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PassionFish, Seafood in Reston Town Center and Bethesda Row by Passion Food Hospitality - Bethesda is Closing Sun, Nov 15, 2020


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I heard it on good word that PassionFish Bethesda will be permanently closing after Sunday night. A quick search on OpenTable for both Sunday and Monday seems to confirm this:

I think it's fair to say that any holiday where you're "supposed to" eat out, is a time better spent at home. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Years...I'm avoiding restaurants lik

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PassionFish is now open. This is a handsome restaurant space that seems to combine aspects of The Source (with the staircase ascending in the middle), DC Coast (looking over towards the entrance), and 2941 (around the windows). Design-wise, PassionFish gives off the air of being stylish without being gaudy, and of being functional without being sterile.

The location itself is fascinating, at least in terms of sociology and economics. Situated at the outskirts of Reston Town Center, it's currently "down the block" from all the action, and if I were Passion Food LLC, I'd be campaigning the powers of Reston for permission to put signs up in the free parking garage, pointing the pedestrians out the side exit, and landing them right in front of PassionFish. As it stands, Uncle Julio's and Jackson's may well serve as blockades siphoning off pedestrian traffic. Case in point: last night at 7:30 PM, there were forty-one people in the bar area of Jackson's, and only three in the bar area of PassionFish.

That having been said, nobody knows this is open yet. And if everyone examined the two wine lists side-by-side, there would be a mass exodus stampeding out of Jackson's, and storming the gates of PassionFish - it's a very good, workable wine list, both by the glass and by the bottle.

The menu obviously focuses on seafood, and offers it in many guises - sushi, ceviche, raw, cold, hot, broiled, fried, small plates, big plates, Mediterranean, Latino, Asian... they've covered all the bases, and even have their own sushi chef.

Dinner starts out with a welcoming amuse-gueule of Smoked Great Lakes Whitefish Rillettes, served in a jar with toasted slices of baguette - it even comes with an elegant little toe-tag which you can take home as a souvenir.

Wanting to sample a cross-section of their menu, I ordered Spicy Tuna Roll ($11), Kona Kampachi Crudo ($10), Grilled Baby Octopus ($12), Monkfish "Osso Bucco" Amatriciana ($23), Steamed Blue Hill Bay Mussels Veracruz ($12), and Fricassee of Market Vegetables ($5).

And of course, a special bottle of Sancerre as a gesture of respect to the new kids in Reston.

The potential is here for PassionFish to be a major force on the Reston restaurant scene. I suspect it will become very popular and financially successful; critical acclaim for the cuisine itself will hinge entirely on execution, saucing, and attention to detail. On verra...

Cheers,

Rocks.

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PassionFish is now open. This is a handsome restaurant space that seems to combine aspects of The Source (with the staircase ascending in the middle), DC Coast (looking over towards the entrance), and 2941 (around the windows). Design-wise, PassionFish gives off the air of being stylish without being gaudy, and of being functional without being sterile.

The location itself is fascinating, at least in terms of sociology and economics. Situated at the outskirts of Reston Town Center, it's currently "down the block" from all the action, and if I were Passion Food LLC, I'd be campaigning the powers of Reston for permission to put signs up in the free parking garage, pointing the pedestrians out the side exit, and landing them right in front of PassionFish. As it stands, Uncle Julio's and Jackson's may well serve as blockades siphoning off pedestrian traffic. Case in point: last night at 7:30 PM, there were forty-one people in the bar area of Jackson's, and only three in the bar area of PassionFish.

That having been said, nobody knows this is open yet. And if everyone examined the two wine lists side-by-side, there would be a mass exodus stampeding out of Jackson's, and storming the gates of PassionFish - it's a very good, workable wine list, both by the glass and by the bottle.

The menu obviously focuses on seafood, and offers it in many guises - sushi, ceviche, raw, cold, hot, broiled, fried, small plates, big plates, Mediterranean, Latino, Asian... they've covered all the bases, and even have their own sushi chef.

Dinner starts out with a welcoming amuse-gueule of Smoked Great Lakes Whitefish Rillettes, served in a jar with toasted slices of baguette - it even comes with an elegant little toe-tag which you can take home as a souvenir.

Wanting to sample a cross-section of their menu, I ordered Spicy Tuna Roll ($11), Kona Kampachi Crudo ($10), Grilled Baby Octopus ($12), Monkfish "Osso Bucco" Amatriciana ($23), Steamed Blue Hill Bay Mussels Veracruz ($12), and Fricassee of Market Vegetables ($5).

And of course, a special bottle of Sancerre as a gesture of respect to the new kids in Reston.

The potential is here for PassionFish to be a major force on the Reston restaurant scene. I suspect it will become very popular and financially successful; critical acclaim for the cuisine itself will hinge entirely on execution, saucing, and attention to detail. On verra...

Cheers,

Rocks.

Three visits now including lunch today. Superb tuna Nicoise, fried oysters equal to Charleston which were the best I'd ever had, excellent lobster roll with outstanding fresh french fries, excellent gumbo-in fact all of their soups are delicious.

This IS the best restaurant in Western Fairfax county but, as Don noted, may be paying something of a price for being a block past the Jackson's/Uncle Julio's intersection. It is going to take time for people to fully discover the excellence and, yes, value here. In the meantime Jackson's may be the current flagship of GAR and generated a great deal of buzz before they opened their doors; a head start on brand recognition alone in Fairfax county. Passion Fish needs to be known. And will be. As the defining restaurant for Reston Town Center it is well worth the drive from the Beltway or down the block past Jackson's.

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I have one thing to say about Passion Fish in Reston: GO THERE NOW!

Ok, now that that's out of the way, on to the review. My husband and I went to the bar last night to try out a few items. We each started with a Stella, but I finished with the "World Class Martini", a mix of Ciroc snap frost vodka, white grape juice and frozen grapes garnish. I usually stick to beer and wine, but this was selling like hotcakes at the bar, so I had to try one. Aggie, our friendly and helpful bartender, took care of us all night and displayed her skills with this refreshing concoction. For more substantial fare, we had the Crispy Fried Oysters with Apple and Celery Root Slaw, the Spicy Tuna Roll, and the Lobster Roll Sliders. The tuna rolls were slightly larger than what you would get in most sushi joints, but still "one-biters." The spicy mayonnaise was served as a small dollop on top of each piece instead of mixed in, and I thought this helped the fresh tuna flavor come out more. The fried oysters....well, let's just say Joe H is on the money. These crisp yet meaty beasts were on par with the best I've ever had, most of which have been found in Charleston or other deep south locales. Finally, the lobster rolls. My only complaint is the portion size for $12 - three tiny sliders (for two people no less - sawing the last one in half was a challenge!) is on the small side. However, the flavor and meat were top notch.

Interesting side note - the French sounding "owner" (or manager? hard to tell since it's a corporate entity) of Mon Ami Gabi was on the other end of the bar chatting with Chef Tunks for a good part of the evening. Also, the crowds at Jacksons were the topic of many conversations around us - all folks wondering like we were why there weren't more people at Passion Fish! Sure, the prices ARE a bit higher than Jacksons, but the experience and cuisine are a notch above everything else in RTC and I'd venture all of Reston/Herndon. Welcome Passion Fish!

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My wife and I went Wednesday night for dinner. It was very good and we'll definitely be back, but . . .

First, the space is very nice and the sound level very reasonable. The service was attentive and efficient, with the various members of the staff seeming to work well as a team. The wine list is limited, but well selected, with decent choices at various price points.

The starters were better than the mains. I had a grilled baby octopus which had a very nice grill flavor and just the right texture. My wife had a Kamikaze roll that had a very nice mix of flavors and just the slightest crunch which helped the overall appeal. One down side to the roll - the pieces were too big, such that they were difficult to handle and quite a mouthful for one bite.

While the mains were good, they were a little disappointing. We went with standards, for comparison purposes. My wife had crab cakes, which she enjoyed, but thought were missing that certain someting and she was bothered by several pieces of shell in the cakes. I had the cioppino. The shellfish and fish were high quality and tasty, but the broth was quite bland and needed additional spice of some type. Even the garlic bread didn't seem to have any garlic.

One personal pet peeve. Why do servers feel compelled to offer assistance with wine choices when they don't even know the wines on their lists? And how tough is it to teach the staff the wines, particularly at a new restaurant? While well intentioned, the waitress had no clue of what I was ordering when I ordered the wine (as often happens, fall back to the bin number) and totally mangled the name of the producer (Chehalem - okay, maybe a little unusual), the region (Willamette Valley - okay, maybe if you're not familiar with the area) and the variety (Pinot Gris - even though it's French, it shouldn't be that tough in a restaurant). Sorry for the kvetching, but this stuff bothers me.

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I have one thing to say about Passion Fish in Reston: GO THERE NOW!

Ok, now that that's out of the way, on to the review. My husband and I went to the bar last night to try out a few items. We each started with a Stella, but I finished with the "World Class Martini", a mix of Ciroc snap frost vodka, white grape juice and frozen grapes garnish. I usually stick to beer and wine, but this was selling like hotcakes at the bar, so I had to try one. Aggie, our friendly and helpful bartender, took care of us all night and displayed her skills with this refreshing concoction. For more substantial fare, we had the Crispy Fried Oysters with Apple and Celery Root Slaw, the Spicy Tuna Roll, and the Lobster Roll Sliders. The tuna rolls were slightly larger than what you would get in most sushi joints, but still "one-biters." The spicy mayonnaise was served as a small dollop on top of each piece instead of mixed in, and I thought this helped the fresh tuna flavor come out more. The fried oysters....well, let's just say Joe H is on the money. These crisp yet meaty beasts were on par with the best I've ever had, most of which have been found in Charleston or other deep south locales. Finally, the lobster rolls. My only complaint is the portion size for $12 - three tiny sliders (for two people no less - sawing the last one in half was a challenge!) is on the small side. However, the flavor and meat were top notch.

Interesting side note - the French sounding "owner" (or manager? hard to tell since it's a corporate entity) of Mon Ami Gabi was on the other end of the bar chatting with Chef Tunks for a good part of the evening. Also, the crowds at Jacksons were the topic of many conversations around us - all folks wondering like we were why there weren't more people at Passion Fish! Sure, the prices ARE a bit higher than Jacksons, but the experience and cuisine are a notch above everything else in RTC and I'd venture all of Reston/Herndon. Welcome Passion Fish!

Passion Fish "suffers" from its location as well as the name recognition and "middle class" perception of GAR up the street. The traffic flow just stops at that intersection. You can also factor in a small sign (Jackson's has much more visibility just from the design of its facade), an empty building under construction across the street with temporary scaffolding to shield pedestrians from falling materials, an empty lot adjacent (the "farmer's market" is now at least five months from re-opening), the perception that it is MUCH more expensive (it is NOT-for the most part it is the SAME price as Jackson's), a less compelling bar scene (to Jackson's "Lucky" lounge) and, perhaps most importantly, the local economy.

Passion Fish WILL be the defining restaurant of Western Fairfax county. But to accomplish this it must be "discovered." This also means it must be promoted. It is unfortunate-sadly unfortunate-that it is not enough to have delicious, imaginatively presented and prepared food; it has to be marketed. It has to be wanted. I believe that Passion Fish needs to position itself as THE restaurant of Western Fairfax county. To accomplish this we are talking about events: Guest Chefs(Emeril is at Whole Foods in Fair Lakes)/television spots with local celebrities/cooking classes publicized in local papers/"festivals" and evenings drawing on Jeff Tunks' background at, then, New Orleans BEST restaurant in the Windsor Court/special dinners and national publicity (i.e. an appearance-however arranged-on the Food Network or the Green Channel or anything national that brings local publicity)/Jeff Tunks who is one of this city's-any city's-best chefs.

Anything that lets people know this is, indeed, a special restaurant. Worth the six miles from the Beltway or the one block from Jackson's.

This is a restaurant worthy of hyperbolic promotion. As a 20+ year Restonian and native born Washingtonian I am honored that a great restaurant has finally come here. I am embarassed that it has not received the over the top attention that Jackson's has. I like Jackson's. A lot. But Passion Fish is better. It is a credit to Reston, to Fairfax county, and a helluva lot shorter drive than downtown D. C. from our home here. In time both Passion Fish and Jackson's will do well. For Passion Fish it is going to involve some work that has nothing to do with what is on the table. This is a serious restaurant. For D. C. or for Reston.

Thank you Chef Tunks.

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Sounds like it's only real competition should be L'auberge chez Francois, which is prix fixe at around $75. Would Passion Fish be able to pull away lovers of old world food and charm?

They are very different: you are comparing 1789 to what I think is Passion Foods' best restaurant in an ambience, as Don mentioned, that has elements from The Source as well as 2941.

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It's one of the best restaurants in VA.

:)

I think Passionfish suffers the same fate as some of the other so called dining destinations at the Reston Town Center.

Economy, location, and it's featured menu is mainly just seafood.

Meat eating expense accounts will still go to Morton's for the nice bottle of Cab and a steak.

Working class singles will hang out in the Town Center, Jackson's, Clyde's, people seeking ethnic will venture into Il Fornaio, for a casual meal

or a real Italian regional fare. With a nice wine list available for the foodies. Or a jaunt to Mon Ami Gabi will entice them.

Places like Passion Fish will be a word of mouth type of venue, the rave reviews will be the force that drives business there.

I seem to think the summer brings out the seafood lover in even the casual diner, so they will see an up tick in business by then.

I ate there right before they opened and I was moderately impressed but certainly not dazzled. My shrimp with grits was spot on, but the Peruvian ceviche was not

the ceviche I ate in Lima. Popcorn in place of hot peppers is a poor interpretation. I think Hook in Georgetown is more of a real seafood place.

They stick to what they do best, and don't try everything from ragin cajun to New England Lobster rolls that are more expensive than any Lobster you'll find in Maine.

Service was not what I consider spot on but passable. The sushi is good but expensive. Hostess was not very personable and the server had to be prompted for drinks and utensils.

But I will chalk that up to opening jitters. I feel like a lot of the menu was a throw back to Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen and a Zagats tour of popular seafood recipe's re hashed by Tunks. I would like to see more creativity from a chef with such a good reputation. But leave the popcorn out of the ceviche... Good Luck. :lol:

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I think Passionfish suffers the same fate as some of the other so called dining destinations at the Reston Town Center.

Economy, location, and it's featured menu is mainly just seafood.

Meat eating expense accounts will still go to Morton's for the nice bottle of Cab and a steak.

Working class singles will hang out in the Town Center, Jackson's, Clyde's, people seeking ethnic will venture into Il Fornaio, for a casual meal

or a real Italian regional fare. With a nice wine list available for the foodies. Or a jaunt to Mon Ami Gabi will entice them.

Places like Passion Fish will be a word of mouth type of venue, the rave reviews will be the force that drives business there.

I seem to think the summer brings out the seafood lover in even the casual diner, so they will see an up tick in business by then.

I ate there right before they opened and I was moderately impressed but certainly not dazzled. My shrimp with grits was spot on, but the Peruvian ceviche was not

the ceviche I ate in Lima. Popcorn in place of hot peppers is a poor interpretation. I think Hook in Georgetown is more of a real seafood place.

They stick to what they do best, and don't try everything from ragin cajun to New England Lobster rolls that are more expensive than any Lobster you'll find in Maine.

Service was not what I consider spot on but passable. The sushi is good but expensive. Hostess was not very personable and the server had to be prompted for drinks and utensils.

But I will chalk that up to opening jitters. I feel like a lot of the menu was a throw back to Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen and a Zagats tour of popular seafood recipe's re hashed by Tunks. I would like to see more creativity from a chef with such a good reputation. But leave the popcorn out of the ceviche... Good Luck. :lol:

I would point out the comparable restaurant you mention, Hook, is in DC, not VA.

One example with Passion fish that I particularity liked was the gumbo soup. There was a complexity in terms of spices, rice and seafood ingredients that I enjoyed very much.

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They are very different: you are comparing 1789 to what I think is Passion Foods' best restaurant in an ambience, as Don mentioned, that has elements from The Source as well as 2941.

They are indeed very different and there is certainly room for both out here in the boonies. We are big fans of L'Auberge but after my lunch at DC Coast last Friday I've told my wife I want to try PassionFish soon.

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Healthy pre-Thanksgiving crowds in Reston Town Center last night as I walked into PassionFish with singular thoughts of a dessert.

The seafood theme carried over into the clever presentation of Warm Donut Holes ($7), four yeasty, biscuit-shaped, sugar-dipped rounds served in a tipped over paper-towel cone, with a scallop dish of coffee Bavarian cream. Now, I don't know of anywhere in the world where you can actually stroll along the sea and buy a cone of fried clams with dipping sauce, but if you COULD, and I suspect there are indeed places where you can, this would be a clever take on that. And seven dollars may seem seafood-expensive for four donut holes (all desserts here are seven dollars), but I'd rather have four good donut holes than eight bad ones, and the Bavarian cream also had a refreshing taste of coffee grounds instead of just sweetness - complemented perfectly by an Oban 14, neat, one cube on the side ($16).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Reston Town Center has had large crowds over the past week or ten days. I believe that Passion Fish has been discovered (try the Norwegian crab legs-incredible!), certainly at dinner. I'm also guessing there is now enough critical mass at Town Center that it is becoming a kind of somewhat smaller Bethesda or Old Town (minus the indivudal chef owned restaurants) as a destination drawing people from a larger area than before. It's also entirely possible that Tyson's is losing diners to Reston because of the congestion and new construction. There are still more restaurants to open with Counter Burger ( http://www.thecounterburger.com/ ) under construction adjacent to Mon Ami Gabi. The White Chocolate Grill (if it is still coming-lack of activity in the building for a good while http://www.whitechocolategrill.com/ ) promises to be interesting also as does the Towson gelato shop (whose name I forgot) and the Middleburg winery's tasting room outpost.

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I think one can safely say it has been discovered! Dinner tonight was lovely. While we usually go to Palena for celebratory dining, I waited too long to make a reservation and didn't want to wait for a table in the Cafe. Since I've been wanting to try Passion Fish and we were able to get a reservation, we went for it and weren't disappointed.

Service was exceptional, from the minute we walked in the door. Rob, our server, got his exercise tonight going up and down the stairs. But he always managed to be around just when we needed him to be. Water glasses were filled unobtrusively, additional bread crisps offered several times, so we were able to finish the wonderful whitefish spread that is served with the crisps; a nice substitute of a standard bread and butter. Maybe it was because both Chef Tunks and the Executive Chef Chris (sorry can't recall his full name) were in the house.

I had oysters to start while Mr. Squids had a salad. The oysters were fresh and tasty, while the salad was a nice opener. I was surprised that the salad was actually quite large. For mains, I had a customized scallop dish with bok choy over mashed potatoes in a butter sauce. Mr. S had the whole branzino with a side of roasted winter vegetables. All the food was well prepared and delicious. For dessert, we had the salted caramel creme brulee, and the key lime tart. I would probably order the key lime tart again over the creme brulee; not that the creme brulee was bad or disappointing, but it just paled in comparison to the intense flavors of the tart. I had a glass of wine, and with the apps, mains and desserts we were at $50/pp pre-tax and tip.

I'm not sorry we went here and would definitely like to go back, but it isn't convenient for us and we aren't usually in Reston when it is just the two of us. And it's not quite the type of restaurant to drag the whole family to on a whim. Knowing that we will go to get our Palena fix in 28 days for Mr. S' bday also helped. :lol:

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My husband and I went back for a second try a couple weeks ago. Again we are light eaters so we just got a couple apps at the bar. The grilled octopus was outstanding - quite a meaty and charred flavor. Even if you don't count yourself as a seafood lover, you will be pleased with this hearty dish. We also had the tuna tartare - crisp, clean, and not overpowered by soy and wasabi like many of the tuna tartares we have had lately.

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I almost hate to do this, because I didn't eat there, but I was in the Reston Town Center for other business today and noticed the ubiquitous and ever-evil Sysco truck parked outside PassionFish. I'm hoping it was just dropping off paper napkins or something similarly inedible....

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I almost hate to do this, because I didn't eat there, but I was in the Reston Town Center for other business today and noticed the ubiquitous and ever-evil Sysco truck parked outside PassionFish. I'm hoping it was just dropping off paper napkins or something similarly inedible....

Then why even mention it?

I worked for Jeff Tunks for 5 years and I seriously doubt it is anything but paper goods and other sundries.

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Then why even mention it?

I worked for Jeff Tunks for 5 years and I seriously doubt it is anything but paper goods and other sundries.

The king crab legs are literally flown in from Norway. I would compare these to any Chesapeake Bay lump blue crabmeat that I have ever had.

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The king crab legs are literally flown in from Norway. I would compare these to any Chesapeake Bay lump blue crabmeat that I have ever had.

In what way? King crab and blue crab are different enough flavor profiles to be essentially incomparable.

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In what way? King crab and blue crab are different enough flavor profiles to be essentially incomparable.

Comparable in terms that either one can be ordered as a kind of lump crab cocktail or a meaty king crab leg to be dipped in the accompanying mayonnaisey dressing with equal satisfaction. I used to prefer lump Chesapeake Bay blue crab meat over any other kind of shellfish that I have had. The Norwegian crab leg-while different as you note-is seriously good. It is one of many reasons to visit this restaurant, just to taste these-they are THAT good! I do not believe that they are available anywhere else here either.

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He ditched the 3-month rule when he started getting competition. He still swears buy it, however, even though it has not been true in about two years.
There is no 3-month rule; Sietsema has always said that he waits at least a month before doing an "official" visit for the review (though of course he fudges that with the preview reports in the Wednesday food section). I can't speak to his actual practices, or how that related to his review of PassionFish. But I do know that what's changed in recent years is that the Post magazine has a much shorter editorial lead time than it used to. That shorter gap between deadline and printing means that reviews which formerly didn't appear until at least 3 months after a place opened, now appear more rapidly; articles and other columns are somewhat more up-to-date with current events.
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My wife and I had lunch at PassionFish on Friday; we were pretty impressed. We ordered light entrees (fish tacos and the seafood Cobb salad) and would recommend both. It's unfortunate that they're not open for lunch on weekends too--but if you have the chance to sample the menu during the week, it's worth the time!

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My wife and I had lunch at PassionFish on Friday; we were pretty impressed. We ordered light entrees (fish tacos and the seafood Cobb salad) and would recommend both. It's unfortunate that they're not open for lunch on weekends too--but if you have the chance to sample the menu during the week, it's worth the time!

My wife and I also had lunch there a couple weeks ago. I had the fish tacos and I thought they were really good. A great value for $11. The guacamole and pico de gallo were quite good. Wife had the vietnamese spring rolls. We split a bowl of lobster bisque, which I was actually a little disappointed with. Just had kind of a funny taste.

BTW, the fish and chips kids meal was the same fried fish as the fish tacos and was probably enough for two kids.

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Don, how was the monkfish osso bucco?

Did I have it at PassionFish? I can't remember, but I had an absolutely fascinating presentation of this the other week at 701. Bobby Varua had the fishmonger butcher the monkfish for him to look like a meat bone.

---

Wanting to sample a cross-section of their menu, I ordered Spicy Tuna Roll ($11), Kona Kampachi Crudo ($10), Grilled Baby Octopus ($12), Monkfish "Osso Bucco" Amatriciana ($23), Steamed Blue Hill Bay Mussels Veracruz ($12), and Fricassee of Market Vegetables ($5).

ETA - No clue. This is 200+ restaurants ago. <_<:rolleyes::lol:

Edited by DonRocks
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Had lunch there today, and this place is easily the best eating establishment in the otherwise mediocre Reston Town Center. In fact, it's easily in my top three in Reston-Herndon with Zeffirrelli and El Manantial.

Having eaten barely edible Greek last night at Taverna Cretekou, I was still feeling that brick-in-the-stomach effect that comes from overly caloric and barely pleasant food, so my appetite wasn't what it should have been.

The 'amouse' came out first -- Smoked Great Lakes Whitefish Rillettes. Wow. What a gift from the chef. I recall the Anthony Bourdain Chicago episode where the fish was being smoked, and now I tasted it. Delicious, even though the accompanying croutons were quite hard. Checkmark in the positive box, nonetheless.

Thereafter, a companion and I started with bowls of the Louisiana Seafood Gumbo and the Corn and Crab Chowder. No complaints at all. Not spectacular, but certainly worth ordering again in both cases. Checkmark in the positive box here.

Next we moved to the sushi rolls. The Spider roll and the Kamikaze roll were absolutely superb. I love the sushi at Yoko in Herndon and Mikaku Sushi Taro in McLearen Square, but whenever I'm within 10 miles of PassionFish, that's where I'm going for sushi, at least the rolls, from now on. The flavors and textures were spot-on. Move over, Kaz! Many checkmarks in that positive box here.

OK, so now I'm stuffed to the gills, but I couldn't resist a main course of fish tacos, and my friend had the miso salmon. Wow. The last time I had fish so perfectly fried was at Eammon's in Old Town. The accompanying salsa and guacamole were actually good, and a bite of the miso salmon was a pleasant treat. Many more checkmarks in the positive box here too.

Forgot to mention the fixed price lunch for $15! Maybe the best lunch deal in northern Virginia. You get a cup of the chowder, or gumbo, or seafood tortilla soup, followed by the catch of the day (mahi mahi today), accompanied with salad greens. Not a bad deal.

I might not eat again for a few days (OK, not true), but I know that I found the only true destination restaurant in the chain-dominated Reston Town Center.

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Forgot to mention the fixed price lunch for $15! Maybe the best lunch deal in northern Virginia. You get a cup of the chowder, or gumbo, or seafood tortilla soup, followed by the catch of the day (mahi mahi today), accompanied with salad greens. Not a bad deal.

Did not notice this deal when I was in for lunch today. Was this temporary? Anyway stopped into a pretty empty restaurant around noon for lunch. Not sure why as every other placed I passed looked pretty packed, or at least the outside tables were.

Started with a cup of the Blue Crab + Corn Chowder (Crab meat, green onions) $5 and the Baja Style Crispy Fish Tacos $11. The soup was good, although the crab was lost behind the corn and too many green onions. The 3 tacos each had a nicely fried piece of fish atop some jicama shreds and were tasty. The tacos were served with small bowls of guac, sour cream, and chopped tomato so that you could add them yourself.

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This is an incredible coincidence, but at a recent baseball game for my 9-year-old son's Little League in Lorton, I saw a Virginia vanity plate with "Ten Penh" .... come to find out that Chef Tunks' son plays on my son's team. I missed a conversation with Mrs. Tunks in which the team parents were told all about the behind the scenes at PassionFish and the sushi chef that was hired especially for the restaurant. Will definitely circle back, and I'm now really, really looking forward to the team party.

I'm lunching at PassionFish on this coming Tuesday and already salivating about the gumbo and dragon roll....

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Kudos to the staff and management at Passionfish for handling the unusual number of asshats they seemed to have been inundated with tonight with considerable aplomb.

We were seated between one table with vastly unreasonable expectations of how long it should take food to be delivered at prime time on a Saturday night (as in, not just as you're finishing your appetizer), who were at least polite. Then there was the other table, who were convinced they were far more familiar with the concepts of inventory and management than the restaurant's GM, and expressed their supposed expertise to him at significant length and volume, because their preferred fresh fish entrees were 86ed by the time they were seated, at 9:15, on a busy Saturday - apparently the concept of "our fish is fresh and when it runs out we can't just pop into the freezer and thaw something out for you" was completely new to them. They also were not particularly nice about their objections, unlike table 1.

Everything we had was spectacularly fresh and delivered in a reasonable amount of time given that every single seat in the entire place was filled - if you go to dinner at Reston Town Center on the Saturday of the Reston Festival, you expect all the restaurants to be packed and plan accordingly. We were going to have a word with the GM on the way out to make sure our server didn't get blamed for any of the evening's idiocy, but he was last seen trotting up the stairs to the other seating area, undoubtedly to deal with further idiocy there.

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Congratulations to PassionFish on hiring Jim McGavin as their new Wed-Sat evening bartender. Jim was previously behind the bar at Clyde's of Reston for the past 15 years.

Jim served me my first legal drink on my 21st birthday, and I've been a fan since. An amazingly friendly guy, and in my opinion, the best bartender Washington has to offer.

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There is life in the Outer Rim of Fairfax! Beyond the chains and the homogenized mediocrity! Huzzah!

My wife and I had lunch at Passionfish on Friday.

To paraphrase Don upthread, lunch starts out with a welcoming amuse-gueule of Smoked Great Lakes Whitefish Rillettes, served in a jar with toasted slices of baguette. It was like an upscale take on bagels with lox.

We wanted a little bit of everything, so out of the gate were four fresh oysters with cocktail sauce and shallots in vinegar. I say "four oysters" but the menu says "1/3 dozen." Really? 1/3 dozen? You can't just say "four"?

Not on the menu and in fact new that day was an eel roll with asparagus (1/3 dozen rolls). Our waiter indicated we may have been the first guests to ever try them (our res was 11:30AM). Super fresh from sushi chef (say that five times fast) No Won Park, even the ordinarily bland sushi rice had a subtle roasted flavor.

For our entrees my wife had the (1/12 dozen) Maine-style lobster roll: fresh poached lobster, celery, cucumber, and house made bun. I'm not sure what made this "Maine-style" instead of just "Maine," but the lobster was cooked perfectly and my only complaint was of a little heavy handedness on the tarragon.

I had 1/4 dozen Baja-style crispy fish tacos - $11. There's that word again, style. WTF? Crispy mahi mahi with salsa, sour cream, guac, a little shredded cabbage, and warm corn tortillas. The texture was all there and the fish was juicy and full of flavor. Highly recommended.

We also ordered a side of boardwalk fries - $5, which were great, crispy, and perfectly seasoned, but it would have been nice if the server had deigned to mention that the lobster roll already came with a side of fries. We ended up a little overstarched.

Dessert was Warm Donut Holes with Coffee Bavarian Cream - $7. They only gave us 1/3 dozen holes - we could have eaten 15/6 dozen! Light and buttery and sweet, and they gave us so much cream we ended up eating it like a bonus bowl of ice cream.

Service was friendly and attentive, and with 1/12 dozen bottles of Coppola chardonnay the pre-tip total was $105.

I paid with my Amex-style credit card.

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For our entrees my wife had the (1/12 dozen) Maine-style lobster roll: fresh poached lobster, celery, cucumber, and house made bun. I'm not sure what made this "Maine-style" instead of just "Maine," but the lobster was cooked perfectly and my only complaint was of a little heavy handedness on the tarragon.

I had 1/4 dozen Baja-style crispy fish tacos - $11. There's that word again, style. WTF? Crispy mahi mahi with salsa, sour cream, guac, a little shredded cabbage, and warm corn tortillas. The texture was all there and the fish was juicy and full of flavor. Highly recommended.

I think the -style is to identify that it is not necessarily going to be authentic to what ever style is being mentioned.

As a note, and to amend a post of mine above, the $15 lunch deal is available! On Monday (I believe) the dish of the day is the lobster roll. Combine that with the choice of a bowl of soup or salad (all around $8-9 each) is a hell of a deal.

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Raisa, they are closed on Sunday.

I wish I had remembered this last night. We headed over for dessert around 8:30 and were disappointed when we saw they were closed. I was really looking forward to trying the key lime tart. Sigh. I hate when that happens. We'll have to get back there again soon.

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What an incredible experience for dinner tonight. Arrived just after 6pm and waited at the bar with a drink until guests arrived for a 6:30pm reservation. I noticed Chef Tunks in the kitchen and mentioned to the bar staff that my son was on the same Little League team as Chef Tunks's son. Within minutes, and unexpectedly, Chef came out to greet me. We had a pleasant conversation, and he commented on recruiting the sushi chef, his favorite sushi roll (Kamikaze), the fact that last night was busy and so everything was turned over and very fresh tonight, that he was taking over the kitchen because a sous chef was on vacation, and so forth. He even made a few menu suggestions, which came in handy.

We went to our table on the upper level, and sat down to order drinks. Appetizers for four of us were the Kamikaze Roll and the PassionFish Roll, and Chef sent out an extra surprise in the Spicy Tuna Roll. All were superb, and set the tone for the rest of the meal. Next came the entrees, and my Soft Shell Crabs were decadent. Perfectly fried, meaty, tasting of crab, expertly sauced...wow! Even if I were to try to describe the mouthfeel and texture that my Chinese friends cherish in their food, I would fall short. The other star on the table was the Ten Penh-influenced Pad Thai flecked with lobster and topped with a perfectly broiled fresh catch -- perfect Red Snapper in this case -- and it was excellent even 10 minutes after it arrived. The noodles were cooked to perfection, the spicy peanut sauce was as good as any I've had at various Thai restaurants, and the Snapper was impeccable.

Chef then sent out a little tray of desserts that included truffles, brownies and macaroons. Delectable.

This is the best meal to be had in that corner of Fairfax County, and you would have to roam as far as Inox to taste anything close to this level of haute cuisine. This is destination and special event food.

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I whole heartedly agree. Ate twice (lunch and dinner) this week at PF and each time enjoyed superb meals & pleasant service to combine for a terrific overall experience.

Thank you forum members for crowing about certain choices - everything recommended from mojitos, Kamakaze roll and sushi assortiti to excellent (but simple) grilled fish entrees were stellar. The only off-note was the octopus due to the salted cheese that overpowered the dish.

This is a destination spot for either lunch or dinner.

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Chef Tunks is now my new second-favorite hero (after Don Rockwell). I noticed him in the kitchen tonight at PassionFish and mentioned to the front of the house that his son and my son played Little League together. there was an immediate "Of course, Mr. (my real name)" and I was treated like an old friend. They remembered me from the last time I was there, and out came the additional morsels -- up front was a complimentary lobster sliders, and at the back end was the chef's treat of little dessert items. Yum. I waved good-bye to Chef Tunks as I was leaving and my party was well fed and quite pleased.

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Had lunch this week at Passionfish. I'm no connoisseur of lobster rolls but the version here has plenty of big chunks of perfectly poached lobster, with a light mayo dressing (not spicy like the one I tried in Halifax). The house-made hotdog bun was fresh and fluffy. I liked it but I don't go around comparing lobster rolls and this is the first lobster roll I've had in the DC area.

Also had the grilled octopus salad. The octopus had a firm and slightly rubbery texture. I find the cheese and octopus combo palatable. But for the cheese I probably would've abandoned the octopus. (Disclosure - I've yet to be satisfied with grilled octopus, so take my words with a grain of salt).

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