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Grandale Vintner's Table (Formerly Grandale Farm), Chef Author Clark on a Working Farm and Winery in Neersville, VA


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http://www.grandalefarm.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=111&Itemid=179 is their wine list which must feature 50 or more Loudoun wines by the bottle.

My wife and I drove by, through and around this restaurant in a meadow, located a hundred or more yards off of a secondary Virginia rural biway several weeks ago. It was heartily recommended by the owner of nearby Hillsborough Vineyards. He happens to make a red wine, Bloodstone, that I trust. With an adjacent pond, surrounding pasture and a cow, horse and rooster or two this is an idyllic setting several miles west of Hillsboro. We vowed then to return.

This Saturday night we will. With our recently reinforced stoked enthusiam for Northern Virginia wineries and their picturesque Tuscan like setting this working farm house, several miles off the beaten path, beckons. Twenty years ago we similarly discovered Four and Twenty Blackbirds. We hope that this will approach taking its place.

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http://www.grandalefarm.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=111&Itemid=179 is their wine list which must feature 50 or more Loudoun wines by the bottle.

My wife and I drove by, through and around this restaurant in a meadow, located a hundred or more yards off of a secondary Virginia rural biway several weeks ago. It was heartily recommended by the owner of nearby Hillsborough Vineyards. He happens to make a red wine, Bloodstone, that I trust. With an adjacent pond, surrounding pasture and a cow, horse and rooster or two this is an idyllic setting several miles west of Hillsboro. We vowed then to return.

This Saturday night we will. With our recently reinforced stoked enthusiam for Northern Virginia wineries and their picturesque Tuscan like setting this working farm house, several miles off the beaten path, beckons. Twenty years ago we similarly discovered Four and Twenty Blackbirds. We hope that this will approach taking its place.

Joe, that wine list is beyond ridiculous. Hopefully you will find the gems among all those Loudoun County wines -- things are getting better out here but there of course is a huge range in quality.

The menu looks good too. Have fun!

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Joe, that wine list is beyond ridiculous. Hopefully you will find the gems among all those Loudoun County wines -- things are getting better out here but there of course is a huge range in quality.

The menu looks good too. Have fun!

We went tonight. Very good food in this five year old restaurant. Capping a day of visiting Virginia wineries this would be a wonderful stop for dinner. OR, in the fall, when the sun sets at 6 or 7 o'clock and it is still warm enough to sit outside a seat at one of their seven or eight tables on the Tiki torched patio in the meadow would be atmospheric and special. This is not Four and Twenty Blackbirds (we are still looking for its replacement) but it is well worth a stop. Not a destination but a wonderful experience.

I should note that with forty inside seats every single one was filled at eight o'clock. Half of the patio seats, too, in nearly 100 degree weather. Grandale Farm is locally well known.

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Grandale Farm restaurant: we literally drove down the driveway, around the building, made a u turn in the parking lot and back to the highway of this restaurant on Sunday. It was recommended by the owner of Hillsborough Winery. Fascinating setting but in the daytime the rather plain building-which was closed-looked like it lacked ambience or character inside. Its website was uninspiring,perhaps not doing justice to the room. http://www.grandalefarm.com/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&view=category&id=3:restaurant&Itemid=185 Did you go at night? Sunday brunch? In the photo linked the room looks rather plain and well lit. I ask all of this because the grounds-the farm is really exceptional. We are thinking seriously about returning to it but it seems more like a very good place to stop if reasonably close but not worth, say, an 80 mile roundtrip trek from D. C. Still, the setting is extraordinary. A few candles in the dining room in the evening or perhaps sitting on the patio...

Frankly, we're still trying to replace Four and Twenty Blackbirds which we loved.

We had brunch there. I would definitely go again. Not sure I'd drive that far just to go to the restaurant, but if you're in the area I'd suggest you give it a try. We didn't order one, but the desserts looked really good.

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We had brunch there. I would definitely go again. Not sure I'd drive that far just to go to the restaurant, but if you're in the area I'd suggest you give it a try. We didn't order one, but the desserts looked really good.

If I ever get caught up, sigh ...

In brief, if you go ... 1) patio sunset (although interior looked surprisingly pleasant) 2) Loudoun wine 3) produce (I even tried a vegan prix fixe menu that ended on 7/31). Assuming there will be more than one of you, overload on vegetables, and split one pork tenderloin for your meat. I like this place a lot - it's no Ashby Inn, but I actually think it's worth the hour drive for a Sunday night getaway (it was positively empty on Sunday so don't reserve later than 6:30 PM).

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[Joe H's original post included a link to a no-longer-existent wine list which included perhaps the largest selection of Loudoun County wines of any restaurant in the world. I had been there once before, saw the list with my own eyes, and can verify that I have never seen any restaurant with a comparable selection of Loudoun County wines. But there's one *big* problem, and Joe is not to blame for it: That wine list no longer exists;

As moderator of this website, I cannot emphasize the importance of downloading menus in cases such as this, and uploading the copy to include in your post as if it were a picture - that way, if the link ever goes away (which it eventually will, the majority of the time), the visual proof will still be there; now, that magnificent Loudoun County wine list is gone forever, unless someone can get hold of one, take a picture, and upload it to a post.This is not Joe's fault - he was correct, and it's *my job*; not his, to ensure the permanence and integrity of posts on this website -  I simply haven't had the time to go back this far and check every post to verify that every single link still works. As moderator, I beseech you, our contributors, to go through this somewhat arduous process to guarantee your hard work will never be lost - Joe no longer has any proof (other than me verifying that what he said was true) - it's a sad loss of history, in my eyes. This is also why I'm asking all our members who start threads for the first time about restaurants to download their menus from their websites, and upload them as files (just as you would pictures) - that way, we'll still have a historical record of the menus should the restaurant ever go out of business, or should the menus ever change dramatically. Joe, this is not your fault; it's mine (or, I suppose, it's nobody's, but it's my responsibility; not yours). I'm sorry your wine list is gone, however - it was a real gem, wasn't it? If you have a copy of it, would you please email it to me? Or take a picture of it and email it to me? I'll upload it and put it back into your thread.]

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A friend of mine and I went out for a beautiful drive Sunday afternoon on this splendid 80-degree day, touring the mansions of Potomac (we decided *not* to go downtown to DC during this Cherry Blossom Festival weekend), and ended up over at White's Ferry. She's a visitor, and was delighted by the old-fashioned charm of White's Ferry - it had been several years since I'd been on it myself, and I'd forgotten just how much *fun* it is if you don't have to wait too long to get on (I wonder if there's a website anywhere that shows up-to-the-minute wait times - if so, would someone please start a White's Ferry thread in the Visiting Washington, DC forum, and include the website information there? I think White's Ferry is a fine tourist attraction, and merits its own thread).

We approached the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (another topic that merits its own thread in the Visiting Washington, DC forum). and had a decision to make, it being around 3:30 PM: should we head left, and hit the Udvar-Hazy Center (another topic that merits its own thread in the Visiting Washington, DC forum (I'll shut up now)), :) or should we attempt an early dinner at Grandale Farm? It was *the* perfect day *and* time to make that our destination, and indeed, we chose the pleasures of the table over aeronautics and space flight (I mean, wouldn't everybody?)

Seeing the entrance to Grandale was like seeing an old friend, even though I'd only been once before - it it was anything like I remembered it being, we would have a splendid meal, with competent kitchen work, and perhaps even get to dine on the patio (at this odd hour, it seemed like a reasonable bet). We also called to see if we needed a reservation (it's open straight through the afternoons on Sundays, with no break between lunch (or brunch) and dinner. Do note that this is *not* a B&B; it's a working farm that happens to have a restaurant attached to it, so don't come hoping to snare a room, although there are numerous charming B&B's nearby, so you're certainly thinking on the right track.

Well, just like an old friend, Grandale was still there for us, but as old friends often do, it had changed radically - not necessarily for the worse, but it is a very different beast now than it was just two short months ago: The changes were implemented on Mar 1, 2016. Many things are the same, a few are better, and a few are worse. Chef Author Clark (not a typo) has cooked here for the past ten years.

First of all, the restaurant is no longer called "Grandale Farm" - the name is now "Grandale Vintner's Table." In addition to the restaurant, there is now an elaborate, tourist-friendly, tasting room in a separate building - mere steps away from the restaurant - that would make for a very pleasant weekend outing. There are more-and-more of these sprouting up in Virginia, and with the right spirit, this could make for a fun lead-in for dinner at the restaurant - there's a very pleasant patio/picnic area out back as well, and a light-snack menu is offered in the tasting room (which I assume is prepared in the kitchen, and walked over on an as-needed basis. I didn't take note of many prices, since I was merely interested in an overview, and since they serve primarily their own wines - as well as a dozen-or-so well-selected craft beers, my take-away was that this might be an enjoyable experience, although I really have no idea what it costs - all of their own wines, sold under the "868" label, are in the mid-$20s per bottle (the winery is called 868 Estate Vineyards - in all honesty, the last time I was here, about four years ago, I didn't even know they made wines). Since I told them I'd be dining next door, they were happy to give me free sample pours of what I was seeking: something dry and white, or perhaps pink, with good acidity to stand up to our meal, but also light and pleasant enough to enjoy on an 80-degree sunny day sitting on the patio. They had just run out of the Sauvignon Blanc (which I was told might have been the best choice), the Riesling was fermented with too much residual sugar remaining, and the Viognier was the better choice than the Roussanne due to its florality in the bouquet coupled with equal perceived acidity as the Roussanne, although either could have worked - the Viognier it would be. Many Viogniers, even ones from Granddaddy Rhône Valley, are a bit too much for me after one glass; this one was a perfect food wine, and could last through an entire meal as it was fermented completely dry.

One lesson I learned from my previous visit here was: stick with produce, but, it being mid April, pickings are slim, and my server's advice was to stay local - the greens, the pork, the goat cheese, and a few other things. We built together a meal to share around what seemed like the wisest choices. The menu here is very different than it was before - it's more expensive, has a more "scattershot" feel, and plays into the "share plates" tactic which is quickly becoming a local trend in many places - Grandale Vintner's Table only had two items in this category, which they say are for "2-4 people," but we bypassed both.

After having gotten our perfectly served Viognier ($25), and having had our questions about "local and seasonal" answered, we were ready to order, and asked our serve to bring everything whenever it was ready, and that we'd share everything. We ordered three items that complimented each other reasonably well, and went with the wine wonderfully.

The Mesclun Salad ($10) features a plate of greens "brought to them by a local couple about once a week," our server told us. It was accented, lightly, with candied pecan, strawberry, and goat cheese, and mercifully *very* lightly dressed - barely dressed - with a champagne vinaigrette, allowing the greens to remain front-and-center on the stage. We both agreed that the only thing we would have changed about the salad was to have tripled the amount of strawberry (I think there was only one, cut into slices) and goat cheese (there was only one dab of goat cheese, about the size of a grape) - even if they need to charge a couple dollars more for the salad, it would benefit from both of these; otherwise, this was a wonderful showcase of fresh greens dressed with a light hand, and is something you should try if you're here.

The one gripe I have with Soup du Jour ($6 for a bowl) is that it seems to be different every time I order it. On this visit, it was a chicken-tortilla soup "with white bean," but it should have been "with corn," as there were only about ten beans in the entire bowl, but there were dozens of corn kernels. This was a thin, somewhat dilute broth that would have benefited from more seasoning, even just some black pepper - it had a slight kick to it (and there was a small amount of dried red powder at the bottom of the bowl), but overall, it was merely a decent, innocuous soup that had an adequate amount of ingredients in the bowl - there were some in every single bite - but with a broth that was just a bit too thin and bland.

Local Pork Confit ($30) with pumpkin apple butter cornbread, broccolini, and what was termed a "blueberry Asian BBQ" was pleasant enough, with strips of pork confit, but it really pushed the price point at $30 - you get more pork on your average pulled-pork sandwich than you got on this composed plate, which came with a square of barely average cornbread, the entire plate garnished with the pumpkin apple butter, and the blueberry sauce which clearly contained mesquite (and that was the only "Asian" thing about it). The flavors knit together very well, and we happily finished not only the entree, but all three things - the one thing that saved this meal was the cost of the Viognier: $25 for an entire bottle of good, enjoyable table wine kept the price of the meal in the $70s before tip, the patio was beautiful - especially the background - and the service enthusiastic and pleasant. 

Yelping for Truffles

Oh dear, and then came dessert. We said we were pretty full, and had about an hour drive to get back, but we'd like to at least look at the dessert menu. Our server replied that there were three desserts being offered, and she could just recite them. The first two were typical desserts (I don't remember exactly what they were - maybe a cheesecake, and a flourless, gluten-free, molten chocolate cake) at typical dessert prices (I don't remember what they were, but they were within the norm), but it was the third thing that made our jaws drop. "And then we're also offering a free dessert for people who are active on Yelp or Trip Advisor," our server said. "Chocolate truffles. A box of two - I could give you each one so you'd have four total." She didn't come straight out and insist that a review was written, but I told her I'd be happy to review the restaurant, and that the truffles weren't necessary, much to her surprise - I get the impression she'd never before heard that reply. 

"Are you sure you don't want them?" she said "No, it's fine - but thank you anyway," we replied. 

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