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Vermilion, Old Town Alexandria - Chef Thomas Cardarelli Replaces William Morris

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Vermilion hosts a wine dinner each month - typically the first Monday of the month - however August will be a bit different. The restaurant is serving up a five course dinner paired with various beers from Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware. Cost is reasonable at $60 inclusive of tax and tip.

Menu

Passed Appetizers and Tasting
Crab Cigars, Curry Russian Dressing
Goat Cheese Profiterole with Basil and Mint
Grilled Bison Hanging Tenderloin Crostini, Horseradish Cream
Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale

First Course
Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Gorgonzola, Microgreens
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

Second Course
Arugula and Brie Cheese Salad, Dried Apricots, Pumpkin Seeds, Celery Root and Champagne Vinaigrette
Dogfish Head Aprihop

Third Course
Baked Maryland Rockfish, Fingerling Potatoes, Wild Mushrooms, Green Beans, Rosemary Cream Sauce
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Fourth Course
Grilled Bistro Filet Marinated in Chicory Stout, Orange and Soy, Grilled Summer Squash, Shitake Mushroom Glaze
Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

Final Course
Assorted Truffles and Chocolates
Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre


Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 703.684.9669. These events typically fill up pretty quickly, so get in early! Cheers!

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Date? Your post says "typically" the first Monday of the month, but I thought it best to confirm.

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Date? Your post says "typically" the first Monday of the month, but I thought it best to confirm.

Fantastic catch...Sorry!

The beer dinner is August 8th. Passed apps and the first beer will be tasted starting around 6:30 PM with the seated dinner beginning at 7:00.

On an aside, since there have been a few of you following up about the Firkin, Firkin Thursdays are the last Thursday of the month beginning at 6 PM.

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Today's Firkin Thursday happy hour features a keg of Delaware's Dogfish Head 90 Minute India Pale Ale. Chef Bobby Beard presents a selection of featured appetizers to pair with this slightly sweet ale with a smooth malt finish. Continue to enjoy this beer with specials throughout the weekend - even after the firkin is finished. Keg is tapped at 6:00 PM.

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Just a reminder about the Dogfish Head Beer Dinner coming up on Monday at Vermilion in Old Town. There are still a few spaces left for this event.

Cost is $60 inclusive of tax & gratuity.

Passed Appetizers & a "Free" Pour of Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale begins at 6:30 PM with the seated dinner starting around 7.

Reserve space by calling the restaurant at 703.684.9669.

Cheers!

Mel

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Decided to take a stroll down King Street for lunch today and stopped in for a seat at the bar to read the paper and watch some tennis. I have been several times and have had some decent lunches, but the special today was really good.

The special today was 1/2 roasted chicken ($11) (from their dinner menu) and it sounded good so I ordered it. I am glad that I did, the skin was crisp and the meat juicy and tender. It was served with some sautéed beans and mushrooms, along with a portion of pan jus. While the beans were a bit overcooked the mushrooms and well seasoned chicken more than made up for it. I particulary like the fact that the chicken was portioned up and plated so that I was not hacking away at half a carcass.

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Any word on what the beers are for the upcoming firkin Thursdays? And if it's being shifted to a different day this month because of Thanksgiving? Like maybe Friday the 25th?

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Any word on what the beers are for the upcoming firkin Thursdays?  And if it's being shifted to a different day this month because of Thanksgiving?  Like maybe Friday the 25th?

This month's Firkin will be tapped on Thursday the 17th. Stay tuned for more details...

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My wife and I enjoyed a fine meal at Vermilion last night. It was just what we needed after a long day of housework. We've been about three times in the past couple months, and this was by far the best trip. Mrs. M began with a Pomolitan (Vodka, Cointreau, Lime and Pomegranate Juices) -- a drink that is beginning to rival the Daize cocktail at Eve. I started with a glass of Pinot-Noir; served in nice stemware but a bit warm.

I began with a very good Caesar salad -- lots of anchovy flavor. She opted to skip a first-course in order to justify dessert (not me, I'll take an appetizer over dessert any day of the week). For entrees, Mrs. M vacillated between a venison loin special (which sounded very good and the party next to us so declared to us on their way out) and the filet. She opted for the latter and loved it. Cooked perfectly medium-rare, it had a good char and really benefited from the syrah reduction to add some flavor.

But it was my entree that stole the show. Braised veal breast with mustard greens and butternut squash polenta. Served in a deep bowl, the veal fell apart with the touch of the fork. And it was a good thing that I had started with something, because my wife kept asking to for "just one more bite." She even liked the mustard greens (granted, her only other encounter with them was when I made them at home and they turned out almost inedible).

We wrapped up with two cups of very good decaf and, for her, a simple, classic warm-chocolate brownie (nothing earth-shattering, but definitely satisfying).

All-in-all, Vermilion is the type of restaurant that every neighborhood should be blessed with. Casual enough, but still sufficiently refined to justify about $120 for the two of us. The service was good -- our waiter was there when we needed him, but seemed to realize that we just wanted a leisurely meal and allowed this by giving us plenty of time to order and not rushing out the dishes.

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My wife and I went to Vermilion for a pre-Mother's Day dinner. Had a very good meal. My wife has the pan-fired gnocchi for an appetizer. Light, ricotta gnocchi, served, if I remember correctly, in a broth. She also had the filet mignon, cooked just as she ordered it. The filet came with a balsamic-based sauce that was a little sweet. It complemented the steak just fine.

I had the softshell crab appetizer. One softshell in a very light batter (not tempura light, but not overly heavy either). Served with grilled asparagus and lemon-truffle oil. This was delicious. For the main, I had the lamb loin. Cooked just as ordered, a perfect medium rare, but the ends were a little cool (probably from the short wait while my wife's dish was finished). Not a complaint - just an observation. We split an order of the "basil mashed potatoes." These were good, just not very basil-y.

Service was just attentive enough - no hovering, but no long waits for anything either. A very enjoyable meal. I'd like to return soon.

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For the Sonoma wine fans out there, Vermilion is hosting a Summer in Sonoma wine dinner on Monday, June 5th. Our special guest this month is Todd Bennett of Virginia Imports who will take us on a tour of the region through a pre-dinner tasting reception and four course seated dinner. Hope you'll join us!

Summer in Sonoma Wine Dinner
June 5th
6:30 - Passed Hors d'Oeuvres; 7 PM - Seated Dinner
Price is $85 (inclusive of tax & gratuity)

RSVP BY CALLING VERMILION AT 703.684.9669.

MENU
Passed Hors d'Oeuvres
Crispy Kataify-Crusted Oysters with Crème Fraí®che & Paddle Fish Caviar

Grilled Scallops in Salsa Verde
Sautéed Mushroom & Cherry Tomato Ragout in Puff Pastry
Iron Horse Blanc de Blanc (Green Valley)
2005 J Pinot Gris (Russian River)
2004 Schug Pinot Noir (Carneros)

Seated Dinner
Citrus-Glazed Quail Salad
Spring Greens, Pears, Walnuts, Pickled Beets & Goat Cheese
2005 Dry Creek Dry Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg)

Cabernet-Braised Stuffed Squid
Spring Vegetables & Pan Jus
2001 St. Francis Nuns Canyon Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County)
2003 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley)

Grilled Bison Hanger Steak
Boniato Potato Puree, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe, Soy Beans & Blackberry Demi Glace
2003 Murphy-Goode "Snake Eyes" Elaine Maria Vineyards Zinfandel (Alexander Valley)
2003 Bradford Mountain Grist Vyd Syrah (Dry Creek Valley)

Berry Cobbler with Pistachio Ice Cream
2000 J Brut (Russian River Valley)

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Vermillion is a beautiful space, inside and out, in Old Town. Intimate, candlelit, with red and green tones. The food and the service live up to the ambiance.

On a Friday in June, my friend and I were hoping to be seated in the lounge, but it was filled with a mixed

(in every sense of the word) crowd, so we waited a few minutes for a table downstairs. It was worth the 25 minutes.

My friend's cocktail was great, the Gin and Juice, which is citrus-y and refreshing with a perfect kick. I had a Pomolitain, a cosmo with pomegranate and lime, that was beautifully crafted but just didn't do it for me; I'd explore the other cocktails, coolers, and wines by the glass before I came back to that.

Our server was kind enough to sneak us over a lounge menu even though I think that's against policy for the regular tables. We ordered house-cut fries with horeseradish sauce and ketchup (!), the fontina risotto fritters (!!!), and the crab cigars with russian curry dressing (!!!). The fries were perfectly crispy and golden, cut small and thin, and presented in a paper-lined cone. The three fritters were perfectly golden crisp on the outside, then the rich and creamy risotto and cheese melts in your mouth. They are VERY RICH, so proceed with caution.

The crab cigars...wow. The fresh sweetness of the crab shines through, which is the highest compliment I can give any crab dish. The seasonings were excellent, and crispy, savory wonton-y wrappers held everything together well while still "giving" perfectly to the bite. I could eat these until I burst. I seriously considered walking up to the bar and saying, "I'd like the all-you-can-eat crab cigars, please," just to see if I could do it with a straight face. From now on, I will make sure I get these with whatever else at Vermillion. They are one of those things that becomes a staple.

We finished up with the warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and fudge sauce, which was very good but I'd try the other items before revisiting it.

Cocktails, three small and very good plates, and a decent dessert...all for $25 each. With really friendly service and gorgeous atmosphere. Not bad. :unsure:

So, overall, Vermillion is worth a trip to Old Town. I will be back, but there are a lot of places I need to "check off my list" first. Plus...my heart still belongs primarily to sister restaurant Tallula. (And Derek.)

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Chittum, 30, who has watched over two locations for almost two years, is leaving the District for Northern Virginia, where he'll take over the kitchen at Vermilion in Old Town in mid-March

Congrats, it's more than awesome to see/hear/read what this group has been up to. I feel honored and privilged to have worked for the people that I call my friends, introduced me to my passion and taught me what it is to understand and manage a restaurant. I can't wait to see what else the NRG has to offer.

Thanks Y'all

Eric

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Any word on Bobby's next abode?

He's going to Las Vegas.

Welcome, Tony! A good move for both you and Vermilion, I think.

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. Expect more musical chairs in the new few weeks!

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This is just a (admittedly unapologetically favorable) quickie review. I'll do more later but these are just impressions from our dinner last night at Vermilion.

1. Tony Chittum is a fish god. If Tony Chittum is the chef and fish is on the menu, order it. Even if you don't like fish, you'll like his (maybe not, but give it a try anyway).

2. The new menu is rich, extravagant and damned tasty (and the cost well in line with the other NRG restaurants). If the courses we had last night were representative (and I have no reason to believe they weren't), you could almost close your eyes and order and be fed well.

3. The service is thoughtful, quick, informative about the food and wines and non-intrusive when it should be. The wait staff is to be commended on the excellent service. David, Brendan and Julie made our dinner a thing of delight.

4. Like every other restaurant in the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the wine selection is varied, reasonably priced and very good. I had a Venezuelan Malbec that was outstanding, it was just one of the wine pairings, all of the selected wines were excellent complements to the food served.

I'll add the menu we were served and the wines that accompanied them this afternoon when I have more time, but the two of us were absolutely blown away by the experience we had.

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I had a Venezuelan Malbec that was outstanding

Venezuelan malbec? I've never heard of a wine industry in Venezuela, let alone one that exports. But that's okay. I'm not Mr. Vino le Grape and don't claim to be.

But outstanding? Seriously? :o

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Venezuelan malbec? I've never heard of a wine industry in Venezuela, let alone one that exports. But that's okay. I'm not Mr. Vino le Grape and don't claim to be.

But outstanding? Seriously? :o

Outstanding, yep. As to Venezuelan, that might be a bit of a hazy memory. After all, it did come with the 4th course. I can't find my notes from dinner which makes it even more frustrating.

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After we dropped off my wife's car to get re-fixed again, we went to Vermilion. One of the changes under Chef Chittum is the addition of a "fixed price" menu of 4 courses, sort of a mini-tasting menu, and able to be paired with appropriate wines.. We were told that the menu would change periodically, in accordance with what is available. The menu last night was:

Crudo^2 (scallop with fennel and blood orange; and shrimp with horseradish, sun-dried tomatoes and basil) (paired with an Austrian white)

Rockfish with a crispy oyster and "celery three ways"(paired wit han unoaked Chardonnay

"mini rack of lamb" (2 chops) with mint taglierini and yogurt (paired with The Stump Jump)

and dessert of a bitter chocolate cheesecake (paired with "Boots" non-vintage sparkling red from Australia).

This is an excellent meal. The scallop part of the crudo was the least successful for us - we're not fans of raw seafood (sorry) but it was done well. The shrimp was really good with the horseradish bite and the tomato sourness. The rockfish was the hit of the night - done simply and supported by a celeriac puree. The lamb was done to a perfect medium well.

This is also an excellent value -- the 4 courses are $50; the wine pairings add $20 for what seemed to be relatively generous pours.

(They also had a shad roe preparation on the appetizer menu, but since we have the 4 course, we didn't get to try it.)

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Oxymoron alert!

It that's they the way they like it, then it's perfect!

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