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Bookbinders, Old Town Alexandria - Closed.


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Grover and I have reservations tonight at the newly opened Bookbinders in the old Portner's space. According to the PR flack, it's a mid-priced piece of Philly. More this evening after our return.
The Bookbinders in Richmond seems to me to be the kind of place for people with more money than taste. The kind of place that corporate lawyers would bring clients on expense accounts.

Admittedly I only tried it once. I had a perfectly lovely piece of grilled rockfish which, inexplicably, was served in a puddle of water, presumably emanating from the fish. I have no idea why, never had this happen with a grilled filet before. Maybe it was flash frozen, thawed, and not patted dry? Could not get the attention of a server, so eventually I used my heavy linen dinner napkin to pat the plate dry and then the fish was pretty good.

The side of asparagus was very generous.

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The Bookbinders in Richmond seems to me to be the kind of place for people with more money than taste. The kind of place that corporate lawyers would bring clients on expense accounts.

Admittedly I only tried it once. I had a perfectly lovely piece of grilled rockfish which, inexplicably, was served in a puddle of water, presumably emanating from the fish. I have no idea why, never had this happen with a grilled filet before. Maybe it was flash frozen, thawed, and not patted dry? Could not get the attention of a server, so eventually I used my heavy linen dinner napkin to pat the plate dry and then the fish was pretty good.

The side of asparagus was very generous.

Comming from Philadelphia and having recently lived in Richmond, I can tell you that Bookbinders is considered a tourist trap by the former, and a much loved part of the dining scene in the latter. Maybe those Philadelphians are eternally jaded (just look how quickly sports figures and teams go from Valhallah to Earth :mellow: ) about an old establishment that's been around seemingly forever and which, as most locals will tell you, has rested on it's Frank Sinatra and David Brenner photos on the wall for way too long.

Richmond seemed to me to be appreciative to have a "big city", yankee institution nestled right in "the bottom". I think, as stated above, it is a status symbol where lawyers and politicos like to wine and dine. Then again, everone I spoke to loved it including Mr. MV, who once was treated to a cowboy steak the size of Stonewall Jackson on Monument Ave.

I'm looking forward to checking it out myself, so, bring those reports in. We'll see how Bookbinders satisfies between the City of Brotherly Love and the South which will rise again :) .

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Comming from Philadelphia and having recently lived in Richmond, I can tell you that Bookbinders is considered a tourist trap by the former, and a much loved part of the dining scene in the latter. Maybe those Philadelphians are eternally jaded (just look how quickly sports figures and teams go from Valhallah to Earth :mellow: ) about an old establishment that's been around seemingly forever and which, as most locals will tell you, has rested on it's Frank Sinatra and David Brenner photos on the wall for way too long.

Richmond seemed to me to be appreciative to have a "big city", yankee institution nestled right in "the bottom". I think, as stated above, it is a status symbol where lawyers and politicos like to wine and dine. Then again, everone I spoke to loved it including Mr. MV, who once was treated to a cowboy steak the size of Stonewall Jackson on Monument Ave.

I'm looking forward to checking it out myself, so, bring those reports in. We'll see how Bookbinders satisfies between the City of Brotherly Love and the South which will rise again :) .

Well Grover and I are home from Bookbinders. A few observations:

1 - The bread isn't great but the crust is nice and crunchy and quite tasty

2 - The oysters on the half-shell were excellent, plump, fresh and exteremly good.

3 - Grover's shrimp cocktail had 4 huge shrimp. They didn't stand a chance. The cocktail sauce has just the right amount (for us anyway) of horseradish.

4 - I had beef tournedos which were cooked to a cool red center medium rare with just a bit of chewiness. The beef is good but not better than beef at another place I can name.

5 - Grover's crabcake was a good size with almost no filler. I managed to snag a bite and it made me wish I had ordered them as well.

6 - We shared the key lime pie. The pie was very good but the sweet whipped cream on the side was really SWEET.

Wine prices by the glass are a bit pricy but the pour is generous which makes up for it to some extent. Our server was properly attentive and there when we needed something but not obtrusive.

Dinner for two with 2 glasses of wine, appetizers, entrees, dessert, coffee and cappucino came to around $130 not including tax.

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I was there last night with a few friends, and it's worthy of another go sometime.

I spoke with the bartender and he says it's not really affiliated with the Bookbinder's in Philly. The management group bought the rights to the name, and that's the affiliation.

I had the crabcakes appetizer and the filet mignon main course. My buddy had the fired calamari appetizer and the filet mignon. I have to say that the filets were cooked to perfection, and at about $20 for 8 oz. they were better than and less expensive than Morton's or Ruth's Chris. His calamari was perfect, with light and almost airy crust, no grease at all. My crabcakes were good, not great, but worth a try at the entre portion next time. My other friend had the deviled eggs and said they tasted too much like eggs, not shrimp. But his pork chop was sensational. Wine by the glass was pretty reasonable and a large assortment was available. Yes, I would go back, but there are lots of other places in Old Town I would go to between visits.

Speaking of which, had a nightcap with my buddies at Pat Troy's across King Street. As we were sipping our seasonal brews, the guy at the table next to me was eating shepherd's pie. It looked darn good! I could see it and smell it from where I sat, and the little corner of it left on his plate had me tempted to dive in before the bus boy got there...

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Incidentally, the chef at Bookbinder's is Johnny Nielsen, the opening chef of Dino.

Definitely worth another visit. The food that came out of the kitchen was in that neat little culinary notch above Chadwick's but below Eve. I was impressed with the meats, cooked to perfection, juicy and full of taste, but not priced to kill. The appetizers were almost in the special, tasting-menu category but not quite there. I'm going to assume Johnny Nielsen is about to inflict some real pleasure on all of our tastebuds over the coming year.

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We ended up here Friday night. We hadn't planned it, were just driving by and thought we ought to see what went in where Portner's used to be. Food was a notch above what I was expecting. It was steakhouse, not pub food. Barbara and I shared the iceberg salad, the dressing had lots of blue cheese but could have used a little chopped shallot or garlic. Barbara's entree, the grouper Pontchartrain, was the standout of the evening, perfectly cooked, topped with a sauteed soft-shell crab and a couple of shrimp, on top of some nice thick asparagus spears. I had the strip steak medium rare, and we shared an order of the french fries. The steak was excellent, nice and crusty outside, still red on the inside. Maybe it was a little underdone, but that's a mild quibble. The fries were fresh-tasting, thin and crispy.

I thought at the time that the wine list seemed pricey. I'm not as sure now, and since they don't include their prices on the website, I can't compare it to retail now. I had two of the Wild Goose draft at $5.75 each, Barbara had a glass of the Dr. Loosen dry riesling. Total tab, including tax, was $102.

I would go back, especially for the fish.

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I was hesitant to try Bookbinders, since Tom S' review of it was so-so, but these posts convinced me to give it a go. We were pleasantly surprised, everything was quite good! We started with Oysters Rockefeller, then husband had the NY Strip Steak (good quality & cooked as requested) & I had the Seafood Scampi (very tasty & generous with the shellfish), we split the Johnnie's Potatoes & Lobster Mac & Cheese, which was amazing. So thanks for the reviews!

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I was walking around Old Town in Alexandria Sunday Morning with my wife. We saw the Bookbinders awning on a side street off of King St. and decided to take a look. as I tried to enter the bui,lding I had to quickly step aside for a large man carryins a big load of clean table linens out to a waiting truck. When I stuck my head in the door, a group of men were behind the bar apparently taking inventory of the stock. i asked one of them to see a menu, and was told that Bookbinders was closing and that they were in the process of moving out the inventory. Apparently the space has already been leased out to another restaurant. No idea who will take over the space or when they will open.

TSchaad

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Apparently the space has already been leased out to another restaurant. No idea who will take over the space or when they will open.
Welcome to DR! Apparently, TS has your answer, and it's here through our own oliveDC, aka metrocurean, aka the lovely Ms. Amanda.
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