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Harry's Essential Grille, Chef William Conway on Leesburg Pike in Tysons Corner - Deemed Non-Essential.


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Has anyone been to check out the Essential Grille in Tysons? It's in the old Fedora Cafe space on Rte 7, the menu looks fresh, organic, healthy. And a bonus, it looks like they've kept the outdoor seating area. Hoping to check it out this week, but was trying to see if anyone else had been? www.theessentialgrille.net

Enjoying reading everyone's posts, discovered this site thru the CP article, I'm a chowhounder as well.

Thanks!

Wendy

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I was hoping that the food here would be a huge step up from the chain dreck in the Tysons Galleria. It was only marginally better, and not nearly as good as meals I've had at Sam and Harry's in the past. In fairness, the comparison is apples and oranges to some extent.

The three-item Essential Lunch is a decent deal if you're hungry. I got the pea and mint soup, which would've been great if it hadn't been served warm when I expected something cooler. My fault for not asking first. The organic salad was fairly generic, and the shrimp/crab half-sandwich didn't have much "meat" at all. The calamari appetizer with the dipping sauces was probably the best part of our lunch.

And to make matters worse, one of the first things that our server said to us spoiled the outcome of the Germany/Argentina World Cup quarterfinal (which was taking place at the time). Obviously, he had no idea I was DVRing the match but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Oddly enough, a week earlier I met Chief Justice Roberts during a tour and he inadvertently spoiled the outcome of USA/Ghana before I was able to watch -- he mentioned having hosted a reception with over a dozen chief justices from Africa earlier that day, and apparently they couldn't stop raving about how great the match was. Impeachable offense, if you ask me. :D

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Has anyone been to check out the Essential Grille in Tysons? It's in the old Fedora Cafe space on Rte 7, the menu looks fresh, organic, healthy. And a bonus, it looks like they've kept the outdoor seating area. Hoping to check it out this week, but was trying to see if anyone else had been? www.theessentialgrille.net

Enjoying reading everyone's posts, discovered this site thru the CP article, I'm a chowhounder as well.

Thanks!
Wendy

I used to cook at "Restaurant 7" which came after Fedora, and obviously, they had a tough go of it too. I suspect, however, that management had more than a major part to play in its demise, as well as alienating its great opening chef, Mina Newman, within the first year of its opening, which sent her packing. Will be interesting to see how Essential pans out.

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I had a quick lunch at the bar last week, while my car was being serviced down the road. I had half a Cuban sandwich, which tasted primarily of vinegary pickles and the gazpacho, which reminded me of the kind of watery salsa you get in a jar that doesn't have any chiles in it. I had an Allagash draft with it. The people at the bar who were eating burgers seemed happy with them.

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I work right in the Tyson's area, so have been there a few times. Had a great 'summer salad' there recently, with tons of fresh veggies and corn chopped up with a vinaigrette. Love the wine list - lots of interesting wine by the glass. I have had some really good meals there, and a few that weren't so good (like the goat cheese/tomato sandwich served on really really oily foccacia, the one time). So I think it's inconsistent, mostly. By the way... I never understood why they offered that goat cheese/tomato sandwich in the dead of winter... when they claimed to only offer vegetables when they were in season.

On a side note, I actually had a waiter warn me against the Cuban sandwich.

Don't know if it's still offered, but I DID have a fabulous brunch there, with my family... so I would recommend that.

It definitely seems like business hasn't been great - there are always tables to be had without a wait.

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I dunno if the description here suggests that this place is part of the "empire" but there is enough of a link that I expected better from my meal.

That said, I haven't been to Sam & Harry's in five years and have never tried Harry's Tap Room.

This leads me to believe that Harry's Essential Grill is related to Harry's Tap Room. But that opens up another question: what is the relationship, if any, between Harry's Tap Room and Sam & Harry's.

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This leads me to believe that Harry's Essential Grill is related to Harry's Tap Room. But that opens up another question: what is the relationship, if any, between Harry's Tap Room and Sam & Harry's.

Sam and Harry are divorced. Harry's Tap Room and its sequel, Essential Grill belongs, oddly enough, to Harry (not his real name -- I think Sam and Harry were the grandfathers or some male ancestor of the actual owners) and have no connection to Sam or "Sam and Harry's" which went to Sam in the divorce.

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On the recommendation of some over-enthusiastic people in our Tysons office, we hit Harry's Essential Grill tonight. First off, since we work stupid hours, we decided to go out to dinner at 9 on a weeknight. Which limited us to the Tysons neighborhood. When I called the place, they told me they were nominally open until ten, but that when it was quiet, the kitchen often closed early. When I asked how quiet they were, she suggested we get there ASAP.

With that encouraging beginning, we headed over and sat in the back dining room by about 9:25-9:30 or so.

We pored over the wine list and were fascinated by the bottles in the $14-15 range that didn't look like Boone's Farm. We settled on a $15 Argentinean wine that the waiter assured us that we would find "quite good - for a $15 bottle of wine." Luckily, we did, and luckily VA's corking laws allowed us to bring it home since it is just Tuesday.

Our bread appeared within ten seconds of us being seated by a very sweet and conscientious waiter.

E ordered a caesar to start and I figured I'd be fine with wine. It was heavy on the anchovies, but a serviceable caesar with two croutons. Nothing worth writing home about.

I had the honey roasted duck with snow peas and potatoes - all of which was very good. Our service was so unobtrusive that at one point I actually asked my date if I had remembered to order something. The duck was sweet and good, but some pieces were cooked better than others, and perhaps the whole thing needed to be a bit rarer.

E's pair of fillets with peppercorn mustard was pretty good - and the dark mushrooms on the side went VERY well with the sauce. Overall, I won the entree battle.

The other thing of note was again a plus to our wonderful waiter. We were That Table tonight. Last to be seated meant we were the last to leave. We hadn't had a date night in a number of weeks, so we were entirely engrossed in our conversation about work and papal infallibility that we lingered for a good ten minutes after we had paid cash. No one rushed us out, and it was just the manager locking the door behind us that told us we were the last.ones.in.the.restaurant.

Overall? I'd go back there but would not make a special trip. Unless we could have our same waiter.

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Sam and Harry are divorced. Harry's Tap Room and its sequel, Essential Grill belong, oddly enough, to Harry (not his real name -- I think Sam and Harry were the grandfathers or some male ancestor of the actual owners) and have no connection to Sam or "Sam and Harry's" which went to Sam in the divorce.

Divorce you say! I see from the Sam and Harrys website that Sam is making good use of the trademark he got in the divorce. There are now Sam and Harrys in Newport Beach, California and Fort Worth, Texas with another opening soon in Schaumburg, Il.

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I have heard that Harry's Essential Grille has closed. Anyone in the Tyson's area confirm this? Nothing to actually do with Harry's but building/space being sold.

It's confirmed on their website.

To think I went there two weeks ago "in the interest of science" makes me LIVID. I piss away more money than most anyone.

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. So maybe THIS was the "beloved institution" that Tom was referring to? Is there some special tax advantage to closing restaurants before the end of 2006? Just wondering, because they're dropping like flies.

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Coincidentally, I had lunch there on the 18th (to accommodate a "healthy eater" co-worker). Appearance-wise, it sure didn't seem like a restaurant on death row.

Food was slightly better than last time. I liked the sweetness of the red pepper soup, but was hoping for a thicker texture and more crab meat. Cuban sandwich was slightly under-seasoned but otherwise well-executed. Calamari was also perfectly fried.

I wonder what (if anything) will take its place.

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Maybe the snot-nosed pissant "Assistant Service Manager" (translation: clerk) working across the street at Audi of Tysons Corner can open up an Asshole Store.

There's a store for them? You know, now that you're mentioning it, "assholes" do seem to have flooded the area's roads lately.

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Coincidentally, I had lunch there on the 18th (to accommodate a "healthy eater" co-worker). Appearance-wise, it sure didn't seem like a restaurant on death row.

Food was slightly better than last time. I liked the sweetness of the red pepper soup, but was hoping for a thicker texture and more crab meat. Cuban sandwich was slightly under-seasoned but otherwise well-executed. Calamari was also perfectly fried.

I wonder what (if anything) will take its place.

Just confirmed that the Tysons HEG location was snatched up by Ruth's Chris. No word yet on when/whether they'll open another butter-soaked steak emporium here in the area.

Talked to Harry's Essential co-owner Michael Sternberg about the abrupt disappearing act and he claims, "We were doing fine. But we just got an offer we couldn't refuse." Meanwhile, he and partner Michael Kaufman are pursuing plans to bring the next generation Harry's Essential Grille to the Fashion Centre in Pentagon City sometime in late 2007.

The following is from their official release about the sale:

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"Pentagon City is exactly the type of location that we are seeking. It fits all the criteria that we have applied to our search in regard to size, demographics, pedestrian traffic and economics. We are looking forward to the successful launch of that restaurant, remarked Kaufman.

"The closing of the Essential Grille will not affect any of the company's other operations. All three Harry's Tap Room locations (Clarendon Marketplace and two at Dulles Airport) continue to thrive. It is our hope that most, if not all of our Essential Grille associates will accept re-assignment to Harry's Tap Room locations, concluded Sternberg and Kaufman."

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Talked to Harry's Essential co-owner Michael Sternberg about the abrupt disappearing act and he claims, "We were doing fine. But we just got an offer we couldn't refuse." Meanwhile, he and partner Michael Kaufman are pursuing plans to bring the next generation Harry's Essential Grille to the Fashion Centre in Pentagon City sometime in late 2007.

The following is from their official release about the sale:

---

"Pentagon City is exactly the type of location that we are seeking. It fits all the criteria that we have applied to our search in regard to size, demographics, pedestrian traffic and economics. We are looking forward to the successful launch of that restaurant, remarked Kaufman."

 

I was wondering what might be going in that vacant space on the 2nd floor where...um....what was it called? (American Grill??) used to be. Maybe this is the answer to that question.

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