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Idylwood Grill and Wine Bar, Falls Church


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I just noticed this place today. It's on Idyllwood Road, just off Route 7, in the little plaza behind Idyllwood Plaza just east of Tysons Corner, where Whole Foods is located. Looks rather spiffy.

I gave this place a try today. I was prepared to take one for the team but lunch was not bad at all. I think it's got a real shot.

I got the "steak trio salad," which was a nice piece of london broil-type meat and a pile of chopped endive, radicchio, and arugula in a light blue cheese dressing.

The "house-made fries," which of course I had to try, were nothing special, though.

It's right next to the Mama Lavash Bakery. I'd go back.

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We stumbled upon Idylwood Grill last night during a foray into the 'burbs and were impressed by the quality of the food, the comfort of the room, and the reasonableness of the prices. Don't be deterred by the shopping center storefront location; it is worth a visit if you are in the Tysons/Falls Church area.

As it turned out, a friend of ours is distantly related to one of the owners and asked us to join him and several others for dinner. The place is a bit hard to find because it is in a separate shopping area behind the Idylwood Shopping Center (where Whole Foods is). The room is a pleasant, persimmon colored space, tastefully decorated and spacious. White tablecloth, but casual. It fit our group of seven well.

The food is contemporary, with what I would call a slight Latin edge. The page of specials on the menu for that night was heavily seafood, but also had a rack of lamb and a steak. The normal menu was fairly standard. All of us ordered from the night's page.

Among out appetizers for the group, the calamari stood out; the white bean soup of the day was delicious, the salads better than average (except for the Ceasar, which could have used more dressing).

Several of us had the grilled tuna, which was cooked to our request. (I like mine rare, and it was perfectly done; a friend asked for medium-well, and it was to his liking). The tuna was served over rice, and with a surrounding sauce based on black beans that went great with the fish. Among the other dishes I got to taste, the rack of lamb was excellent, as was the shrimp and scallop pasta (with a nice picante bite to it). Quantities were generous but not overwhelming. Prices were generally mid-teens to mid-twenties. My sense was that the kitchen took its ingredients and preparation seriously.

The only dessert made in-house is a flan, which had a nice texture and a caramel flavor.

The wine list, which they said changes regularly, is short but well-selected to complement the food, with most bottles in the $20-$30 range. It looked like the markup was about twice retail, perhaps a bit less on some.

Dinner for seven, with three bottles of wine, tax, and a bit over 20 percent tip came to $340. We all felt it was a good value.

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This is a perfectly respectable neighborhood place.

Our party of five (incl. a preschooler) had a pleasant meal last night. Entrees included duck breast with parsnip puree and a berry sauce, grilled tuna, and chicken piccata with capellini. Oh, and grilled cheese with fries (they DO have a kids menu). All on the "very good" end of the scale. I don't believe there was an entree priced over $20. They had crayons and toys for the tot, which kept her occupied (most of the time).

Nice selection of reasonably priced bottles, and the two owners (partners?) are very knowledgable about wine and make good recommendations.

There is a nice little area near the bar with sofas and tables that is perfect if you're dropping by for a drink or two.

This was our second visit for dinner and we're happy to have this place in our neighborhood.

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This is a perfectly respectable neighborhood place.

Our party of five (incl. a preschooler) had a pleasant meal last night. Entrees included duck breast with parsnip puree and a berry sauce, grilled tuna, and chicken piccata with capellini. Oh, and grilled cheese with fries (they DO have a kids menu). All on the "very good" end of the scale. I don't believe there was an entree priced over $20. They had crayons and toys for the tot, which kept her occupied (most of the time).

Nice selection of reasonably priced bottles, and the two owners (partners?) are very knowledgable about wine and make good recommendations.

I agree completely. This is a great little neighborhood place. I enjoyed a pleasant meal there over the summer. I don't remember the details of our meal, but I believe that we all ordered seafood dishes, which were fresh. The only issue was that their A/C was not working too well that night it felt like eating under a Wendy's heat lamp. Good thing we stuck with white wine that night since the "room temperature" red wines would have been like hot coffee!

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I'm really bummed about our experience, seeing that others had pleasant visits. Although given all of the mixed reviews we've heard/read since our dinner, there's not enough to make me go back...

My wife and I look forward to going on “date nights” so we were delighted to attend a local eatery close to home that we heard (from one couple) had good food. When we arrived at Idylwood, we were seated downstairs near the wine bar area with one other table occupied next to us by a couple halfway through their meal. Since this was date night we planned on enjoying a slow 4-course meal with a bottle of wine. Roughly 20 minutes later, we were the only occupied table downstairs, and as our main course arrives, guests who were obviously friends and family of the owner start arriving at the wine bar are with gifts for a child’s party. Awkward moment #1

By the time we finished the main course it was quite uncomfortable as the owner and all his friends and family were making it obvious that they were waiting on us to leave so they could begin their celebration. Knowing that we were staying for dessert, my wife kindly asked our waiter if we needed to move to a table upstairs so the owner could commence with his party. Our waiter said “No, you were here first”. I felt a little more comfortable knowing that we were welcome to stay and finish our dinner. However, right as we order dessert the owner starts moving all the tables around us into one connected table and stops just short of our table since we are still there. Awkward moment #2.

After this, he begins to dust the tables and wait impatiently at the back of my wife's chair. All of his guests were glaring at us to hurry up, finish & leave. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My wife was so uncomfortable and angry that she got up to leave as soon as she finished her dessert. I stayed inside and paid the bill.

On my way out I pulled the owner aside and politely recommended “It would have been a better idea to seat us upstairs or ask us to move, if you knew there was a party coming”. The owner replied “We sat you at 7pm, and the party wasn’t starting until 8:30pm”. I am a very reasonable man and understand what folks in the food service industry deal with on a daily basis, but this was getting absurd. At the time of his comment, it was only 8:20pm and this debacle had been going on since at least the turn of the hour. I was nearly speachless... nearly: I indicated to the owner that we were not pleased with our experience and based on that we would probably not be returning to give it another chance, to which the owner replies “Okay.”

Clearly this was an irrational situation that was not going to be rectified. I simply said goodnight to the owner, waiter (who was exceptional!) and hostest on my way to the car. What a horrible and disrespectful proprietor! He didn’t apologize…and had no problem losing our future business! We had actually heard similar stories of poor customer service from two other couples, but wanted to judge the food and experience on our own due to the convenience of its location. Unfortunately, we will never go back, my wife would just assume eat fast food. For as expensive as their food is and the 200% mark up on their wine it is not worth enduring the absence of customer service – such a shame!

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My wife and I have tried, and liked, the Idlywood a couple of times for lunch. It is especially convenient when shopping around lunch time at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. We went there, just to go there, for dinner a few nights ago and were very pleased with the menu, food and nice wine selection for a neighborhood spot. I chatted a bit with the owner who seemed very personable. We found it overall a good place to dine. Having just now read the previous review, I would not hesitate to mention it to the owner if I see him again. It's important for him to know that customer reviews are read by many other people, so it pays to deal with a customer's bad experience right away and sensibly. To illustrate, a couple of years ago we were at one of the high-end local steak properties for an anniversary dinner. We didn't finish our meal or dessert so asked for a doggy bag, which the waiter provided. We had enough for a nice meal the next evening. When we brought it out, we discovered that they had not packed a good sized portion left from the rather expensive dessert. I called the restaurant and told them about it, and received an immediate apology. To our total shock, there was a knock on the door about 30 minutes later and there before us was the general manager of the restaurant with a beautiful full serving of dessert and a half-bottle of champagne in a lovely carrying case. We were stunned. Here was a bad experience in which the customer wound up feeling a bit guilty for having made a fuss about it. But of course we go back to that restaurant a few times a year now and are always greeted by that gentleman. I told this story to a French chef who was an old neighbor and friend. He said: You see, that would NEVER happen in France. They don't know how to deal with such things. But in America, the best places are the ones that respond promptly and generously to people who have had a poor dining experience.

Even little neighborhood places can afford to be generous when something happens like described in the previous review. No excuses not to. Rick Barry

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I'd had Idylwood recommended to me before by a charming young woman I'd gone out with yet never made it there until last night. With my brother's fiancee looking to celebrate, and the three of us starving, she suggested it, and I was glad that she did.

When we first got there the first wine we ordered, an Australian called Tintara (a cabernet sauvignon if I remember correctly) was out of stock. My brother was sorely disappointed - that's been one of his favorite wines for a while and he hasn't been able to find it anywhere. (I've been telling him to write it down for me or come with me out to Ace but he can be forgetful.) We changed to a Chilean Haras cab sauvignon that we enjoyed a good bit.

Meanwhile, his fiancee ordered sparkling wine - and perhaps to make up for the lack of our first choice the waiter brought her out a complimentary second glass. It wasn't the house sparkling wine, either. It was an asti that we hadn't heard of before, and he wrote down the name for us. She thought it was the best alcoholic drink she's ever had (she's very preferential to sparkling wines). Matt and I thought it was very good and will be looking to hunt it down as well.

We started with an appetizer of Idyl-Calamari, calamari sauteed in a tomato broth. The actual pieces of calamari were a bit tough, I thought, but still the dish was very tasty. I wish we'd had more of the crusty, slightly salty bread we'd started off with to sop up the broth. I guess I could've asked for more...

For our main entrees, my brother went with the NY Strip, rare, with gorgonzola on top, and he loved it. I went with the rack of lamb provencal, medium rare, and it was the best lamb I've had in quite a while. It was very tender, with a nice zip but not overwhelming of mustard, and I used the potatoes to sop up the sauce. The potatoes and asparagus were also quite good.

All in all it was a very good meal. The owner came by to say hi, something that according to my brother and his fiancee say he does every time they've come in, they've really been happy with his service and attitude.

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I'd had Idylwood recommended to me before by a charming young woman I'd gone out with yet never made it there until last night. With my brother's fiancee looking to celebrate, and the three of us starving, she suggested it, and I was glad that she did.

When we first got there the first wine we ordered, an Australian called Tintara (a cabernet sauvignon if I remember correctly) was out of stock. My brother was sorely disappointed - that's been one of his favorite wines for a while and he hasn't been able to find it anywhere. (I've been telling him to write it down for me or come with me out to Ace but he can be forgetful.) We changed to a Chilean Haras cab sauvignon that we enjoyed a good bit.

Meanwhile, his fiancee ordered sparkling wine - and perhaps to make up for the lack of our first choice the waiter brought her out a complimentary second glass. It wasn't the house sparkling wine, either. It was an asti that we hadn't heard of before, and he wrote down the name for us. She thought it was the best alcoholic drink she's ever had (she's very preferential to sparkling wines). Matt and I thought it was very good and will be looking to hunt it down as well.

We started with an appetizer of Idyl-Calamari, calamari sauteed in a tomato broth. The actual pieces of calamari were a bit tough, I thought, but still the dish was very tasty. I wish we'd had more of the crusty, slightly salty bread we'd started off with to sop up the broth. I guess I could've asked for more...

For our main entrees, my brother went with the NY Strip, rare, with gorgonzola on top, and he loved it. I went with the rack of lamb provencal, medium rare, and it was the best lamb I've had in quite a while. It was very tender, with a nice zip but not overwhelming of mustard, and I used the potatoes to sop up the sauce. The potatoes and asparagus were also quite good.

All in all it was a very good meal. The owner came by to say hi, something that according to my brother and his fiancee say he does every time they've come in, they've really been happy with his service and attitude.

What was the name of the asti? I too love slightly sweet sparkling wines.

I have been to the Idylwood on several occasions, the owner is a "friend of a friend". We've always had a lovely time and have felt that the meal was a good value for the area. They have a number of Austrian red wines on their menu. If you've never checked one out, please do. They're quite enjoyable and at around $20, a great bargain.

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Well, Joe at Ace found the Tintara, which is Australian, for me today at $12.99 a bottle.

The sparkling wine was Marcarini Moscato d'asti. Joe knew that one, too, and said he had some better ones at his store. Given that I'm off to NYC tomorrow for the weekend, I'm dispatching my brother to pick up the three bottles of Tintara I ordered from him and to investigate the sparkling wine selection.

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I had a very mixed experience at Idylwood Grill last week, with high highs, and low lows.

I was happy to see Idylwood with a bustling dinner crowd mid-week, and from the moment I walked in the door, I was reminded about what a friendly restaurant this is. The staff seems like they genuinely enjoy working here, and they have a knack of making diners feel special. This begins at the host stand, and extends to the gregarious owner roaming the dining room. This alone makes me want to return.

They have a workable little wine list, too - not great, but workable, and they'll happily bag any remaining wine for you to take home. I ordered a bottle of 2006 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais ($29.50). and waited for a good while, and that's where the first of two giltches occurred: After about five minutes, a gentleman came over and told me they were out of the Dupeuble (which I ordered because I know it's a Kermit Lynch import; in fact, this used to be bottled under the Kermit Lynch label - it's a fine little Beaujolais). He presented a bottle of Bourgogne that I'd never heard of: a 2006 "Bersan et Fils," located in the Cotes d'Auxerre. I took hold of the bottle, and looked at the importer strip on the back - it was from Borvin Beverage in Alexandria, an importer who I've also never heard of. This did not bode well, and I was skeptical.

"They're both the same thing," he said, rather dismissively.

"Actually, they're really not," I replied. He then mentioned they also had a Garnacha, but I went ahead and took the Bourgogne, which turned out to be halfway between barely passable table wine, and flat-out plonk. It was dilute, overcropped, and a disgrace to the AC of Bourgogne. This type of willy-nilly substitution works well in an outdoor cafe in France, where you're buying wine by the carafe, and paying $7 for a half-liter. But $29.50 is nearly half the price of the meal here, and I have to say, the meal was a lot less pleasurable because of this wine, which was also served too hot and needed to be chilled down.

A lot of words, for really not that big a deal - I could have always declined the bottle or sent it back, and I have no doubt that they would have happily obliged. Furthermore, once my main course arrived, it was easy to forget about the wine. I ordered a daily special of Flounder Francaise ($20.95), a nicely prepared piece of fish, battered in flour and egg, pan-fried, and served with baby shrimp, capers, and mushrooms, potato puree and vegetables in a masterful beurre blanc sauce. I've always maintained that the saucier can make or break a dish, and such was the case here. Whoever was responsible for the saucing here knew what (s)he was doing. And the owner knew it, too: He came by, patted me on the shoulder, and pretty much said, 'you're going to love that sauce.' He was right.

But doggone it if they didn't completely screw up a bacon cheeseburger. Our server asked my young dining companion how he wanted it cooked, and he said "medium-rare." I then intervened and added, "he really does like them cooked medium-rare," because I've found that sometimes servers (understandably) just don't believe a kid who says that, so I was just making double-sure. Well, the damned thing came out well-done, completely dry, lifeless, and without even a hint of pink. To add insult to injury, the burger, which was neither particularly large nor flavorful, was a whopping $14.95 with an order of so-so-fries. Bacon and cheddar were an additional 95-cents each, bringing this terribly mediocre sandwich up to $16.85. Aside from being ruined from overcooking, it was too expensive by fully six dollars.

Okay, a lot of grousing about a neighborhood restaurant that I'm generally fond of. Idylwood Grill is somewhat expensive, and seems to cater to an older, adult crowd that doesn't mind paying a little more money for a civilized meal in a comfortable, extremely welcoming, vibrant-but-not-annoyingly-so atmosphere. I've enjoyed it in the past, and will come here again in the future. Despite a couple missteps on this evening, I still view Idylwood Grill as an independent restaurant worth supporting.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I had a very mixed experience at Idylwood Grill last week, with high highs, and low lows.

I was happy to see Idylwood with a bustling dinner crowd mid-week, and from the moment I walked in the door, I was reminded about what a friendly restaurant this is. The staff seems like they genuinely enjoy working there, and they have a knack to make diners feel special. This begins at the host stand, and extends to the gregarious owner roaming the dining room. This alone makes me want to return.

They have a workable little wine list, too - not great, but workable, and they'll happily bag any remaining wine for you to take home. I ordered a bottle of 2006 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais ($29.50). and waited for a good while, and that's where a glitch occurred: after about five minutes, a gentleman came over and told me they were out of the Dupeuble (which I ordered because I know it's a Kermit Lynch import; in fact, this used to be bottled under the Kermit Lynch label - it's a fine little Beaujolais). He presented a bottle of Bourgogne that I'd never heard of: a 2006 "Bersan et Fils," located in the Cotes d'Auxerre. I took hold of the bottle, and looked at the importer strip on the back - it was from Borvin Beverage in Alexandria, an importer who I've also never heard of. This did not bode well.

"They're both the same thing," he said, rather dismissively.

"Actually, they're really not," I replied. He then mentioned they also had a Garnacha, but I went ahead and took the Bourgogne, which turned out to be halfway between barely passable table wine, and out-and-out plonk. It was dilute, overcropped, and a disgrace to the AC of Bourgogne. This type of willy-nilly substitution works well in an outdoor cafe in France, where you're buying wine by the carafe, and paying $7 for a half-liter. But $29.50 is nearly half the price of the meal here, and I have to say, the meal was a lot less pleasurable because of this wine, which was also served too hot and needed to be chilled down.

A lot of words, for really not that big a deal - I could have always declined the bottle or sent it back, and I have no doubt that they would have happily obliged. Furthermore, once my main course arrived, it was easy to forget about the wine. I ordered a daily special of Flounder Francaise ($20.95), a nicely prepared piece of fish, battered in flour and egg, pan-fried, and served with baby shrimp, capers, and mushrooms, potato puree and vegetables in a masterful beurre blanc sauce. I've always maintained that the saucier can make or break a dish, and such was the case here. Whoever was responsible for the saucing here knew what (s)he was doing. And the owner knew it, too: He came by, patted me on the shoulder, and pretty much said, 'you're going to love that sauce.' He was right.

But doggone it if they didn't completely screw up a bacon cheeseburger. Our server asked my young dining companion how he wanted it cooked, and he said "medium-rare." I then intervened and added, "he really does like them cooked medium-rare," because I've found that sometimes servers (understandably) just don't believe a kid who says that, so I was just making double-sure. Well, the damned thing came out well-done, completely dry, lifeless, and without even a hint of pink. To add insult to injury, the burger, which was neither particularly large nor flavorful, was a whopping $14.95 with an order of so-so-fries. Bacon and cheddar were an additional 95-cents each, bringing this terribly mediocre sandwich up to $16.85. Aside from being ruined from overcooking, it was too expensive by fully six dollars.

Okay, a lot of grousing about a neighborhood restaurant that I'm generally fond of. Idylwood Grill is somewhat expensive, and seems to cater to an older, adult crowd that doesn't mind paying a little more money for a civilized meal in a comfortable, welcoming, bustling-but-not-annoyingly-so atmosphere. I've enjoyed it in the past, and will come here again in the future. Despite a couple missteps on this evening, I still view Idylwood Grill as an independent restaurant worth supporting.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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