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Villa Mozart, in the Former Le Tire Bouchon Space, Fairfax - Chef Andrea Pace Comes from Fiore di Luna - Closed Nov 11, 2017


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I wonder if the pictures of the food on the website are just stock photos or actual test dishes. If they are the food that the chef is planning on serving it looks very good, but looks can be deceiving.

And I wonder if we need to add Squash Risotto to the trite food list.

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The economy has not hurt Villa Mozart one bit. My wife and I tried to pop-in at 6:15 on Saturday evening and were told the restaurant was completely booked, despite only 2 of the 20+ tables I saw actually filled. :P

I understand that just because they are empty doesn't mean they haven't been spoken for, but the inability to seat a deuce at 6:15 in an otherwise empty restaurant tells me either they (a) have more business then they could possibly want, or (b ) need a little lesson in reservation yielding and table management.

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This restaurant really needs more love around here. I've dined here four or five times in the last year or so, and each meal has been really fine. Their carpaccio, a standing feature of their menu, really shines: thinly shaved beef tenderloin, quite cold, with small cubes of foie gras quickly sauteed and slightly crisp, with little microgreens, olive oil, and coarse salt, beautifully presented: just a wonderful dish. When I dined there this past Friday, I had the day's fish special, tile fish with a puree of fresh peas, and with fava beans and I forget what else, but also superb. The lobster risotto is always very good. The servers are the sort of professionals commonplace in Europe but rare here. Rocks, this should be italicized. It's way too far out of town, but a real gem.

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I couldn't agree more. I had the tilefish special on Saturday and it was excellent. What I love about this place is that I can typically walk-in and get a table w/o a reservation almost any night and I'd like to keep it that way. The clientele is typically made up of GMU professors that seek out this hidden gem. Chef Pace does an excellent job translating regional italian interpretations from his homeland to the plate. The wine list is small (love the Fidelitas and Sangoivese) but the food speaks volumes. Tom and Todd rarely mention the place but I think it's a great option in NoVa if you don't feel like driving downtown.

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My husband and I had lunch here today for the first time (part of our staycation festivities). I am trying to figure out how I missed knowing about this place sooner. I agree that this place should at least be in italics on the dining guide, if not better! We enjoyed our lunch so much that I just made a reservation for dinner tomorrow night. It helps that it is 10-15 minutes from home.

We shared the calamari appetizer, and I wish I'd taken a picture of it. The white calimari pieces were speckled with red pepper, and tossed with green peas, kalamata olives, and tomatoes, with two rounds of polenta. The elements were delicious individually, and together in varying combinations provided different accents. My ability to describe it can never do it justice!

The fish of the day was actually two: a sea scallop wrapped in speck and a filet of rockfish. Each was set on a bed of black rice, with a pimento sauce over both. The plate was scattered with Brussels sprouts leaves, blanched and dressed in extra-virgin olive oil. The plating was very pretty, similar to the pictures on the website. The fish were perfectly cooked, and the flavors all worked well together.

At $18, the three-course prix fixe lunch menu isn't the least expensive around, but for food of this caliber, I would pay it. There is a three-course prix fixe dinner menu for $39, with upcharges for certain dishes, which also sounds reasonable.

We peeked at the wine list, which included a good selection of wines by the glass for $8 and $9, with a couple at $10. And most of the bottle offerings were priced at $50 or less.

I'm already looking forward to dinner there tomorrow night!

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We were so charmed by our Tuesday lunch here, that we returned for dinner Wednesday night.

Dinner started with an amuse: a quenelle of pureed cannelini beans sprinkled with microgreens, salt, crispy matchsticks of pancetta, and a little EVOO. That was a nice beginning!

Our first course was a shared plate of Speck: slightly smoky ham sliced paper-thin, draped like flowers on the plate, sprinkled with shaved ricotta salata, little cantaloupe balls, and pistachios, with marinated radicchio. It was fresh and delicious, and something I don't see on menus frequently.

Il Carpaccio was as described: thin slices of beef tenderloin with perfectly seared and salted cubes of foie gras, micro-arugula, and dots of balsamic vinegar. I thought that was my all-time favorite rendition of this classic.

My husband's Gamberi was very good. He enjoyed the contrast of textures and flavors of the raw shrimp, with bits of mango, micro-arugula, pink peppercorns, and olive oil sorbet.

I indulged myself with the Risotto Ollo, and it was an indulgence! Perfectly cooked, al dente and creamy risotto, richly flavored with mushrooms and lobster essence, and of course a generous portion of lobster meat.

My husband couldn't stop talking about his Papparadelle: house-made chestnut pasta topped with wild boar ragu, garnished with carrots and lingonberry chutney. He loved it and practically licked the bowl clean.

Dessert was included in the $39 prix fixe, and we were so glad that we could find room for it. My creme brulee was excellent, and the quenelle of raspberry sorbet on top really made the dish. My husband had a chocolate souffle ("polenta neri"???) that he (not a chocolate fan) absolutely loved.

I can't tell you which wines we had by the glass, but the pours were generous and the prices were reasonable. The wine list can be downloaded from the website as a PDF file. We finished with tiny glasses of moscato, a gift from the restaurant to celebrate our dining there two days in a row.

On a Wednesday evening the tiny dining room (40 seats) was about half full, and the two waiters sped around the room, keeping everything moving smoothly. The service was attentive and cheerful, without being obtrusive.

As we left, full and happy, we made a promise that we wouldn't tell a soul about this tiny gem in Fairfax, and I realized that I might have to take back what I said in another thread about restaurants like this not being able to survive in Fairfax County.

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As we left, full and happy, we made a promise that we wouldn't tell a soul about this tiny gem in Fairfax, and I realized that I might have to take back what I said in another thread about restaurants like this not being able to survive in Fairfax County.

Of course this particular, wonderful, restaurant isn't in Fairfax County, but rather in the City of Fairfax. I look forward to dining there tomorrow evening.

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Stopped in for dinner last night and remembered that I was quick to post a criticism a few years back, but have yet post anything constructive. Shame on me.

I have had 3-4 meals here in the past few years, and each time I leave thinking "Why don't we come here more often". The dining room is small, maybe 20-tables. The service is mature and polished; very, very good. We ate simply: arugula salad, terrine of foie, house ravioli, and risotto. Simple is not easy to execute, and all of our dishes were fantastic. Two highlights:

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Wild Boar Sausage (?) - The online menu is not up to date and I was too busy paying attention to my lovely wife than paying attention to the actual menu description. This was one of the best risotto dishes I have ever had. Perfectly cooked, rich but not overly so, the sausage crumbles adding a nice hoggy/earthy punctuation mark. A great dish.

Terrina- Terrine of Foie Gras and Oxtail with pickled chanterelles, frisee, brioche. This was one of the best dishes I have had in recent memoriy and will take the place next to the tagliatelle with sea urchin I had at Komi years back as one of those "simple" dishes, perfectly executed, that I will remember forever. Outstanding.

Finished with a chestnut souffle that was merely *meh*, but souffles aren't really my thing.

Villa Mozart, thank you for an excellent meal.

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It's been way too long since my last visit to Villa Mozart! We had a lovely lunch today. Their $20 3-course Prix Fixe lunch is one of the best deals in NOVA, in my opinion. The soup today was artichoke puree garnished with a drizzle of very nice olive oil, some grated Parmesan, and chopped chives. It tasted of artichokes and lemon, and was very creamy and well-balanced. Of the two choices for the entree, we selected the fish of the day, which was a perfectly cooked filet of sturgeon resting on a bed of steamed spinach and celery root puree, with two tiny potato cakes. Beautifully plated and really elegant for lunch, IMO. Dessert was a bit of a miss today. It was described as a fruit-topped "creme brulee" but it wasn't truly that. The fruit compote on top was cloyingly sweet to me (I don't consume a lot of sugar in general), although other diners seemed to enjoy it. Just the soup and sturgeon seemed like a real bargain at $20.

Honestly, until this dessert today, I've never had a dish I didn't thoroughly enjoy at Villa Mozart. The food is fresh and well-prepared, with balanced flavors. I've not tried their pastas, but my husband really loves them. I need to remember to keep this one in my regular rotation when I'm cruising for lunch during the week in Fairfax.

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Even though Villa Mozart has been open for about 9 years, and we live right down the street from them, we made our first visit last week.  It was an evening during the week and we showed up at 7:30 without reservations. Fortunately for us it was not crowded at all, with only two occupied tables.  We parked behind the building, which is accessed via a very narrow ally next to the restaurant.  It shares the parking lot with a hair salon, and only has 3 parking spots allocated to the restaurant.  While we were parking in one of the spots, people from the hair salon kept watching us out of the back window.  Parking wars?  Who knows?

We started with two glasses of wine.  As mentioned above, the pours were very generous.  On a school night, one glass was plenty for me!  They brought out grissini, which are thin, house made breadsticks, and they were very good.  We placed our orders and then they brought out foccacia, placing two pieces on each persons bread plate.

Our appetizers arrived shortly after:  Potato Soup, calamari, and a special of house made mozzarella wrapped in a pastry crust served over a bed of sauteed eggplant.  I had the calamari, which was seared calamari, green peas, white beans, Kalamata olives in a lightly spiced tomato sauce served with garlic crostino on the side.  This was the best calamari I've ever had!  The rings were tender - perfectly cooked. The combination was fantastic.  The garlic crostino was sliver thin and looked like lace.  It melted in your mouth.  I'm not sure exactly what was in the soup, but it was reported to be very rich and was enjoyed.  The special wrapped mozzarella was not the favorite.  The mozzarella was excellent, and the sauteed eggplant was good, but the pastry was dry and added nothing to the dish.

Entrees were Chef Andrea's Hometown ravioli, penne martelli, and tagliata.  I had the ravioli which was rye ravioli, mountain cheese, spinach in a buttery sauce.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but be aware that the sauce makes it very rich.  The penne martelli was penne with lobster.  It looked wonderful, but I was unable to get a bite.  The tagliata was for my little carnivore.  It was sirloin steak, celery root puree, porcini mushrooms, and a chive potato cake with a red wine sauce.  She devoured it and declared the potato cake was much better than the one she had the week before at 21 Great American Bistro around the corner. Once again, I was unable to get a bite.

Although we all ordered the three course dinner, only three of us got desserts.  The special dessert was apple strudel, which requires 12 - 15 minutes to cook.  The waiter told us about it when he brought the entrees and two of us ordered it.  I ordered the sorbet, which came with three scoops - cinnamon/cardamon, blueberry, and raspberry.  I wasn't a fan of the cinnamon/cardamon, but enjoyed the blueberry and raspberry.

When we left, two more groups had arrived, including a large group seated by the front window.  There seemed to be only one waiter and he was kept moving.  Unfortunately, it made our meal take over two hours.  I'd happily return, but would definitely leave the under aged at home.

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2 hours ago, jpbloom said:

Last service is tonight.  The notice said the new owners want to go in a new direction.  I always thought it was decent, but the limited and unchanging menu made me not want to return frequently.

Villa Mozart is rated in Italic, will be retired as such, and is still ranked as the #1 restaurant in East Fairfax. jpbloom is correct: It was something of a limited restaurant, largely because of the fine-dining aspect, but it was also a darned good place to have a civilized meal - I'll miss it.

Screenshot 2017-11-11 at 11.51.58.pngScreenshot 2017-11-11 at 11.45.31.png

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3 hours ago, jpbloom said:

Last service is tonight.  The notice said the new owners want to go in a new direction.  I always thought it was decent, but the limited and unchanging menu made me not want to return frequently.

In his chat last Wednesday, Tom said that it was sold to someone who was going to make it a Taiwanese restaurant with craft beers.

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Drove past the restaurant yesterday and there is a now awning that says "High Street" (I think) and a sub-heading Asian Street Food and Craft beer.

That's right up my alley, but the space is so small I don't know how they can do the volume with these things as the focus, and parking makes "carry-out" a problem.

 

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