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Catharpin, Gainesville, Manassas, Centreville, Chantilly for 8-10 Common Folk


Waitman
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A cousin recovering in Catharpin, VA is trying to find dinner for 8 or ten.  She is mobile but we shouldn't push it and my father is a crank with achy knees, so the best Gainsville, Manasses, Centreville or Chantilly can offer will be fine.  This is not a gourmet crowd, so even if there was a hidden Mini-bar out there it wouldn't suit, but a better-than-average steak/Italian/French place would be nice.

Also, a good tavern for the night before might be cool, if you know one off the top of your head.

Grazie.

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A cousin recovering in Catharpin, VA is trying to find dinner for 8 or ten.  She is mobile but we shouldn't push it and my father is a crank with achy knees, so the best Gainsville, Manasses, Centreville or Chantilly can offer will be fine.  This is not a gourmet crowd, so even if there was a hidden Mini-bar out there it wouldn't suit, but a better-than-average steak/Italian/French place would be nice.

Also, a good tavern for the night before might be cool, if you know one off the top of your head.

Grazie.

Blue Ridge Seafood on Route 29 (in Gainesville, I think) may be a bit more casual than you are looking for, but I have had more than decent meals there over the years.

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If you can really go as far as Chantilly, I like Willards BBQ, and it may just fit the bill. Also, Don Churro Cafe Picante (in the same shopping center as Thai Basil) is pretty solid Tex-Mex. In Manassas, Roberto Donna has raved about Absolute BBQ, but the reviews here have been mixed, and I've never been. I'd also say Rawal Kabob, but there's no alcohol and even something like a chicken kabob (and who doesn't like grilled, boneless cubes of chicken and white rice?) is in danger of being spicy here (not "hot," but spicy).

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A cousin recovering in Catharpin, VA is trying to find dinner for 8 or ten.  She is mobile but we shouldn't push it and my father is a crank with achy knees, so the best Gainsville, Manasses, Centreville or Chantilly can offer will be fine.  This is not a gourmet crowd, so even if there was a hidden Mini-bar out there it wouldn't suit, but a better-than-average steak/Italian/French place would be nice.

Also, a good tavern for the night before might be cool, if you know one off the top of your head.

Grazie.

Waitman, aren't you looking for "a better than average steak/Italian/French place?" I think you're looking in the wrong direction. I would focus on either The Plains or Middleburg. The Plains is straight out 234. Girasole is a better than average Italian; also the Rail Stop. Real suggestion might be the new dining room at Salamander where the entrees are $28-35 and the resort is beautiful. Tavern inside of it has a remarkable amount of character for a brand new building. Alternatively, I would come back into Middleburg where there are a half dozen places. I also happen to love Middleburg and its entrance to the VA wine country.

As an aside I have looked at Yelp perhaps a total of four or five times in the last couple of years. Because there were no posts on here about Salamander I looked at Yelp. A number of the eight or nine comments were breathtakingly bad. I was shocked. My wife and I have walked all over this property, in most of public rooms and had a tour of several of the guest rooms. Some of the Yelp comments are simply wrong. Some seemed petty. Some really seemed to have an agenda, almost competing to be the first to criticize it. No, we have not eaten at Salamander. But while it the resort is a new construction it is still exceptionately nice, especially to come in the evening with a larger group and sit in a tavern like ambience for several drinks. Salamander would be perfect for this. I just don't know about dinner but the menu looked like it might be exactly what you are looking for: http://www.salamanderresort.com/pdf/harrimans%20dinner_ol.pdf Actually, if I had a criticism it would be that it was not as creative as I might have expected. Still, for your purposes, it might be perfect.

For Yelp, it is more reason why it will be a long time before I look at it again.

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Waitman, aren't you looking for "a better than average steak/Italian/French place?" I think you're looking in the wrong direction. I would focus on either The Plains or Middleburg. The Plains is straight out 234. Girasole is a better than average Italian; also the Rail Stop. Real suggestion might be the new dining room at Salamander where the entrees are $28-35 and the resort is beautiful. Tavern inside of it has a remarkable amount of character for a brand new building. Alternatively, I would come back into Middleburg where there are a half dozen places. I also happen to love Middleburg and its entrance to the VA wine country.

As an aside I have looked at Yelp perhaps a total of four or five times in the last couple of years. Because there were no posts on here about Salamander I looked at Yelp. A number of the eight or nine comments were breathtakingly bad. I was shocked. My wife and I have walked all over this property, in most of public rooms and had a tour of several of the guest rooms. Some of the Yelp comments are simply wrong. Some seemed petty. Some really seemed to have an agenda, almost competing to be the first to criticize it. No, we have not eaten at Salamander. But while it the resort is a new construction it is still exceptionately nice, especially to come in the evening with a larger group and sit in a tavern like ambience for several drinks. Salamander would be perfect for this. I just don't know about dinner but the menu looked like it might be exactly what you are looking for: http://www.salamanderresort.com/pdf/harrimans%20dinner_ol.pdf Actually, if I had a criticism it would be that it was not as creative as I might have expected. Still, for your purposes, it might be perfect.

For Yelp, it is more reason why it will be a long time before I look at it again.

On a related (but separate) note, a recent visit to Market Salamander (the gourmet market with ready-made foods) showed that it had not just declined, but fallen off a cliff. It was once worth a stop for a picnic lunch; not any longer.

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Salamander the resort may be a $150-200 million dollar or more investment which could take Middleburg and the western "Virginia wine country" onto the national stage. It is a BIG deal that is worth a number of those who read this experiencing. We would use it as a base for a several day trip to an area that I honestly believe is an "American Tuscany," an East Coast competitor to Napa Valley.

I'm serious. There is excellent wine at RDV, Delaplane, Linden and Glen Manor. Middleburg is a story book beautiful town with a great deal of character. From the Ashby Inn to the Salamander resort this is now on the national stage. It is well worth the investment.

In my opinion Salamander is a Ritz Carlton quality resort.

I write all of this as someone who retired in November and who has probably spent 15 or more days "commuting" from Reston to "Virginia wine country," exploring crossroads, villages and corn fields. I have fallen in absolute love with it. We are incredibly lucky to live so close to a place so beautiful.

To the point, Waitman, have your family and friends go west. They may not find a taco but they'll find a memory.

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Salamander the resort may be a $150-200 million dollar or more investment which could take Middleburg and the western "Virginia wine country" onto the national stage. It is a BIG deal that is worth a number of those who read this experiencing. We would use it as a base for a several day trip to an area that I honestly believe is an "American Tuscany," an East Coast competitor to Napa Valley.

I'm serious. There is excellent wine at RDV, Delaplane, Linden and Glen Manor. Middleburg is a story book beautiful town with a great deal of character. From the Ashby Inn to the Salamander resort this is now on the national stage. It is well worth the investment.

In my opinion Salamander is a Ritz Carlton quality resort.

I write all of this as someone who retired in November and who has probably spent 15 or more days "commuting" from Reston to "Virginia wine country," exploring crossroads, villages and corn fields. I have fallen in absolute love with it. We are incredibly lucky to live so close to a place so beautiful.

To the point, Waitman, have your family and friends go west. They may not find a taco but they'll find a memory.

I would expect Salamander to be of higher quality than Ritz Carlton, although I suppose there are Ritz-Carlton "hotels" and Ritz-Carlton "resorts." I've stayed in Ritz-Carlton hotels (and I'm specifically remembering the one in Phoenix) for $99.

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Waitman, aren't you looking for "a better than average steak/Italian/French place?" I think you're looking in the wrong direction. I would focus on either The Plains or Middleburg. The Plains is straight out 234. Girasole is a better than average Italian; also the Rail Stop. Real suggestion might be the new dining room at Salamander where the entrees are $28-35 and the resort is beautiful. Tavern inside of it has a remarkable amount of character for a brand new building. Alternatively, I would come back into Middleburg where there are a half dozen places. I also happen to love Middleburg and its entrance to the VA wine country.

As an aside I have looked at Yelp perhaps a total of four or five times in the last couple of years. Because there were no posts on here about Salamander I looked at Yelp. A number of the eight or nine comments were breathtakingly bad. I was shocked. My wife and I have walked all over this property, in most of public rooms and had a tour of several of the guest rooms. Some of the Yelp comments are simply wrong. Some seemed petty. Some really seemed to have an agenda, almost competing to be the first to criticize it. No, we have not eaten at Salamander. But while it the resort is a new construction it is still exceptionately nice, especially to come in the evening with a larger group and sit in a tavern like ambience for several drinks. Salamander would be perfect for this. I just don't know about dinner but the menu looked like it might be exactly what you are looking for: http://www.salamanderresort.com/pdf/harrimans%20dinner_ol.pdf Actually, if I had a criticism it would be that it was not as creative as I might have expected. Still, for your purposes, it might be perfect.

For Yelp, it is more reason why it will be a long time before I look at it again.

Joe -- those look like good options but unfortunately take the venture in the wrong direction -- the travel-challenged caucus needs a spot roughly between Catharpin and Dulles.  Maybe get mom out to Middleburg for lunch Saturday, though.  She would be charmed.

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Salamander the resort may be a $150-200 million dollar or more investment which could take Middleburg and the western "Virginia wine country" onto the national stage. It is a BIG deal that is worth a number of those who read this experiencing. We would use it as a base for a several day trip to an area that I honestly believe is an "American Tuscany," an East Coast competitor to Napa Valley.

I'm serious. There is excellent wine at RDV, Delaplane, Linden and Glen Manor. Middleburg is a story book beautiful town with a great deal of character. From the Ashby Inn to the Salamander resort this is now on the national stage. It is well worth the investment.

In my opinion Salamander is a Ritz Carlton quality resort.

I dunno, in my opinion most Ritz Carltons are unbearably cheesy and should be avoided at all costs. Salamander is a beautiful property, and is of far higher quality than any R-C in the DC metro area. That said, I have eaten at Harriman's on several occasions, and attended one event at Salamander since they opened (after all, I live in Paris now). I didn't write up my meals because honestly, they were awful. Not ready for prime time with regard to service or cuisine for either breakfast, dinner or the event. Not to say that things can not/ will not improve, but as you would say, some very real improvements must be made. Sadly, many of our local friends share the same opinion. Here's hoping things get ironed out in short order, hopefully prior to the film festival later this month.

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Really interesting-we were only disappointed with the menu expecting a former Ashby Inn like sense of adventure.  Perhaps I had expected too much but I thought they would do a cutting edge, ambitious menu that people would talk about and help spread the name of the resort.  We thought the menu was more "basic" than we had expected, almost a typical hotel dining room. Because of this we went to the Ashby Inn this past Saturday rather than trying the new Salamander dining room for the first time.

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