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Posts Tagged ‘dining in Leesburg’

Review of The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, Virginia

Monday, February 6th, 2012

I can not say enough great things about the place. The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg is located on King Street, where the town’s main row of historic shops and eateries sit. The interior space is neat rustic woods and clean white walls with minimal designs like sketched painted leaves and simple phrases like “EAT”. The restaurant itself is just one room with an open space concept. Tables adorn the walls and give way for a large center floor of the restaurant. Thoughts that come to mind – “Where’s the musician? When does the dancing start?” If there is ever one, he or she wasn’t there when we arrived, instead we saton a couch with a knee-height coffee table near the door while we waited for the rest of our party to arrive.

While we waited for friends, we were tucked away in a nook
near the front door with a couch and coffee table

We started our evening with a bottle of Man O’ War, a New Zealand blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. With each glass The Wine Kitchen pours, they give a mini card with the wine facts and their take on the flavors. It was a detailed touch that added to the overall experience. I’m keeping my card as a keepsake, and so I’ll know what to order next time. No guessing about it – it’ll be the Man O’ War. To accompany our red-wine blend, we ordered the artisanal cheese platter which was blue-cheese, fried mozzarella and a sharp Manchester cheese and cranberry spread.

The mini wine cards that come with every glass (or bottle) you order -
small details that impressed us!

The cheese platter included the small details that the wine card did as well. It featured “WK” done in sauce on the center of the wooden board and had The Wine Kitchen’s emblem, wine bottle and crossed utensils branded on the bottom right. The menu featured a healthful variety – fish, duck, chicken, vegetarian, salads and sides. The prices were standard for the DC area and at an average $15 a plate, you get more for the environment than what they’re charging. The atmosphere itself matches a standard DC eatery without the entrees that start in the low to mid-twenties.

WK was a clever sauce design to add more details and move away from traditional

Foods were grouped and categorized on the wine and the dinner menu by location, however I didn’t make the connection until much later. The dinner menu is grouped by “Cheeses” “Farm” “Water” and “Pasture and Sky,” however your initial reaction when reading the menu is that they’re group by portion size/cost because most traditional menus are designed in that manner. The shrimp and scallops were highly recommended by the server, and since I was debating between the shrimp and scallop, char and duck confit, I went with her favorite.


From the “Blue Waters,” Shrimp and Scallops were cooked in a sherry cream
over a risotto and butternut squash cake with lardons and swiss chard.

Being full couldn’t stop you from finishing this dish, it was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! As we progressed through our meal (and digested), we moved onto the bottle of Temperanillo, perfect as a dessert wine. It was a Rioja wine which is known for being Spain’s sparkling wine. I do recommend it as the drink to top off your meal, with or without dessert. I was impressed to see local wines and meats from Virginia. Although I didn’t order local, my only disappointment was that there weren’t more local wines to choose from on the wine menu.

Our vote: A++ Wow, you can’t get better service, attention to detail and food that makes you want to scrap the plate. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was back at The Wine Kitchen in the next month. The interior space is fun but yet rustic and modern and successfully portrays what dining in Loudoun is all about.

The Wine Kitchen; 7 South King Street, Leesburg, Virginia. www.thewinekitchen.com/leesburg (703)-777-9463

 

Review of Lightfoot Restaurant in Leesburg, Virginia

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Nestled in the historic downtown streets of Leesburg, sits an award-winning restaurant inside of an old bank. The building, which was built in 1885 , opened in 1905 as the People’s National Bank. In 1992, the building opened as Lightfoot Cafe and reopened as Lightfoot Restaurant in 1999, with a full-service dining room. The interior space of the restaurant is still steeped in rich history which includes tall ceilings with distinctive wood-work, a large metal bank vault in the center (our favorite) and walls adorned with unique French posters from the 1920′s.

There’s a patio in the back of Lightfoot where guests can dine and enjoy live jazz or samba in the warmer weather. We dined at Lightfoot on a Sunday afternoon between lunch and dinner, politically “linner” as some call it. With the cold weather and the odd hours, it was slow business but all the more attention on us.

Arugula Salad, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette with goat-cheese,
sun-dried tomatoes roasted walnuts and finished with a balsamic glaze.

Service was superb, making the restaurant’s desired ambiance of “an intimate, unique dining experience” a success. Our server was very knowledgeable of the wine list and helped us make a selection that would pair perfectly with our entrees. He was also very attentive to water refills and was kind to keep checking up on us even when the slow afternoon crowd begin to transition into a popular evening dining spot.

Peking Duck Quesadilla, with water chesnuts, basil & shiitake served with
carrot-scallion-bean sprout-salad and spicey-smokey hoisin sauce
.

We opted for the duck calamari because it was a different entree that’s not on every restaurant’s menu. Most of the ingredients on the menu were local, helping Lightfoot meet the criteria for Loudoun’s Destination Restaurant Program.  All of the plates seemed like large-portions for upscale dining so you certainly get your money’s worth compared to the petite plates at other establishments.

Fried Calamari, with flash-fried peppers with lemon zest and marinara sauce

We enjoyed all the entrees (and maybe even too many, but we certainly don’t feel guilty). The calamari was the one dish we could have gone without and that’s only because it was just too much food. At the end of the meal, we had to decline dessert but really had an eye out for the frozen peanut butter torte. Even with a full stomach, we still couldn’t make room for their world’s smallest sundae on the menu. Local dessert wines included a Raspberry Merlot from Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg – something we’ll be sure to save room for next time.

Our vote: A+, there isn’t anything we’d change about the food, the service or the ambiance. We are continuously recommending it as a place for guests, travelers and friends to dine at for lunch or dinner in Leesburg. We can’t wait to go back and hopefully save room for dessert!