Jump to content

3 Bar and Grill (i.e., Restaurant 3), Clarendon - Chef Brian Robinson on Clarendon Blvd. - Closed


Recommended Posts

From "The List":

Restaurant 3 -- Look for American classics at the former Clarendon site of the Aegean Tavern. A vintage, turn-of-the-century bar will be the focal point of the art deco-themed interior. A June opening is targeted. (2930 Clarendon Boulevard, Clarendon, VA)

Turn of which century laugh.gif

I noticed that as of last month, "The List" said Restaurant 3 will be opening early July. I found some more info about the restaurant here including:

"Executive Chef Brian Robinson trained under Terrell Danley, Executive Chef of Cream, and Darryl Hughes, former Executive Chef Georgia Browns and Paolos Restaurant.

The menu will feature an eclectic American cuisine with some regional accents. Menu items of interest include:

Appetizers: Grilled Brie with fresh fruit; and Scallop and Grits with Asiago Grits, Tasso Ham

Entrees: Duck Breast with sweet potato hash; Bone in Filet with a risotto tater tot; and Fresh Fish from Hawaii

Their beverage program will focus on an extensive list of New World Wines (by the bottle and glass) and American Eclectic Draft Beer."

Link to post
Share on other sites

just for the record it's brian with an i and although Mr. Danley is currently the chef at creme, brian worked under him at Georgia Brown's.

also the restaurant is now scheduled to open around the end of July/ begining of August

Link to post
Share on other sites

Restaurant 3, the Art Nouveau facaded place located where the Aegean Tavern used to be on Clarendon Blvd., will have its soft opening this weekend and opening to the public NLT Wednesday next week. It's non-smoking and the kitchen will be headed by the main chef at Whitlows.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The doors to Restaurant 3 opened to the public last evening and I stopped by to check it out along with many other folks. Very nice job converting from a Tiki hut to a smooth Art Deco decor. The main bar is medium sized and they have another small 4-seater in one of the dining rooms which serves as the Chef's Table by reservation. Also a gas fireplace with two sides will be welcome when it gets chillier. They have laid the gas lines for an outdoor firepit which they will construct in the larger corner patio seating area when "we start making money." It will be a good spot to enjoy a cigar.

I tried the tuna lollipops -- six generous sized cubes of perfectly seared tuna with a crunchy sesame/pepper exterior, drizzled with an aioli on a bed of seaweed salad. Very tasty. Wine list is small and favors domestic producers with wine-by-the-glass for each varietal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Me and three friends stopped by there last night to see what it is all about. And, in short, I am happy to report that we have a bit of a winner on our hands. Glad to see that in the Clarendon area, a step up is definitely appreciated, not needed, but appreciated.

The place is pretty cool, great ceilings in the bar area. I can imagine it being a sweet place to hang out when the weather is nicer, opening up all the doors from the bar to the patio outside will make that area huge, which was sorely needed last night. While the bar was packed wall to wall from 7:00 until we left at 9:30, I would guess that the dining rooms never got more than half full the whole night. That is fine by me, I will take the quiet table why everyone else crams into the bar because they need to be seen.

The service was surprisingly good for just opening, a lot better than many established places I have been to lately that have been opened for years. We had a bit of a communication barrier with our waiter last night, but he was very attentive and on top of everything, I appreciated that.

The wine list was a bit small for my taste, but my friends seemed to like the limited beer menu. We ordered a Chrysalis Viognier to start, but they were out of it, so we went with the Conundrum.

The food was good, bordering on great in some cases. One of the dishes that we ordered was the Mero, but they were out of that as well. More understandable than the wine being out, but we were still disappointed. But, we were pleasantly surprised when the manager came over, apologized for being out of the wine and the fish, and offered the Mero orderer any entree on the menu free of charge. Amazingly nice, not necessary, but we still took it. She ordered the Cowboy Cut Ribeye, but wishes that she had the Mero. The ribeye was the only miss on the menu, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare, but was somehow still tough and without flavor. The best dish of the night was the Southern Fried Catfish served with hoppin john. Great fry on the fish, not too oily, and the fish was still moist and plentiful. It was a big portion and matched well with the hoppin john. Everyone else seemed to like the Duck Breast better, which came with a great sweet potato hash, but they are wrong, the catfish was better. But, at least we were arguing about which dish was the best, two great choices. The Cider Brined Pork Chop was good, and huge, but was missing some flavor. Surprisingly, it was missing any salt and we had to add it as we were eating, but it was still pretty good. The only other miss was the risotto tater tot which we asked for on the side to try. First, there was no risotto in there, it was mashed potatoes. Second, way too much potato in comparison to the fried outside, not a great balance. Overall, very impressed by the entrees, wonderful portions and good flavors, good prices on everything, you got your moneys worth.

We were a bit disappointed by the desserts. When we looked online the other day, the list looked great. But, when we were there last night, there were only three desserts and they didn't inspire us to really order anything (which is what dessert HAS to do). Going to the website this morning, I noticed that the dessert page was blank and there was a message saying that they were working on it, so it obviously has some kinks to work out. Anyway, we got the three ice creams (cinnamon, chocolate malt and peanut butter) with three cookies (two chocolate chips and one sugar cookie cannoli dipped in chocolate type fo thing). The ice cream was better than the cookies with the peanut butter being the best. We really disliked the chocolate malt ice cream, but overall, they were pretty good. The cookies could have used some work, they seemed a bit overcooked, but they were passable.

All in all, great start for Restaurant 3. I can't imagine that it will be much longer before they are packed in the bar AND the dining room, and to be honest, that would be well deserved.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mrs. and I tried dinner at the new Restaurant 3 in Clarendon last week. Since it's only been open for a few weeks it deserves some slack, but we won't be rushing back. On the plus side, the service was very good, attentive but not overbearing, and the atmosphere is nice with the bar was packed by 7:00. Some of the food was good too. The calamari appetizer was tender and pleasantly spiced, if a tad greasy. The menu, however, is very limited--at least the entree choices--and what's printed might not exactly reflect what you get (lesson: ask the waiter to describe the dish). I ordered the cowboy cut ribeye, which came heavily--and I mean heavily--blacked with spicing overwhelming any taste of the meat, which looked to be high quality btw. If I had known the steak was blackened, I wouldn't have ordered it. Also, the side accompanying my steak was an odd combination of mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes and potatoes. The side was drowned in oil and lack any flavor. The combination is described on the menu as, Vegetable Ragout - Red Bliss Potatoes. In my opinion I do not think this combination would work well if is was prepared correctly.My wife's grouper sat a top some wonderful creamy grits, but also came swimming in cream sauce, which wasn't noted on the menu. She didn't like the combination, and the two really salty shrimp floating in the concoction didn't help.

The restaurant might just need some time to get its legs, but I am holding off to return until I hear otherwise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say that my one experience at Restaurant 3 so far was very, very pleasant. The service was extraordinary -- particularly for an area in which traditionally, finding good staff is really difficult. We had some nice wines, including a Pinot Gris I liked enough to order twice, and I thought their creamed cheesy spinach was good enough that it couldn't qualify as spinach. I had the scallops and enjoyed them, though there were two pieces of grit that found me. I wouldn't normally care, but I'd had my teeth cleaned just a couple of hours beforehand and was supersensitive. Tripewriter's fried oyster starter was roundly applauded by the entire table, and there were enough of them for him to eat and to pass around twice. I also had a mushroom soup that, admittedly, was not my favorite mushroom soup ever, but I have been spoiled by Eve's soups and find few others that can reach those heights of perfection. I'm honestly not remembering what people had for their mains, but nobody was unhappy -- not even the vegetarians. In terms of the size of the menu, again, everyone found something to enjoy. The menu's size was not a problem for our group. We all all enjoyed the side plates (potatoes, really lovely Asiago grits, and the abovementioned spinach) and three types of ice cream that I got for dessert (Nutella, vanilla, and peanut butter). In brief, we all very much enjoyed our meal, we all noticed the superb service, and we all will be returning. As for those who have decided not to visit again because although the atmosphere and service were superb the food was "nothing to write home about" -- not bad, just not "special" enough -- I guess we just have different priorities (which is ok). Personally, I would rather go to a place with good (if not great) food that has excellent service and a truly pleasant atmosphere than to go to a place that treats you like you're not "special" enough but has marginally better food.

In a side note, I'm really enjoying this new aspect to Clarendon, with 11th, Liberty Tavern, and now Restaurant 3, where you can go get fresh, local, good food in a restaurant owned, run, and loved by Clarendonians. Rock on!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea here is to stay basic; the salads are excellent (great dijon vinaigrette), the short ribs were better IMO than the ones at Central, and the wine list is easy for the average person to sift through as it had a lot of American names that one would recognize as good (Ridge, Shafer, Argyle, etc). Tasting the food, I could definitely see how you could come away disappointed if you ordered a ribeye or filet as I feel like a lot of what you would get here would be better elsewhere (like right down the street at Ray's or in Georgetown). However, a tasty scallop app, salad, a couple sides, the short ribs, and a nice bottle of the Ridge zin for $110 was certainly something I would look forward to coming back for.

Also, the service was wonderful and the environment does a very good job of finding the area between 'too casual' and 'too snooty'.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming out of the parking garage, and walking just two ice-covered blocks into Restaurant 3, I saw this guy sitting on the sidewalk, trying to scoot himself over to the curb so he could stand back up. I gingerly skated over and helped him as best I could, while trying not to slip and fall myself.

Then, while gliding across the sidewalk in my dress shoes, a girl gets out of her car, and steps up to the curb where the parking meter was. Wham! She took the plunge as well.

It was a relief when I finally got to the granular rock-salt stuff thoughtfully strewn out in front of Restaurant 3.

I generally shy away from Soup du Jour ($6), mainly because I can't quite get a handle on what the dish is supposed to be. It seems that every time I try it, no matter what the restaurant is, the prep is always different, even accounting for regional variance, and I never know what to expect. Restaurant 3's was a black-bean soup made with a vegetable stock, and was just perfect for an icy night. The memory-jabber was the numeral 3, squirted out with creme fraiche on top of the black soup.

Stuffed Eggplant ($14) was a whole eggplant, stuffed with tomato, onion, spinach, and orzo, almost like a ratatouille. While you might think of Restaurant 3 as more of a "cider-braised pork chop with mac-n-cheese" place, both these courses showed me that a vegetarian can do well here. An entirely meatless meal, almost vegan, and still perfectly satisfying on a cold, icy evening.

One general observation about the new crop of restaurants opening in Clarendon and Courthouse: With Cheesecake Factory looming just a block away, I desperately hope that these independents - such as Restaurant 3, Me Jana, Liberty Tavern, Eleventh Street Lounge, Tallula, Eatbar, and Eventide - will funnel customers away from this sad, sterile, soul-sucking, Wal-Martian behemoth. But I also think there could be a "seven dwarfs" problem resulting from the new openings, and that each restaurant needs to be mindful about distinguishing themselves, one from another.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am glad you enjoyed your experience at 3. In fact there was no meat and or dairy in either dish. I agree with your point on restaurants differentiating them selves, but i think it is important to be different because of who you are, not just to be different for differences sake. All in all its a very fine line to walk

Link to post
Share on other sites

A query for Brian--we had a really lovely meal with our toddler at Restaurant 3 back when it first opened (he couldn't get enough of the duck confit in the lettuce wraps and ate most of my chopped spinach salad). All of the staff was wonderful with him and quite engaging. Soon thereafter, we saw a promo in our neighborhood newsletter advertising Restaurant 3 as a "kid-free" environment, so we've been reluctant to return with the kid. What's the official position? I feel a bit bad that we might have unwittingly spoiled the atmosphere that people are expecting when they dine there....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bringing your child into 3 is not an issue, afterall it is a neighborhood restaurant. the woman who wrote that has kids as well and I think she comes to our restaurant as a get away.

It has come to my attention that the "3" of creme fraiche on the soup eliminates the non dairy comment, i would love to tell you that it was made with some type of soy or synthetic ingredients, but no. I completely forgot about the garnish.

It reminds me of the woman who when told the grit cakes had dairy (she was "vegan") said " I don't want to know whats in them, I just like the way they taste."

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a lovely brunch here today. First, it was SO nice to be able to debate our local Clarendon dining options and to come up with several desirable locations :lol: We were lucky enough to be seated right away, although it was Father's Day -- I guess not as many dads get taken out as do moms! i had the Low Country option -- eggs, grits, and house-cured bacon. Man, that bacon was good. It was meaty and intensely flavorful. With the grits, it was perfect. Tripewriter had the eggs Benedict and liked them enough to polish them off completely :lol: This is our third time dining at Restaurant 3 (I know, not nearly enough!), and it was the third time we've had good food and enjoyable service.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was there last night because I wanted a good place to eat that was not crowded with St. Patrick's revelers although the bar had a decent sized crowd of about thirty.

We ate in the outer room overlooking the street and I thought the meal was good. I had the Ceasar salad with some large anchovies tossed in as well as the friend chicken with vegeatables for the main course. My companion had the catfish as well as the small donuts for dessert. We both found our meals satisfying and wondered why there isn't more interest in the place.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, there's not as much interest about R3 because the last time we were there, the menu hadn't changed since the place had opened. However, the items you're mentioning, BookGuy, do sound new, and the steak I had there was actually one of the better steaks I've had...still haven't found a non-Sysco dessert there, but maybe the doughnuts can help...I'd be willing to give it another try.

Link to post
Share on other sites
still haven't found a non-Sysco dessert there, but maybe the doughnuts can help...I'd be willing to give it another try.

That's because you haven't tried the homemade peeps.

Restaurant 3

Luscious melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow delights topped with a sweet sugar crust await customers at Restaurant 3. The Clarendon neighborhood restaurant is making their own version of the perennial crowd favorite- Peeps. The marshmallow confections will be molded into spring shapes by Chef Brian Robinson, and rolled in colored sugar. The treats will be served to all diners throughout the week of Easter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

spent a nice mother's day at 3. the menu has been updated. several new items. really enjoyed the trout with shrimp and mussels served with a light tomato sauce. clarendon has several great choices with liberty, eventide and 3. if you havent been lately you should go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Restaurant 3 is trying to distinguish itself from the other restaurants in the neighborhood. They now boast a 70 bottle beer list organized by region, and their dinner menu has some new items, including chicken and waffles ($16), pulled duck sandwich ($9) and nine different salads.

I've only been once, over a year ago...sat at the bar and had a completely ordinary fried calamari and a Lagunitas Uncensored Ale...

I should probably give this place another shot...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a nice dinner at the bar a couple of nights ago. You simply can't beat $3.00 pints of Dogfish Head 60 Minute on tap during happy hour (which lasts until 8). Having caught the aroma of goat cheese when I walked in the door, I zeroed in on the fried green tomato appetizer, and it did not disappoint. Two large tomato slices, delicately breaded and fried, topped with goat cheese crumbles, green tomato relish, and a (slightly too mayonnaisey) remoulade. When trying to decide on an entree, the bartender (who I think might have been one of the owners) suggested his favorites, and brought out a small metal ramekin of the pulled duck for me to taste. Good as it was, I settled on the crab-crusted grouper. The highlight of this dish was the okra, corn, pea, and tomato succotash, which I thought was perfectly cooked to an al dente crunch. The grouper itself was a disappointment, however. I thought the strong and somewhat fishy aroma and flavor of the crab overwhelmed the grouper; they just didn't play nicely together. The crust had a hard texture which made it seem like it had spent too much time under a heat lamp. The friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient service and bright, airy atmosphere (not to mention the awesome deal on the beer prices) mitigated the slight disappointment with my entree and made for a very pleasant experience overall. Next time, I think I'll go ahead and try that pulled duck sandwich...

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Monday night happy-hour is a steal...in addition to 3 dollar drafts (Stone, Dale's, Dogfish, Bell's) all appetizers are half priced from 5-8pm. On Monday's it is not difficult to sit at the bar for a satisfying meal of appetizers and a few beers for $20. Yet I've been on various evenings over the last few months, and each time the bar area has been surprisingly dead.

I like the Savannah Wings ($9)...they are smoked and grilled with barbecue sauce, and a nice change-up from the fried buffalo style. The menu item listed as "risotto tater-tots" ($9) had me expecting something like miniature rice balls (like the lounge at Fyve), but that's not what came out. Instead, what came out was a pretty stack of golden fried balls which tasted half as good as they looked. They are made mostly of small potato chunks...the potato didn't taste fully cooked and was underseasoned. If risotto wasn't in the title, I probably wouldn't have known there was any rice at all. The fried calamari ($9) is a good dish to share. The portion was perfect for two, they were lightly fried and properly cooked. Marinara and tzatziki sauce round out this well-done standard appetizer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Awhile back, after a recent meal at Restaurant 3, I wrote Brian Robinson and told him that while I thought the dining room was really nice, and the lounge was large and well-designed, the food itself at Restaurant 3 just didn't seem like it would ever appeal to me - a little too heavy, a little too salty, or something like that. On Wednesday, I thought to myself, 'well, why not give this place another try,' so I went and grabbed a seat at the bar.

Other people have mentioned this upthread, but it needs to be said again: Restaurant 3 has one of the best beer programs in town right now, with 70 bottled beers on its list. On Mondays through Fridays, 5-8, every single draft beer is only $3 a pint (in the ample lounge area). Here are the drafts they had this week:

Polestar Pilsner

Stella Artois

Bell's Oberon

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Allagash White

Dale's Pale Ale

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

$3 for any of those beers, all the way up until 8:00 PM, five days a week. That is one of the happiest happy hours I know of.

Restaurant 3 is participating in Restaurant Week, but there's no need to order from that menu, since the regular items can easily cost under $35.09 for three courses, every single week of the year.

Two evenings before, I had a pleasant Pecan-Crusted Trout ($16) at Eatonville, so I decided on a trout-versus-trout comparison. Restaurant 3's version costs two-dollars more, and I was hoping for something comparable, but there was no comparison between the two.

Smothered Trout ($18) is a de-boned, skin-on whole trout "smothered" with pan-seared shrimp, mussels, and tomato-based gravy, served atop a pool of Asiago grits. I could see right away that it was a more ample, elaborate presentation, but then I started taking nibbles - a bite of grits, a taste of tomato, a tiny cutting of shrimp, then a bite of the trout itself.

About ten minutes into the dish, when I was about one-third of the way through, I had a Palena moment: There were a couple pints of Polestar Pilsner pulsing through my veins by then, and I became completely relaxed on my barstool, put my silver down, and just looked down at my dish, without saying a word, and got all misty-eyed. I sat there in disbelief for about ten seconds, transcended away from that place in time, the same way you become absorbed into a great painting, or forget yourself while thinking of a particularly beautiful passage in a novel. This guttural trout dish caught me completely off-guard; this was art; not cooking. I recommended the dish to a gentleman sitting next to me, who was about to order the Southern Fried Oysters, and he thanked me when he tasted it. I ordered a second one to take home, which was every bit as good as the first. At the end of the dish, I picked up the tail, and ate it, not wanting to leave a single thing on my plate. This was, quite possibly, the best single dish I have ever had in Clarendon, and that is saying something.

I had previously ordered the Short Rib Quesdaillas ($11) as my second course. Served with smoked tomato salsa, black bean relish, and chipotle sour cream, I figured it would make for good, bulk filler in case the trout didn't do the trick. The quesadillas came out, and I could tell right away that these weren't some heavy, gooey tortillas for cheap scarfing; in their own less-elaborate way, they were made with as much care and restraint as that phenomenal trout. These were great quesadillas, as good as you could possibly imagine.

So now I'm writing Brian Robinson again - along with Sous Chef Sean Mooney - publicly this time, and apologizing for my previous letter, which I'm absolutely retracting. Shame on me for not realizing the heights Restaurant 3 is capable of hitting. Can it possibly be this good on a consistent basis?

Wow. That's it, in a word. Wow.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've actually heard from friends that Restaurant 3 is, by far, the most improved restaurant in the area. Unfortunately, this sentiment still isn't enough for some people I know to try it again. But I certainly will. And you're right that the happy hour is probably the most generous in Arlington (perhaps tied with Yaku's $3 sangria and $2 drafts).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Went to 3 last night and had a rather disappointing meal (I've been there twice before and absolutely loved it). I had the Southern Fried Oysters followed by the Roasted Short Ribs and the Bourbon Pecan Pie to finish it off; my friend (a vegetarian) had the Fried Green Tomatoes, Vegetarian Lasagna, and finished with the Cobbler. The Oysters and Fried Tomatoes were both wonderful and I would order either of them again in a heart beat. The short ribs were served with pan fried grits and a "watermelon salsa", but there was so little of the salsa that the whole plate was just too dense. I was looking forward to the pecan pie, unfortunately it was more of a dry brownie with pecans and some caramel on top (a major let down). My friend said he loved the lasagna though, which I didn't try. So all said I still love 3, but I'll be staying away from the short ribs and desserts next time I go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can it possibly be this good on a consistent basis?

Oh no! We went to have the Smothered Trout and Chicken & Waffles last night and it was a sub-par experience.

Parts of the dinner were fine, some were good, and some went as far as disgusting.

My boyfriend made ordering the Smothered Trout a requirement after reading your review, and I ordered the Chicken & Waffles since they were recently part of an online debate.

Even though a whole dining room was empty, we had to wait. The service was awkward and abrupt, as if reading from a script unwillingly while trying to be forcefully friendly.

l.jpg

Bread was fine, I actually really liked the warm cornbread, but the "butter" was disgusting. It tasted like Crisco out of a jar. When the server cleared the bread basket at the end of the meal, I asked him what "it" was and he said "Butter, but we whip it to make it nice and fluffy." I must have had an incredulous look on my face since he said "What, you didn't like that either?". This butter was white, and was just a chunk in a silver container. It was flavorless and greasy--no, I didn't like it.

l.jpg

The food came incredibly fast, too fast. I've seriously had to wait longer for burgers at McDonalds (which means they already had these plates started before we placed our order). When the plate-messenger put the plates down, I confirmed with him that it was the "Smothered Trout"-- I couldn't even see the fish on the plate. The waiter confirmed that we got our dishes by glancing at the table while walking by, but didn't ask us how everything was until we were finished...

The whole plate was disgusting to look at. The skin of the fish, once found, was soggy and oily. The fish itself was very small for the price--less grits, more fish! The shrimp had no meat in it and it made me sick to my stomach to look at it. The grits didn't taste like any grits I've ever had, and I'm from the South! It tasted more like polenta or mashed potatoes, but they actually tasted alright. The sauce was nice and flavorful, but I didn't understand where it was supposed to go on the plate because there was just too much of it.

l.jpg

Good ol' Chicken and Waffles. I'm glad that syrup won the debate over gravy as the topping. The waffles were okay, but I've made better back when I was a student and used those cafeteria waffle irons. They tasted like they were frozen and then reheated--in fact, I had one bite that was slightly cold. They weren't crunchy at all and soon were quite soggy. The chicken was a huge hunk of meat in comparison to the triangles of waffle beneath it. The chef likes to heavy-hand the parsley as a garnish as can be seen on both plates. When I eat chicken and waffles, I want to be able to slice through both and get a nice perfect bite. But this huge hunk of meat, with the bone still in, prevented me from doing that. The breading was thick, overly seasoned, and too dark. It was similar to the breading found on frozen chicken patties, though when I said this to the waiter, he assured me that they "do their own breading" (not the response I was looking for...). The chicken was so savory and the waffles weren't substantial enough to balance them out, but I forced myself to eat the empty calories so I wouldn't waste food. I honestly didn't want to eat anymore since it wasn't enjoyable, but I had to get my money's worth.

Thankfully, the waiter voiced all of our "meh"s to the manager and he came over and talked to us. He's a really nice guy and his talking to us changed our minds about whether we would return again or not. He told us that he didn't want to charge us for a dinner we didn't enjoy, which was fair. We complemented him on having Allagash and warm bread, and actually paid for the Allagash and tipped on the full amount of our original bill.

Has anyone else been less-than wowed at Restaurant 3?

Link to post
Share on other sites

l.jpg

The food came incredibly fast, too fast. I've seriously had to wait longer for burgers at McDonalds (which means they already had these plates started before we placed our order). When the plate-messenger put the plates down, I confirmed with him that it was the "Smothered Trout"-- I couldn't even see the fish on the plate. The waiter confirmed that we got our dishes by glancing at the table while walking by, but didn't ask us how everything was until we were finished...

The whole plate was disgusting to look at. The skin of the fish, once found, was soggy and oily. The fish itself was very small for the price--less grits, more fish! The shrimp had no meat in it and it made me sick to my stomach to look at it. The grits didn't taste like any grits I've ever had, and I'm from the South! It tasted more like polenta or mashed potatoes, but they actually tasted alright. The sauce was nice and flavorful, but I didn't understand where it was supposed to go on the plate because there was just too much of it.

I've been in many situations where I'm having the exact same wine as someone else; he's raving about it, and I can't even drink it.

The reason I mention this is because, although a few weeks have passed, your trout dish looks almost exactly like the one I had, although I don't remember quite so many onions. About the only thing I can even recognize from your description is the grits, which were indeed polenta-like (necessary in the context of the presentation since they were at the very bottom of the plating).

And that chicken and waffles dish looks pretty darned good.

Has anyone else been less-than wowed at Restaurant 3?

Yep, me - the first time I went. But based on my most-recent visit - as well as your own pictures (which speak a thousand words to me) - I want to return sooner rather than later.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I too had the "smothered trout" and agree that it's a mess. But it's a tasty mess, and they CALL it "smothered," so what would you expect?

My version wasn't perfect: one (but, oddly, not both) of my shrimp was overcooked and the mussels were just a touch past their prime (though definitely edible). Also, I, too, wished that the fish were placed on top of the dish, because the crispy skin would be nice against the creamy polenta. But, hey, the bottom line is that the dish was delicious and only $18 for a ton of seafood. So I'd get it again in a heartbeat.

And the beer selection is fabulous, as are the happy hour specials.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Went to Restaurant 3 and sat at one of the small tables near the bar last night for a few pints and some food with an old friend. I have to say, I think this is the most enjoyable spot in Arlington for happy hour. Being able to easily converse while downing $3 pints of Hofbrau Oktoberfest (and Bells Oktoberfest which I had yet to try) in addition to some appetizers was a welcome change from the generally packed Clarendon/Arlington happy hour scene. I will continue to go back and look forward to trying it out for dinner.

As a quick aside, regarding the post above: If I were even to consider accepting a comp my experience would have to be a whole lot worse than "meh". But, to each their own.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bread was fine, I actually really liked the warm cornbread, but the "butter" was disgusting. It tasted like Crisco out of a jar. When the server cleared the bread basket at the end of the meal, I asked him what "it" was and he said "Butter, but we whip it to make it nice and fluffy." I must have had an incredulous look on my face since he said "What, you didn't like that either?". This butter was white, and was just a chunk in a silver container. It was flavorless and greasy--no, I didn't like it.

Are you really accusing the restaurant of served Crisco instead of butter? Not to mention that your picture shows the butter to be a bit yellow.

The whole plate was disgusting to look at. The skin of the fish, once found, was soggy and oily. The fish itself was very small for the price--less grits, more fish! The shrimp had no meat in it and it made me sick to my stomach to look at it. The grits didn't taste like any grits I've ever had, and I'm from the South! It tasted more like polenta or mashed potatoes, but they actually tasted alright. The sauce was nice and flavorful, but I didn't understand where it was supposed to go on the plate because there was just too much of it.

What did you expect a smothered dish to look like? Granted I agree with the poster above that it might be nice to have the fish on top to preserve the crispy skin, but it is a smothered dish.

How can something taste like mashed potatoes or polenta? Are you talking about the consistency or the actual flavor? Potatoes certainly do not taste like corn from where I come from. I could certainly see the grits tasting like polenta since, well, they are both basically the same thing.

When I eat chicken and waffles, I want to be able to slice through both and get a nice perfect bite. But this huge hunk of meat, with the bone still in, prevented me from doing that. The breading was thick, overly seasoned, and too dark. It was similar to the breading found on frozen chicken patties, though when I said this to the waiter, he assured me that they "do their own breading" (not the response I was looking for...). The chicken was so savory and the waffles weren't substantial enough to balance them out, but I forced myself to eat the empty calories so I wouldn't waste food. I honestly didn't want to eat anymore since it wasn't enjoyable, but I had to get my money's worth.

Were you expecting boneless fried chicken? And the chicken was too savory to be balanced by the waffles? I just don't understand that statement.

The chicken in your picture certainly does not look too dark to me.

Thankfully, the waiter voiced all of our "meh"s to the manager and he came over and talked to us. He's a really nice guy and his talking to us changed our minds about whether we would return again or not. He told us that he didn't want to charge us for a dinner we didn't enjoy, which was fair. We complemented him on having Allagash and warm bread, and actually paid for the Allagash and tipped on the full amount of our original bill.

And after you had your entire meal comped, you still felt compelled to come online and post in this manner? Amazing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
When the plate-messenger put the plates down, I confirmed with him that it was the "Smothered Trout"-- I couldn't even see the fish on the plate.

For anyone else who might not know - "smothered" means covered completely by another ingredient, so it's not surprising that the fish wouldn't be visible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you really accusing the restaurant of served Crisco instead of butter? Not to mention that your picture shows the butter to be a bit yellow.

Taking photos in a dimly-lit restaurant usually turns out yellow. The "butter" was white and had no flavor.

How can something taste like mashed potatoes or polenta? Are you talking about the consistency or the actual flavor? Potatoes certainly do not taste like corn from where I come from. I could certainly see the grits tasting like polenta since, well, they are both basically the same thing.

Texture. The grits did not taste like corn nor potatoes.

Were you expecting boneless fried chicken? And the chicken was too savory to be balanced by the waffles? I just don't understand that statement.

The chicken in your picture certainly does not look too dark to me.

Yes, I was expecting boneless. All other places I've had this dish at served it boneless. When I eat chicken and waffles, I want the savory and sweet to be equally balanced. The scale was tipped too far in favor of savory to be deemed balanced, even after the addition of syrup.

This chicken is the darkest fried chicken I have ever had. The meat itself was nice, but the breading was too much for me.

And after you had your entire meal comped, you still felt compelled to come online and post in this manner? Amazing.

My boyfriend and I actually didn't want the meal to be comped and mentioned to the server and the manager repeatedly that we wished to pay for the meal, but the manager would have none of it. We did pay for the beer and tipped on the full amount. I wrote this review in response to Don's statement about consistency to see if the restaurant was having an off night or if this was standard. I had originally resolved to be like "darn, oh well. Won't come here again, at least I know now", but figured that after the rave reviews about these dishes and the manager talking to us that it must have been an off night.

If this is typical fare, I think it fair to post. I also think it fair to post that a restaurant can be inconsistent and that the manager can take responsibility and apologize. I have been at many establishments where this exact same situation has happened and the waiter did not pass on the information or the manager didn't care and I have paid my bill. I also didn't specifically ask for the manager nor for the meal to be comped, so I don't see the issue here. Should I not post bad experiences ("off-night" or not?) here? Seems there will always be someone that will dispute my claims that the food was sub-par, but I don't care. I ate it, and I know it was bad. I've eaten a lot of food and I know what's great, good, bad, or just my personal taste/preference.

I believe that some can like the food here or maybe the food can be cooked well (In fact, I plan to go there again for the sandwiches). I don't drink that much so a Happy Hour environment or deal can't redeem a place for me. I think this is a fair post because I told the entire truth and how my mind was changed by the manager.

P.S. my "mehs" were as follows:

"How was everything?"

"Um...."

"Was something wrong?"

"Well...It was okay. I didn't like the breading on the chicken because it was too-seasoned and very dark. It was kind-of hard to eat because it was so large and the bone was in. But it was okay"

"Oh, well sorry to hear that"

"The breading was kindaof like on those frozen chicken patties, you know?"

"We do all the breading ourselves"

Commentary on the trout was given to the waiter by my boyfriend, so I won't say anything on that

"Just curious, what's this?" (Points to butter)

"Butter"

"What kind?"

"It's butter and we whip it to make it nice and soft"

"Oh"

"You didn't like that either?"

"I liked the cornbread!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

My version wasn't perfect: one (but, oddly, not both) of my shrimp was overcooked and the mussels were just a touch past their prime (though definitely edible). Also, I, too, wished that the fish were placed on top of the dish, because the crispy skin would be nice against the creamy polenta. But, hey, the bottom line is that the dish was delicious and only $18 for a ton of seafood. So I'd get it again in a heartbeat.

I reread my post and, though I was trying to be charitable to discojing in noting the small quibbles I had with my smothered trout, the truth is that I found these flaws to be rather minor. I'm eager to have this comforting dish again.

I should also note that, though my experience is limited, I've had some other good things at Restaurant 3. For, example, the Scallop and Grits appetizer, which featured perfectly cooked scallops and the same creamy polenta as the smothered trout, is a nice spin on the classic "shrimp and grits." Also the fried oysters, which had a somewhat heavy coating of cornmeal, were well seasoned and the oysters inside were hot and juicy (and there were what seemed like a dozen of them on the plate). Both were a steal during the Monday happy hour, when all appetizers are half price (other days have different specials, like $5 martinis, but beer and wine are always discounted).

So, the bottom line for me is that this is a solid neighborhood restaurant, with a well done beer program (I haven't yet paid much attention to the wine list during my visits), and a happy hour that's an absolute bargain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Both were a steal during the Monday happy hour, when all appetizers are half price (other days have different specials, like $5 martinis, but beer and wine are always discounted).

So, the bottom line for me is that this is a solid neighborhood restaurant, with a well done beer program (I haven't yet paid much attention to the wine list during my visits), and a happy hour that's an absolute bargain.

Were you able to get the HH specials in the restaurant?

We were told they were bar-area only, which was packed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Were you able to get the HH specials in the restaurant?

We were told they were bar-area only, which was packed.

I've never actually set foot in the dining area. As I noted, my experience is limited. Also, I mostly eat out solo, so I tend to be more of a bar guy. The few times I've been in, the bar's been half empty. But I've only been there early in the week, at about 7:00 each time (so, possibly after the core happy hour crowd).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I went back to Restaurant 3 last night and sat outside.

The outdoor seating is pretty nice, I like the raised patio but don't like the hightops. The chairs were pretty comfortable even though they looked like they wouldn't be.

I had a white russian that had almost no alcohol in it and then had the ginger-lemon drink. The ginger-lemon drink tasted a tad like pine-sol, but after the ice melted into a bit, it was fresh and strong. The new fashion (syrup and orange juice with blackberries) was gross and I sent it back. I also had the andouille burger. It was big and messy and pretty good. The curly fries made the dish though!

I saw the manager on my way out and said Hi to him and let him know that we came back and the burger was good.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The pulled duck sandwich is really good.

I totally agree. The duck is very tender and nicely coated with bourbon molasses BBQ sauce, on a roll that more than stood up to the challenge. I did not think it paired well with the cole slaw, however, which seemed to be made with curry. I never got used to the taste. I considered asking for them to comp my meal, but by then I had finished every bite so I thought I had a weak case. :( Hofbräu Oktoberfest on draft.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty good dinner with work colleagues at 3 last night. I started with the garden greens salad - nothing really to write home about but pretty good. Produce was fresh and not overdressed with a mustardy vinaigrette. Bread basket was not that good - very dry cornmeal muffins that had passed their prime and uninspired baguette hunks. Halibut entree with cucumbers, tomatoes, shrimp and light citrus vinaigrette. Halibut was nicely cooked and overall the dish was nicely prepared. If anything, it bordered on the bland side, maybe needing the vinaigrette to assert itself more, and was certainly not a hearty meal by any stretch but overall a good meal.

I need to eat here a few more times and sample more of the menu to really decide what I think. For now, it seems to be a decent place but not sure if it's worth a spot in the regular rotation. It seems to be aspiring to a place beside Liberty Tavern and Eventide - above Harry's, Faccia Luna, Woodgrill, etc - as the upscale neighborhood dining destinations in Clarendon but not sure it's there yet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had never been to Restaurant 3 before last night, but when I found out they were having a Bacon Week (Oct 21-27) I knew I had to go. Six of us went for dinner and met at the bar a bit early for some HH specials. Every day has good deals, but Tuesday is pretty stellar with 1/2 wines (any wine on the list that is not offered by the glass) until 9pm at the bar or at a table. Had a really good Savignon Blanc and a good Cava. Service at the bar was quite slow, but for the price I couldn't really complain.

Dinner was definitely a success (how could it not be with that much bacon?). I didn't really pay attention to the bread basket since I knew we'd be filling up on our three courses, so I can't comment on that. The first course was a frisee and arugula salad with chunks of bacon, a poached egg and a bacon vinaigrette. I couldn't taste that much bacon in the dressing, but it didn't really matter since the salad was covered in good-sized chunks of their house-cured pork belly. I wish the egg yolk had been a bit more runny, but all in all it was quite tasty.

Second course was halibut with a bacon crust and a bacon and potato hash underneath. My fish was very well cooked, with a little sprinkling of bacon on top, but my +1 and I agreed on the way home it could've used some sort of sauce or something to bring a little more moisture. The hash underneath was delicious, if a bit oily. Nothing too interesting with the dish, but I am very much looking forward to eating the leftovers and savoring every bacony bite.

Dessert was by far the favorite course at the table. Bacon waffle with maple bacon ice cream. Wow. Basically 3/4 of a Belgian waffle studded with bacon throughout, topped with a generous scoop of maple ice cream with chunks of bacon. Everyone was shocked how much they enjoyed a dessert bacon course, but the sweet and savory was really great. When we mentioned it to the waitress she said there had been such positive feedback that they were adding it to the regular menu. Definitely a must-try!

Our only drawback with dinner, as with the bar, was the service. Our waitress was nice enough, but once she heard we were all ordering the bacon menu I'm not sure we actually saw her again until she brought the bill (after a short wait). She did bring out the Cava we had ordered, but never came back to refill our glasses after the first pour, so we ended up doing it on our own.

But even with the lack of attention, I'm definitely tempted to go back and try some things off the regular menu. The stuffed pork chop caught my eye, and it looked really good being brought out to another table. Might have to make a return trip soon.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most underrated places around in my opinion. Made a few visits recently and spent the last two snowstorms (now that I am too old to hang at the 4 Courts all day) there drinking great beer and eating warm comfort food. The grilled cheese is tasty (not like stoneys but still great) and paired with soup of the day. The wings are meaty, not greasy and a bit sweet but substantial. Tasted the pulled duck and would make a trip back just for that. Even the plain chicken sandwich was worth shoveling the car out for. The crabcake was a miss but I suppose there has to be one thing not quite up to snuff. I also was granted tastes of the short ribs and stuffed pork chops, both of which were top notch.

And if not for the food, go for the drink! The HH specials and the beer list - oh my, the beer list! - should be enough to drag you over from the Wilson Blvd side over to Clarendon Blvd. Or not, more space at the bar for us! Thanks to Chef Robinson - Restaurant 3 is at the top of our short list now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted on another thread, but we visited the night of the snowstorm. I had a steak salad which was a nice change of pace from what we had in the fridge, but the real show stopper was the chocolate bread pudding. Mmmm, warm gooey and moist with good flavor and a white chocolate sauce (although a bourbon sauce would be killer). It was really good. And lots of libations to keep us warm trekking back to Ballston. Thanks for being open! We appreciated not being stuck with the measley scraps in the fridge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted on another thread, but we visited the night of the snowstorm. I had a steak salad which was a nice change of pace from what we had in the fridge, but the real show stopper was the chocolate bread pudding. Mmmm, warm gooey and moist with good flavor and a white chocolate sauce (although a bourbon sauce would be killer). It was really good. And lots of libations to keep us warm trekking back to Ballston. Thanks for being open! We appreciated not being stuck with the measley scraps in the fridge.

You are very welcome! We are happy to have you in...thanks to all who braved the blizzard and chose 3 to dine in! We'll keep the good food coming and the drinks a-flowin' no matter what the weather :angry:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why is this place not more crowded at lunch? Why would anyone cross the street to eat at the Cheesecake Factory rather than stop here? Fried shrimp po' boy panini style with a side salad - $10 and as it was the Worker's Chomp! ("Chef's Special"), it included a free soft drink. The shrimp were well sized and cooked just right and served with a nice remoulade sauce. It is quite a good deal, imho. Very pleasant service rounded out the meal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We're heading to Restaurant 3 on Friday night - five adults, one 12-year-old. There have been a few interesting dishes described above, but is there anything that hasn't been discussed yet that we should make a point of ordering?

To answer my own question, yes. The duck breast is a nice piece of well-cooked duck. It sits on top of a hash of sweet potato, shallots and shredded duck meat. It's fantastic - worth going back for, at least until I can replicate it at home.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...