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goldenticket

Tuscarora Mill, Harrison Street in Leesburg

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Saturday found us at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg. It was the first time I’d been there and it served the intended purpose (lunch with mother and grandmother) quite nicely. The back room where we were seated had 2 walls of windows, along with a raised ceiling that included some stained glass, so it was a very bright and cheery space. The interior dining room (which retains some of the original components from the building’s days as a mill) is darker, lots of wood, with various quilts on display above eye level. I know the place is also an evening hot spot in the area...hard to see it in daylight, but when the choices are limited...

I started with the corn chowder which was creamy and loaded with yellow corn that appeared to have been cut from the cob. The bacon added a smoky flavor and the ‘potato hay’ provided a little crunch (and a little grease). Another member of the party started with the soup du jour, which was a White Allagash soup – kind of a cream of ham that was well received, but looked and sounded mighty rich.

For mains, two of us had the reuben (one turkey, one -me- corned beef). I thought it was average as far as reubens go. The rye ciabatta was a little overwhelming – too much bread for the contents of the sandwich, which were on the dry side and a little short on sauerkraut (IMHO). The housemade chips were crunchy but not as good as others I’ve had.

Another member of the party had the beef tenderloin fondue with gorgonzola sauce and was very happy with it. Plenty big to be shared as an appetizer, it was certainly generous enough for a main course. The fourth had a selection from the day’s specials – a lemon/rosemary roasted chicken served with whipped potatoes. The chicken was very nicely seasoned and topped with a bit of a lemon sauce. Half of the juicy half chicken went home for later enjoyment and was given two thumbs up by chicken lover* who ordered it.

(Perhaps one of the nicest things is the location....directly across from the Mighty Midget! We had to pick up some pulled pork and a half rack of ribs that will make a tasty dinner tonight)

* not THAT kind of chicken lover for you South Park watchers out there… <_<

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As much as I like the gazpacho at the new Black's in Bethesda Tuscarora Mill's gazpacho may be better. My wife and I have been several times in the past month, sitting in the "tavern" in the front each time. Soup is a real strength of this kitchen with the gazpacho having kernals of fresh sweet corn lending an added dimension of crunch and texture. Sweet red pepper laced with cream was another delicious soup this evening-depth and a great deal of flavor. Salads are also very good with the "Saigon chicken salad" a standout. Several of their salads including this incorporate sliced heirloom tomatoes as well as other local vegetables in season.

I've never been a fan of their dining room, finding it rather plain. But for years we've really enjoyed the front of the restaurant which reminds me of a kind of "tavern."

A note about their wine: an excellent Wine Spectator award winning list. I had two glasses of 2004 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Barossa Cuvée this evening and almost choked when I saw the $11.00 per glass price.

Paul's has it on sale for $13.99 a BOTTLE.

Still, we'll go back as we have for years. I'll just pay more attention to the pricing on the wine list in the future.

Edited by Joe H

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Tuscarora Mill, I'd like to mention, also has a nice bar, with a good selection of beers on tap, and at least when I've been there, friendly and knowledgable bartenders. Good barfood, too.

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Tonight we dined at the Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg it's 30-45 minutes from Tyson's Corner where 7 meets the highway.

203 Harrison Street SE, Market Station, Leesburg, VA 20175 (703) 771 9300 www.tuskies.com

We started with delicious bread with a nice sea-salt rub on it. The amuse bouche was soup shots... I'm not keen on veggies I took a sip passed to hubby and regretted that, so I was an "indian giver" and took it back for a second sip.

We shared appetzers I got the Hudson Valley Foie Gras with peaches and other garnishments over toast points.

Hubby got the Crabcake with avocado cream and corn and tomatoes. It had a tiny bit of shell in it he said, but I wasn't so "lucky" but all in all we both agreed both appetizers were tasty.

Our waitress was a perky gal with dark hair very sweet and extremely great in suggestions/helpful hints.

For hubby's main course he got the Tuna Ahi rare over potatoes and mixed roasted veggies. I got the duck with a cherry sauce but I was torn about getting the "meat and meat" appetizer of brisket and short ribs... our waitress asked Chef if he could add it and she came out and asked me if I would like a small sampling added - for $8.00 more it was MORE than worth it, hubby helped himself to it too! It crumbled on the fork deliciously and with the sauce she brought out it made it even more perfect.

We declined desserts because we were about to explode. :lol:

All told with an amuse bouche (on the house) 2 appetizers and 2 main courses and half a dozen drinks the bill with a well deserved tip and tax came to under $125.00 for two.

I will definitely be returning here, the service was 4 stars the food was 4 1/2 stars (would have been 5 if the bit of crab shell wasn't in the crabcake) the atmosphere was 3 1/2 stars the back room we were in was pretty with stained glass panes and a lovely wall mural and well lit, but the room with the bar was dark and not very inviting, maybe they can add accent lighting or something?!

If you're living anywhere between Arlington/Alexandria and Chantilly and points North or East of those you may definitely want to consider it. It is left immediately after the Route 7 split in Leesburg.

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We live over in Winchester, so it is about a 45 min drive, but fortunatly was well worth it.

Amuse started with Watermelon topped with Goat Cheese and a drizzle of balsamic, very refreshing way to start the meal.

The apps looked so good we decided to make a meal of them.

Started with the previously mentioned Corn Chowder, that was heavy on the cream, in a good way, and loaded with veggies, a very nice start to the meal.

Tomato tart was warm, covered with a nice helping of goat cheese and freshly cut basil, mmmm. Roasted Figs with Humbolt Fog Cheese, Fennel Salad, Prosciutto was suprisingly bland, though the roasted macadamia nuts were a nice touch.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad was very nicely dressed with wine poached pears and a crusted goat cheese.

The standout of the night Crisp Chesapeake Oysters. 6 large oysters very nicely crusted in a light batter, topped with a curry aioli and wonderful creamed spinach under each oyster. This dish was perfect, perfect batter, perfectly cooked, the oysters were still nice and plump, and the spinach was to die for.

Finally finished with the Foie Gras. This was hit and miss. A nice size of foie was cooked perfectly. The accompaniments were rather lame. Being peach season, the "roasted peaches" sounded great, but in actuality was little more than a warm thumb sized piece of peach. Pistachio-Onion marmalade wasnt a marmalade at all, more of a dry mix of pistachios and what looked like walnuts. "Grilled Ciabatta" amounted to three tiny pieces of what tasted like bagel crisps. So much potential...

The Warm Butterscotch Bread Pudding was a great finale, very moist and flavorful, said to be their best seller and i can see why.

Tried both the speciality drinks, the Peach Ginger Martini was wonderful, a much better representation of in season peaches than the previously mentioned attempt. The Mango Mojito was also very nice and refreshing, with just a touch of mango flavor, and a great fresh mint taste.

Our waiter was great, very personable character with a thick Boston accent that every table seemed to enjoy joking with him about.

At 8:30-9:00 the restaurant side was pretty empty for a friday night, but the bar was hopping, and looked like a great place to spend the evening with friends.

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Tuscarora Mill Lounge, Leesburg. For me and Wife, a glass each of white burgundy, split the calamari, goat cheese (rolled and fried, yummy) salad, and a French Dip sandwich. Very nice experience.

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I was wondering whether anyone had been here recently. Considering heading up to the Lansdowne for Valentine's and having dinner at Tuscarora, but would like to know whether it's gone downhill before finalizing the plans. (And if someone has a better rec for up there, let me know that too - I did a search but this seemed like the most likely candidate.)

TIA. ;)

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I was wondering whether anyone had been here recently. Considering heading up to the Lansdowne for Valentine's and having dinner at Tuscarora, but would like to know whether it's gone downhill before finalizing the plans. (And if someone has a better rec for up there, let me know that too - I did a search but this seemed like the most likely candidate.)

TIA. ;)

We haven't had dinner at Tuskie's in a couple of years in their dining room. Having said this we've had dinner in their bar area an average of every two months or so for years and continue to love this place.

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I was wondering whether anyone had been here recently. Considering heading up to the Lansdowne for Valentine's and having dinner at Tuscarora, but would like to know whether it's gone downhill before finalizing the plans. (And if someone has a better rec for up there, let me know that too - I did a search but this seemed like the most likely candidate.)

TIA. ;)

I haven't been there in sevearl years, but we had a great time when we did dine there last. If you go, please post your thoughts.

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I'll simply note that Tuscarora is Native American for "hemp gatherer"....

If the menu has nothing but desserts on it, that'll be the sign I'll be kissing my security clearance goodbye...

Thanks for the responses. I have a reservation and will report back. It'll be interesting to see how they do for V-Day - OpenTable had nothing before 9:30, but I'm going to call tomorrow to see if they have any openings earlier. If not, I'll bet it'll be hopping!

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Fair warning: this is a pan.

Pan disclaimer: I went in with very high expectations.

Where to begin? Seared beef fondue ($9) with blue cheese sauce and truffle salt. I can't think of a better word to describe this than bland. I actually had to add salt to it from my tableside shaker - I haven't done that since I was eight. I got no hint of truffle, the beef tasted like nothing, and the blue cheese sauce had zero blue cheese bite. Totally insipid.

I have never had bad (tasting) oysters. Maybe it's because I only ever order them at places like Passionfish, or where I can literally throw the empty shells back into the Atlantic, or maybe I'm just lucky. The oysters we had at Tuskies were awful. I think of oysters with mignonette and I think: bright, fresh. There's just something zesty and zingy about them. These were flat and maybe even a little pink.

My grilled duck with port mole sauce ($24) was okay. But just okay. My wife's steak was also "just okay." For dessert I had some really good chocolate ganache that was fried in some really bad (read: flavorless) breading.

One thing that surprised me was that this place was packed on a Tuesday.

Anyway - it's really hard to complain about something being "just okay," but we did mention about the oysters and beef fondue. The waiter was apologetic, and in fairness did comp the oysters (I guess they noticed something a little off, too).

We really wanted to like the place, too, but the bottom line is that it would take a lot of really strong endorsements - I mean like Don bolds it in the dining guide - for us to go back.

If you ask a lot of chefs (or any professional) what the most important quality is in a new chef, that bit that can't be trained, it's passion. I define passion as, "do you fucking CARE"? When you toast bread, do you toss it under the broiler for a few minutes and just say, "eh, it's toasted," or do you really pay attention and toast the fucking bread like it's the most important piece of bread that's ever been toasted in the history of the universe and oh shit, that end's a little more golden, I better stay here and make sure it comes out just right?

Our meal came across like it was cooked without passion.

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Wife & I had dinner Saturday night at Tuscarora Mill, we were both very happy with our meals. The restaurant was packed and quite busy (and a bit noisy). We started out with their salad special, which was excellent - loaded with roasted pecans. Then I had their lamb special, while my wife had their trout. Both were wonderful main dishes. We finished with their butterscotch bread pudding - decadent but tasted great. Overall, another wonderful meal at one of the finest restaurants in the outer Virginia suburbs.

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