Joe H Posted September 4, 2006 Share Posted September 4, 2006 My wife and I have adopted the Sunday habit of driving to Leesburg for excellent salads and exemplery soup at Kevin Malone's rustic Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg. The front of this is a tavern that we've enjoyed for a number of years, especially on a cold winter's night. Recently, we learned that he had opened a new restaurant in Purcellville, about 15 miles further out into Loudoun County. Today, with the temperature hovering around 80 we put the top down and drove out to explore. To say that Magnolia is a converted grain silo from the 19th century is an injustice. To say that it sits at the absolute end of the Old Dominion Railroad trail does not capture the ambience of sitting on the patio overlooking the trail. This is a five story high mill that has seen at least several million dollars worth of investment. The result is an absolutely breathtaking wooden cathedral with ceilings approaching a fifth or six floor, planked flooring and brick and stone in every direction. Why Sietsema hasn't been out here yet is absolutely beyond me: it opened two years ago. Our expectation was for the same food that we have found in Leesburg at Tuscarora. Our disappointment was not finding it. This is a very abbreviated "review" since we only scratched the surface of this remarkable restaurant's menu. My hope is that Kevin Malone, the owner, might read it and change a few things before Sietsema or Kliman decide to take a Sunday drive to Purcellville. My wife and I each ordered a soup, one the soup of the day which essentially was chicken broth with a few veggies. The other was a very good version of Rao's Vodka Sauce for pasta. Neither was on par with the excellent half dozen soups we've had over the years at Tuscarora Mill. We each had the salad of the day. What is important about my comment is the size of the "dinner" salad: anemically small. In Leesburg dinner salads are not nearly as large as, say, Houston's or Sweetwater. But they are better, perhaps, much better. And a bit larger. At least twelve bites if not more. This was considerably smaller than what we have found in Leesburg. After eight or nine bites we were finished. I've never measured a salad before by the number of bites but the size of this inspired that consideration-there were so few! When I later received the check I could not believe that these salads could cost as much as they did: approximately a dollar a bite! Even the best flavored lettuce does not warrant this. Entrees being served around the room and on the patio looked delicious: we thought that, maybe, we had ordered wrong which would justify a return. After all, we fell in love with the ambience and the incredible effect that the remodelling of the building had on diners: gorgeous, atmospheric, the fantasy realization of anyone driving through the Virginia countryside looking for a good restaurant with a great deal of "personality" to have dinner at. This was it. But at least a few courses need work. We'll be back soon for the main courses and dessert. Definitely worth the trip, if only for a glass of wine... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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