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Zeffirelli Ristorante Italiano, Herndon


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Hi all

I am going to dinner here tonight with a few friends. If you've been there - thoughts? What should I order, what to avoid, etc...

thanks!

I haven't been to the one in Herndon, but I have been to the one in Leesburg. Pretty conventional red-sauce Italian. Nothing radical, nothing unexpected. Decent (if slightly overpriced) wine list. Italian mother comfort food mostly. You should be able to open the menu to Entree's and just point.
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No posts in 30 months?

This is a sensational little jewel of a suburban Italian Restaurant, and it is the reliable antidote to the Italian chains on that side of the county. If you're going to spend money at Il Fornaio or Paolo's at the Reston Town Center, you're only a couple of miles away from much better food at slightly better prices.

Had the Veal Osso Bucco for lunch today, and it was superb. The meat was tender and juicy, nicely sauced, over a bed of linguini with the perfect amount of sauce coating the linguini. The meat had the perfect fall-off-the-bone texture that a good braise will produce, and the waiter complimented me for digging out the marrow and spreading it on the fresh bread that comes with every meal. The only veal dish I have eaten in recent memory that compares to this one was....the famous double veal chop I had at Zeffirelli about six months ago! Trust me, if you ever have the option of eating one of those blandish ala carte steaks at Morton's/Capital Grille/The Palm, versus the veal chops at Zeffirelli or Da Domenico's, take the veal chops! Those are some serious man-food.

Go with the specials. Today for lunch the specials included chicken marsala, tuna with a butter sauce, lobster ravioli, and my osso bucco, and all looked excellent as they came out of the kitchen. Dino is one of the most gracious dining room hosts I have encountered in the 'burbs and will make your experience enjoyable.

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Had the Veal Osso Bucco for lunch today, and it was superb. The meat was tender and juicy, nicely sauced, over a bed of linguini with the perfect amount of sauce coating the linguini. The meat had the perfect fall-off-the-bone texture that a good braise will produce, and the waiter complimented me for digging out the marrow and spreading it on the fresh bread that comes with every meal. The only veal dish I have eaten in recent memory that compares to this one was....the famous double veal chop I had at Zeffirelli about six months ago! Trust me, if you ever have the option of eating one of those blandish ala carte steaks at Morton's/Capital Grille/The Palm, versus the veal chops at Zeffirelli or Da Domenico's, take the veal chops! Those are some serious man-food.

The website (as well as your post) implies that ownership is the same as it is at Da Domenico. Is this true? If so, it could mean the veal chops at both restaurants are similar.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, with people trying to cure cancer, and unemployment on the rise, this is a minor issue, but in my little world, it's important ... or at least it's important to me.

Giving the larger community something smaller to grab onto during these desperate times,

Rocks.

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The website (as well as your post) implies that ownership is the same as it is at Da Domenico. Is this true? If so, it could mean the veal chops at both restaurants are similar.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, with people trying to cure cancer, and unemployment on the rise, this is a minor issue, but in my little world, it's important ... or at least it's important to me.

Giving the larger community something smaller to grab onto during these desperate times,

Rocks.

Dino told me today that Zeffirelli bought Da Domenico's and the chef from Da Domenico's transferred to Zeffirelli's. Whether that happened last year or two years ago, I don't precisely know. But it is essentially the same veal chop, and I've had it at both places. Absolutely delicious and worth a trip out of the way. It is true man-food and provides me ample reason to never set foot in Morton's/Capital Grille for my protein fix.

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Had the Veal Osso Bucco for lunch today, and it was superb. The meat was tender and juicy, nicely sauced, over a bed of linguini with the perfect amount of sauce coating the linguini. The meat had the perfect fall-off-the-bone texture that a good braise will produce, and the waiter complimented me for digging out the marrow and spreading it on the fresh bread that comes with every meal.

We were just discussing Osso Bucco in the Dinner topic. What kind of sauce - when you say there is sauce on the linguini as well, I think that the Osso Bucco was served with tomato sauce, not a veal reduction with gremolata, which is the classic Italian preparation. In fact, I've never heard it being served over pasta...

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We were just discussing Osso Bucco in the Dinner topic. What kind of sauce - when you say there is sauce on the linguini as well, I think that the Osso Bucco was served with tomato sauce, not a veal reduction with gremolata, which is the classic Italian preparation. In fact, I've never heard it being served over pasta...

It was tomato-based, and with a few shreds of the carrot and onion that were obviously in the braising liquid. So the sauce was what it was braised in, and it was succulent.

To Don's earlier remark about the veal chop, I remember happy hours at Da Domenico some years back when the extra roasted bones from the veal chop prep for that night were brought out to the bar for a free snack. They were crispy and seasoned and with just enough meat clinging to them to make a nice little amouse. Yum....

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I'm glad this place has been given its own entry in the Restaurant Guide. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best of the Italian places on that side of Fairfax County. It's the sister of Da Domenico's, and when it bought Da Domenico's the chef transferred to the Herndon locale. Far and away the best veal chop around, and one day's osso bucco was really, really good....I dug out the marrow afterward and slathered it on the fresh bread that came with the meal. Zeffirelli's has a very nice atmosphere and excellent service to accompany some of the best Italian cooking in northern Virginia. For my money, there are three restaurants worth going to on that side of Fairfax County -- El Manantial, Zeffirelli's and PassionFish -- and you can take the rest of the chain-dominated Reston Town Center and flush it.

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Not to be overly adamant, but I would easily replace a dozen restaurants on Sietsema's favorites list with Zeffirelli's. Starting with Artie's! And you can probably replace quite a few of them with PassionFish, Inox, Sushi-Ko and Brasserie Beck as well....

Twinsmommy and I tried Zeffirelli's on Saturday night. Would not put it in the category of PassionFish at all. Here is the review I just posted on Urbanspoon:

Mrs W and I tried Zeffirelli on Saturday night. Our general reaction is that they serve decent food that is too expensive.Now, I say this because we both got specials as our entrees: I got the famous veal chop and Mrs. W got the seafood linguini with Cleopatra (i.e., pink) sauce.My veal chop was huge and tasty, but it was a bit fatty. And the price was $40! Mrs W.'s pasta was a generous portion, but the flavor was bland and the pasta was a bit overcooked. This was $30.Sorry, but those price points are too high for food that is not spectacular.

We shared one appetizer, a tuna tartare special. This was very good and hit the right price point at $12.

Finally, the service was lacking. Our server said some bizarre things, including "Pay attention!" -- which was ironic in light of her bringing Mrs W a glass of riesling that we discussed but did not order. So, we were glad to try this place but have no desire to rush back.

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Interestingly, while chowing down on a pork sandwich at Galileo, I got talking to Walter, who i guess is Donna's dining room manager/sometime-sommelier/bartender/maitre d.....asked him if he'd been with Donna for a long time....he said no, he'd worked for years at Zeffirelli....I think he said there were others on his staff that he recruited to go to Galileo....all after Walter having met Donna in a restaurant and striking up a friendship. That was the first I'd heard of Zeffirelli but may have to go out to Herndon and check it out.

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Well I did stop by. On the way to Dulles in mid afternoon. Just to take a look. And was briefly disappointed that they were closed. But was very pleased that the manager who was in the house, Gerry, welcomed me and chatted as I had a glass of brunello at the bar. Such a nice guy and his hospitality (and such a sweet brunello by the glass) bodes well for an actual dining experience there.

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