crust you built up would be gone. What you're supposed to do is cook in the bag then dry the hell out of it with paper towels and then sear. Wet meat won't build a crust when searing.

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This is exactly why I've created Bold and Italic - they're deliberately unappealing terms, and *nobody* is going to go around saying, "Rockwell rated it in Italic!" and that's just the way I want it to be.

I know more than a few people who go around saying "Rockwell rated it in Italic!"

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Hahaha agree with last statement

And, even with your explanation, wonder why this place merits the italics... Feel like with what you said, it shouldn't, but maybe I'm misreading your explanation.

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Your mistake was ordering off the regular menu, which has been hit-or-miss over the past few years. It seems like they are "trying to hard" in the kitchen with the ala carte menu, The bar menu has not let me down in quite some time. The charcuterie and cheese plate for two is always excellent.

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Your mistake was ordering off the regular menu.....

Any restaurant about which that can be said has major problems.

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Trummer's is running a pop-up Seafood Shack located at their Clifton restaurant. It runs through early August and is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Also, I read that they are looking into opening a Gainesville location called Trummer's Coffee and Wine Bar.

I recently learned of the Gainesville joint. A persual of Yelp indicates some service/attitude/price-to-value issues.

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Any restaurant about which that can be said has major problems.

That's true. To clarify, you wont get a bad meal off the regular menu. In my opinion it just has been inconsistent and overreaching relevant to the price point

 A persual of Yelp indicates some service/attitude/price-to-value issues.

Yelp! is the wikipedia of service/attitude/price-to-value issues of <<insert business name>>

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That's true. To clarify, you wont get a bad meal off the regular menu. In my opinion it just has been inconsistent and overreaching relevant to the price point

Yelp! is the wikipedia of service/attitude/price-to-value issues of <<insert business name>>

True, but it could be that the good folks of Gainesville weren't ready for a big ol' dose of Clifton sophistication. Wegman's is one thing, but Trummer's, that for them easterners. :)

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The Titanics don't seem as appetizing after you've seen how they're made at the bar.

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My wife had a fun dinner at the bar last night. She and a friend ordered the chocolate and rum tasting for dessert. There was just one tiny problem: "I really couldn't taste the rums. They were all too warm, and all I tasted was burning alcohol."

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We were regulars at Trummers for a couple of years, because we loved Austin's food and their Sunday dinner feature (3 courses for $35 and already-open wines by the glass at $5 for white and $7 for red). Many Sundays Austin wasn't even in the kitchen, but the food was usually still great. It appears they have discontinued that wonderful deal. We haven't been back since he left, but the skills in the kitchen suggest that the food should still be very good (Don's unfortunate experience notwithstanding).  Would love a report if you go.

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ScotteeM thank you for the information! Will report back if I wind up at Trummers this weekend. Did not realize that they had discontinued the Sunday dinner... I went to that a few times and really enjoyed it.

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17 hours ago, ScotteeM said:

We were regulars at Trummers for a couple of years, because we loved Austin's food and their Sunday dinner feature (3 courses for $35 and already-open wines by the glass at $5 for white and $7 for red). Many Sundays Austin wasn't even in the kitchen, but the food was usually still great. It appears they have discontinued that wonderful deal. We haven't been back since he left, but the skills in the kitchen suggest that the food should still be very good (Don's unfortunate experience notwithstanding).  Would love a report if you go.

My memory (and I'm typing this without looking at my review) is that "unfortunate" is a little strong to describe my meal - if I recall, I went on a holiday, and the chef may not even have been there - I think he committed to Proof just a few weeks afterwards, and his mind was probably elsewhere (but I get what you're saying - the meal wasn't what the restaurant has been in the past).

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A quick write up... was hoping to jog my memory by looking at the lunch menu on Trummer's website but sadly it does not reflect most of their current offerings.

My friend and I had a nice lunch this past Saturday but there was no need for the reservations that we had made. We were the only two people in the dining room for at least twenty minutes and by the time we left, there were only 4 or 5 other groups of diners having lunch. The atrium/green house room is a beautiful space, even on a cloudy day. Our waiter was pretty good - mostly there when you needed him and never hovering.

We shared a very tasty roasted brussel sprouts appetizer. The sprouts were perfectly cooked & came with a dipping sauce. The dipping sauce lacked much flavor and I think would have been improved with some lemon juice (or another acid). I had fish (think it was rockfish) with forbidden black rice, bok choy, and some tasty sauce schmear on the plate (really wanted more of that sauce). The fish was cooked well but the promised crispy fish skin was not crisp. My friend had a burger with pimento cheese and a fried egg along with a side of fries. It looked like a tasty burger & no complaints were heard.

For dessert I had the brie topped with raspberry jam and baked in phyllo - the best example of baked brie en croute that I have had but I would have had the sorbet sampler that a nearby table got if only the waiter had mentioned it as a dessert option. My friend had a deconstructed carrot cake that looked beautiful & apparently tasted wonderful too.

The waiter mentioned that the new chef, Jon Cropf, had brought along the pastry chef from his previous restaurant (unfortunately I don't remember the new pastry chef's name & can not find it via some quick googling).

If I'm in the area, I would definitely go to Trummer's again.

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My wife and I went back to Trummers on Main for my birthday last week. We'd been back since the new chef, Jon Cropf, had arrived for the new version of Sunday dinner, but this time it was on a week night for the regular menu. They were offering a tile fish entree, which I hadn't seen before at Trummers, and a number of other entrees that I think had been offered for a month or so. The tile fish was the best example of that item I've had anywhere, which is saying something. My wife had the pork loin, which was very well put together. We had an Austrian pinot noir. The baked oyster appetizer is good enough that I was willing to try oysters that weren't raw. Overall it was an excellent dinner. 

I think the new chef is finding his footing, Trummers is worth a visit.

In January I took my family to Trummers for their Sunday dinner. The new version of that meal is based on an entree that's shared family-style along with sides, etc. Normally, there's one shared entree per table, but we had enough people that they provided two, one of each entree that was available. Some of my family members would have preferred to have the regular menu so they could get choices they preferred. 

Wayne Rash

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Got a Date Night reservation at Trummer's for March 8. Anyone been recently and can offer some insight?

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Northern Virginia Magazine is reporting that Trummer's will reopen after renovations "sans 'on Main' with a new menu for a rotisserie-themed, upscale-casual, family-friendly restaurant."  That sounds like a press release but I'm not really sure what it means.  Anyone have more information?   

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