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Field & Main, from Neal and Star Wavra - Chef Anthony Nelson Comes to Marshall, VA from Nashville


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Greetings DR enthusiasts.  I am pleased to see that there is a thread for Field & Main.  My wife and I are in the process of developing a community restaurant in Marshall, VA.  Post Ashby Inn, we launched our event and consulting company FABLE Hospitality.  In tandem, we began looking for a venue to open a restaurant of our own.  Marshall came onto our radar and we began looking in town for a space.  The building that was most recently occupied by the O'Bannon family went on the market and everything about it said restaurant. We purchased the building and came to find out that the original part of the structure was built in 1790, but in about 1830 a landowner and entrepreneur, John Flowerlee, purchased the small two room house and added a three story structure for the purpose of feeding and housing the public.  So, it is our great pleasure to be restoring the building for its initial intended use!

The restaurant will have about 75 seats and will serve farm to table fare cooked principally over hardwoods on a large hearth.  There will be a small bar area as well.

More details to come.  Updates will be posted here, on Facebook, and on our website.

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another reason for me to make more frequent trips home.

I was hoping for a Ben & Mary's renaissance but this will be a better building if I remember which one it is. and not all that much further from the house I grew up in. Certainly closer than Paris.

Waiting with bated hreath...

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Marshall will be right at the top of the NOVA "good eats per capita" rankings when these places open. We discovered Red Truck bakery during a soccer tournament last fall and I was in there three times in two days.

Red Truck Bakery's Stollen was a big hit at the holidays.

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A friend posted a picture of members of the O'Bannon family (who owned the building before, next to their hardware store) seated at a table "celebrating the opening of Field & Main" on facebook so I assume the opening is imminent and this was some sort of friends and family thing...

sincerely, your Denver-based Fauquier County correspondent.

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The menu is up on their website and I just received this email today:

Dear Friends,
 
The September 1 official opening of our first restaurant, Field & Main in Marshall, Virginia is nearing.  We wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your continued words of encouragement and support. They have meant a great deal.
 
To date we have conducted a few trial run meals to test our menus and service. This has helped us prepare for the official launch. That said, there is a week to go before the first and for those of you who are interested, we will be accepting a select number of reservations for this Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday dinner. If you would like to make a reservation for one of those days, please email us at info@fieldandmainrestaurant.com or call 540-364-8166.
 
Thank you once again for your support and we are so very excited to welcome you to Field & Main.
 
Cheers,
 
Star & Neal

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Friday night 7:30 pm, second night open, dinner with my family (wife and 12yo son).

Neal proved a wonderful host, the experience was friendly and efficient. We shared a family meal of a chicken, salad, macncheese, bread w/bacon butter, crispy potatoes. Opened with deviled eggs, philly-cheese-style. All told about $85 w/20% tip. A good value for three.

It's true: A chicken is an excellent first test for a chef, and this one was an A+.. The mac was the only disappointment, last-minute surprise substitute for sold-out corn pudding. Bread was a wow (what served w/bacon butter isn't?), the potatoes terrific. The salad (vg vinaigerette) was a pleasant surprise, the eggs an interesting appetizer.

Hoping Thurs thru Mon dinners expands to include brunch and perhaps lunch and breakfast. It's a nice place run by good people and that always sells well around here. Combine that with Marshall's new food angle and there should be crowds clamoring for a Sunday brunch!

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Was there on Saturday evening, will be back this coming Saturday evening as well. Shocking that the restaurant had only had two "official" dinner services prior to our dinner - things ran extremely smoothly. Everyone in our party enjoyed their meals - and the four children in our party really enjoyed the thoughtful touches that Field & Main has included for little ones. I'm scant on notes since it was our first trip in (and am unabashedly biased :) ) but hugely enjoyed our meal and look forward to heading there often. Also, for fans of the Ashby Inn - Bernie and Brian are among the Field and Main wait staff!

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Friday night 7:30 pm, second night open, dinner with my family (wife and 12yo son).

Neal proved a wonderful host, the experience was friendly and efficient. We shared a family meal of a chicken, salad, macncheese, bread w/bacon butter, crispy potatoes. Opened with deviled eggs, philly-cheese-style. All told about $85 w/20% tip. A good value for three.

It's true: A chicken is an excellent first test for a chef, and this one was an A+.. The mac was the only disappointment, last-minute surprise substitute for sold-out corn pudding. Bread was a wow (what served w/bacon butter isn't?), the potatoes terrific. The salad (vg vinaigerette) was a pleasant surprise, the eggs an interesting appetizer.

Hoping Thurs thru Mon dinners expands to include brunch and perhaps lunch and breakfast. It's a nice place run by good people and that always sells well around here. Combine that with Marshall's new food angle and there should be crowds clamoring for a Sunday brunch!

10 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

Was there on Saturday evening, will be back this coming Saturday evening as well. Shocking that the restaurant had only had two "official" dinner services prior to our dinner - things ran extremely smoothly. Everyone in our party enjoyed their meals - and the four children in our party really enjoyed the thoughtful touches that Field & Main has included for little ones. I'm scant on notes since it was our first trip in (and am unabashedly biased :) ) but hugely enjoyed our meal and look forward to heading there often. Also, for fans of the Ashby Inn - Bernie and Brian are among the Field and Main wait staff!

The word is going to get out - consider this the embryonic stage of that process.

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Thank you all for your comments. We are delighted to welcome the community to Field & Main. Monday capped our first week open and it was deeply gratifying on many levels to have many friends and acquaintances around tables filled with VA food and drink.  Our building on Main Street was an eatery in the late 1800s and she pressed back into service with class. I am excited to see how this restaurant and its service to the community evolves. Here's to an exciting beginning. 

Cheers,

neal

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Here's a cool article from the Post on Neal Wavra being Virginia's unofficial wine ambassador

Here's an even cooler excerpt about their house wines:

Field & Main’s house wines — white, red and rosé — are keg wines produced at Early Mountain Vineyards by winemaker Ben Jordan. They are delicious, and affordably priced at $7 for a five-ounce glass or $29 for a liter (about 6½ glasses).

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My wife and I had a very nice meal here 2 saturday's ago.  It's more modern than the Ashby Inn, yet also more rustic.  The building is very old and has a bit of an Ashby vibe, but the wall art, furnishings, plates, and just about everything else is more modern.  The food, on the other hand, is not as gourmet and refined, as Ashby.  It's a little more "country rustic" whatever that means.

The menu has three categories - - Appetizers, Mains and Sides and it's ala carte.  Some of the "appetizers" are appetizers (Buffalo--style crispy pig's ears with blue cheese and hot sauce) but others make a nice companion to one of the main dishes ( Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with White Wine, Yuzu, Parmesan & Truffle Oil).    You sort of build your own menu by ordering an app or two for an appetizer and fill it out with a main or two and an "appetizer" or a side to go along with it.  

My wife and I split the 16 oz Black Angus Ribeye with Foie Gras sauce ($49) and had the Brussels Sprouts from the Apps menu and the Crispy Potatoes and garlic for the dinner portion of the meal and we started with the Buffalo (wings) Pig Ears and Seared Scallops for apps.  All were very good and we were too stuffed to get any desserts.

The wine choices are both interesting and affordable.  There's a big portion of the wine list devoted to Virginia wine (left side) and then there's a more traditional wine list, but (to me) the most interesting part is the 3 wines on tap......a red, a white and a rose', all from Early Mountain Vineyards in VA.  It's $7 for a glass (nice pours), $19 for 500 ml and $24 (?? can't remember) for 1000 ml.  We started with a glass of rose' which was wonderful and then moved on to 500 ml of white, which was also wonderful.  We intended to have a glass of red with the meat, but the white lasted too long (not a bad problem to have).   If you go with the wines on tap, it's a VERY affordable way to drink local and still drink well.

Neil, of course, is a fantastic host and master of hospitality, and makes you feel like royalty when you're there.  If our current president elect is reading this, your best move would be to hire Neil for remedial graciousness and politeness lessons!

A word to the wise about traveling in small town VA:  The cops out there like to pull  a move that is, at best, barely legal, but really, probably illegal.  They set up roadblocks where they are "checking to see if you have a driver's license", but I'm pretty sure it's a way to stop every car on the road and check to see if you've been drinking.  I was a victim of one of these road blocks on a random saturday afternoon in Linden, and friends of ours got nabbed on a random Wednesday night in Marshall.  Who knew there were so many people driving without a license!?!?!?  So just be careful out there, the 4th Amendment ain't what it used to be.

PS - I forgot to mention that they have a small bar room in the back which has it's own, separate menu.  Not sure what's on it, but we did see a very fat hamburger making it's way back there.  This looks like a nice place to pop in for a quick drink if you're in the area.

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I'm pleased to report our Thanksgiving meal at Field and Main was outstanding in every regard. The restaurant is located in a converted house, so there are two or three dining areas, including a small area in the kitchen. Another room contains a bar as well as some tables, but that area wasn't in use during our meal.

The decor is very subtle, but very stylish. The cutlery, dishes, and stemware are all of very high quality. One of the serving dishes seemed familiar looking, and sure enough, it was made by Cloud Terre, the same company Kinship uses. 

Our waiter, Ryan, was fantastic, which was no surprise given his background at a number of great DC restaurants. He provided some extra touches during our meal, such as offering to serve us half glasses of our wine pairings, that we really appreciated. 

I'll forego most details, but every single thing we had was delicious, and the wine pairings were great matches for the entrees. (I forgot to get a copy of the menu, but someone posted a picture of it on yelp). The menu provided a choice of four entrees, and we chose the prime rib and the turkey. The prime rib was beefy, smoky, and perfectly cooked, and it was served with tallow onions, which looked innocent enough, but turned out to be melt-in-your mouth delicious. The turkey was tender and moist, and I'd say its some of the best I've ever eaten. In addition to a generous portion of sliced white meat, it was served with a portion of cold dark meat morsels that had been fashioned into a salad consisting of brussels sprouts leaves, pomegranates, and a light vinaigrette. 

We had a chance to chat with Neal Wavra, one of the owners, and he could not have been any nicer. We passed our compliments to his entire team.

Very much looking forward to a return visit.

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Figured I would bump this up since we had such a great meal here on Sunday.

First let me say, we live in Winchester, and have never been to Marshall, even though we had eaten at Ashby Inn and followed this thread.  The area where the restaurant is located looks as if the food gods decided to drop a bunch of culinary treats in the middle of nowhere, no offense to Marshall.  Basically on one block sits Red Truck Bakery, Gentle Harvest, the Whole Ox, Cordial Coffee, and Field and Main, my apologies if I missed anyone.

After going over too many items on the menu to decide on, we settled on The Feast.  At 69 dollars, this was a great way to try a large portion of the menu, and in my opinion a great value.

Standouts:

The buffalo pigs ears, the roasted cauliflower and pickled vegetable plate, piquillo stuffed pepper, and crispy potatoes. For an extra 10p/p we upgraded to the ribeye, and it was worth every penny, and a large piece of meat.

At the end of the meal, with my wife glancing to the kitchen, Mr. Warva was kind enough to literally take us in the kitchen to see the setup of the hearth, its incredible.  We also joked about Don's attempts to go "incognito" while dining at Mr. Wavra's restaurants.

For a early Sunday night I was surprised how busy it was. I will give Mr. Wavra credit, the fine line he pulls off between fancy/downhome food, price, and environment is quite an accomplishment.

Daniel S.

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46 minutes ago, DanielS said:

For a early Sunday night I was surprised how busy it was. I will give Mr. Wavra credit, the fine line he pulls off between fancy/downhome food, price, and environment is quite an accomplishment.

Daniel S.

Daniel,

I agree - Field & Main is a wonderful and well-run restaurant. Do you think the style of cuisine is heavy? I'm not necessarily saying that in a pejorative sense, but I don't think I've ever had a light course here, although I've tried.

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8 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Daniel,

I agree - Field & Main is a wonderful and well-run restaurant. Do you think the style of cuisine is heavy? I'm not necessarily saying that in a pejorative sense, but I don't think I've ever had a light course here, although I've tried.

I think it depends on what you consider light. I was there last Monday (btw, most restaurants out here aren’t open Monday but F&M is) and had a gnocchi with ramp pesto and soft shells with corn salsa.

The gnocchi were light and airy enough to have been Frank Ruta’s and the soft shells and corn were an ideal summer dish. There was also an interesting scallop dish on the menu that seemed like a lighter choice along with a vegetarian option - which I know doesn’t automatically mean “light”, but my dining companion enjoyed it.

Neal is also offering a “wine game” on Monday nights which is also a good time. 

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Don,

I will say this, I cant say at anytime during the meal I thought, "this is alot of heavy food." That being said when looking over what we ate, it could be described that way. Most of the items do have some form of cheese, croutons, sauces, etc.  We did actually substitute the hearth baked skillet cookies and ice cream dessert for corn ice cream sandwiches and basil cakes, thinking we would be too full.  We were told to start thinking of boxing food as the dinner progressed, of course all that was left was a small piece of ribeye to take home.  Granted we did order the Feast, and that is what we literally got. I believe these were full size versions of what is on the menu. 

Let me expand briefly on the high-wire act going on that is so impressive.  The location of the restaurant lends itself to many different levels of income/backgrounds.  I know i read in an interview Mr. Wavra mentioned to the effect of wanting to open a place where a farmer could sit down and feel comfortable to eat.  With its proximity to horse country there is a lot of money, at the same time, many of these people do still think of themselves as simple farmers if you will.  The food and the environment lend themselves perfectly to this.  Lastly, and probably most importantly, Mr. Wavra standing at the door at 5pm on a Sunday evening greeting new and obviously many frequent guests.

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11 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I've sat there twice - it's a wonderful place to dine if you enjoy watching the food being prepared.(Get the Glen Manor Sauvignon Blanc.)

Thank you! That helps with the seating decision. I also appreciate the wine recommendation. Any reds on the list that you would recommend?

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On 9/12/2018 at 9:22 PM, curls said:

Thank you! That helps with the seating decision. I also appreciate the wine recommendation. Any reds on the list that you would recommend?

The Glen Manor Hodder Hill. :)

Don't forget about one of the single greatest things ever written on the internet: "The Virginia 2010 Vintage" by Jeff White.

Also, curls, I would write Neal Wavra and let him know you're coming - I know Neal well enough so that I'm comfortable advising you to do this without him thinking this is some sort of fleecing operation; he won't dole out free appetizers; he'll merely give you an honest recommendation for the best things you should order on that evening. He's a wonderful person, and knows Virginia wines as well as anyone. When I went there, I didn't say hello to him, and I felt like a creep for not having done so (this is when I was going to review it (I've actually been to Field & Main twice, and Sfoglina three times, all in the intended spirit of writing reviews which I didn't do because I was injured)).

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Field and Main is doing blind tastings on Thursday nights that you can follow along on Facebook.  Neal Warva leads the tasting and discussion and other people chime in with comments.  I did the one last Thursday and it was a lot of fun.  You can revisit past one as well, so you don't have to tune in live if you can't at the time.  Here's the message from their site:

 

Mystery Wine Game With Neal Every Thursday at 7:00pm

Join Neal live on Facebook every Thursday at 7:00pm and play the Mystery Wine Game! Neal will blind taste a wine that staff selects for him - and you!

If you'd like to grab your own bottle of the mystery and play along you can pre-order via the link below.

Either way there will be lots of Q&A available throughout. All you have to do is show up at 7:00pm on our FB page and watch! No sign up necessary.

Be sure to download your F&M tasting sheet here!

Order Your Mystery Wine Here

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If you have seen the latest Chef's Table BBQ with Lennox Hastie, who only cooks with fire, but cant make it to Australia, take a trip to Field and Main!

Highlights:

Lets start with the Hearth.  Unlike most places, they arent afraid to put some serious char on bread, veggies, steak, etc and the results are amazing.

Speaking of the house made bread with a huge smear of butter, corn, peanuts, etc. trust me just go ahead and order two, its that good.

Corn, Corn, Corn and Tomatoes - Corn on the cob, corn on the bread plate, corn cake, corn bread pudding, even corn ice cream!  Exactly what I would want to see at this time of the year on a restaurants menu.

Outdoor Cabanas - From the moment Neil's emails mentioned reopening these seem to be a hot ticket. It took us a few weeks out to get a weekend reservation.  They are awesome, totally private, large spaces.  From now on I want all my meals in a cabana.

We take Coronavirus very seriously, and we didnt have a moment where we didnt feel totally safe.  The service is wonderful, everyone in masks, paper menus, even expandable sanitizing towels on the table, beware they look like mints.  I might have played a joke on my wife.

Thanks to Neil and the staff at Field and Main.  I am sure like many restaurants, especially those owned by individuals, the last few months have been incredibly stressful, frustrating, and depressing.  Its great to see you back on your feet, and just want to let you know as a guest, it is great to be able to have a beautiful night out in a restaurant again.

 

Daniel S 

 

 

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Had a lovely spur of the moment dinner at Field and Main this past Sunday. We hadn't been in a couple of months, so the menu had turned over considerably. 

Our amuse was a strawberry/ rhubarb soup "shooter", which showcased both the rhubarb and some vinegar - I liked the focus on the rhubarb as opposed to the strawberry as the main note, and I always consider the use of vinegars (most by Lindera, I believe) as a hallmark of cooking at Field & Main since it opened.

Highlights were the Italian Wedding soup, almost more of a minestrone with meatballs to my thinking, with the addition of turnips. The soup was excellent, despite Sunday being a VERY hot day - fortunately we ate inside.

Fried Broccoli was also an excellent starter - my wife especially liked the pickled broccoli stems and kimchi puree.

Mains were tempura fried softshell crab, the tempura shatteringly crisp, and balanced out by bok choy and beet greens - I got a bite or two of this, though didn't detect the fresno chili sauce - which could have been due to the fact that I had a paltry couple bites! I had the seared scallops, which were fantastic and included a dashi, though the dish isn't on the online menu, so the specific details are lost to time.

Our kids enjoyed the smashburger x 2, which they always love, and the Feast Chocolate Chip cookie (subbing caramel ice ream for vanilla) and a dish of vanilla ice cream.

Wine was a Domaine Chappelle Santenay from 2015 - nice burgundy and fairly priced.

Appeared as though all the cabanas were occupied and F&M was headed for a busy Sunday night - which is wonderful news. Our meal and service was superlative and we look forward to dropping in again soon!

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