It's been awhile since I've reviewed a restaurant, but here we go:
Yesterday evening, my husband and I went to a belated Valentine's Day dinner at a restaurant in Falls Church, VA, called 2941.
In terms of atmosphere, the place does not disappoint: The building is modern, with a lovely koi pond at the entrance and lots of glass. The vast, contemporary interior will make any fan of I.M. Pei or Frank Gehry very happy. It is breathtakingly sleek. A gas fireplace sits off to the right-hand wall, a welcome touch on this very windy Saturday.
The waiter staff was extremely courteous and attentive. A good thing, because we did not understand about one-third of the ingredients listed on the menu. The cocktail listed drinks that sounded retro and exclusive. I chose a mysterious and bold-sounding drink, The Kidnapper, made with Laphroiag whiskey (a peaty brand I have not seen since traveling to Scotland in 2009), cinnamon stick, cherry, and some chocolate hints. This brown concoction tasted as strong and wild as it sounded. We envisioned drinking it with beef bites in a rustic cottage in the Highlands of Scotland. Hubby drank The Vesper, listed as "A favorite of James Bond", made with vodka, bitters, a lemon wedge, and citron. This one I found light and refreshing, a stark contrast to my Kidnapper.
The waiter started us of with salmon canapés, "compliments of the chef".. One exquisite puff pastry each to whet our appetites, with delicately smoked, meaty salmon inside.
Then we ordered our meal. We could choose either from the a la carte menu on the left, or the fixed-price Tasting Menu on the right. Now
here came my only real complaint about the restaurant: The waiter stated that the Tasting Menu would only be available if both of us ordered it, because the chef would have problems timing the serving of our dishes otherwise. While I respected the need for orderly dishes,
this limitation struck me as excessively rigid. And my husband said he wasn't hungry enough to order the seven-course Tasting Menu. So regrettably, I cannot tell you how it is, though it looked delicious, with items such as a fondue plate, another with crab, and several others. The a la carte menu carried about eight dishes, one with veal and another with foie gras, neither of which I eat. The only item available from
the Tasting Menu as an a la carte option was the Dover sole, which I ordered, along with a green salad. My husband ordered the swordfish
and salad. The waiter inquired about any food restrictions before placing our orders.
My husband always requests bread. At 2941 it included thin slices of olive, plain white, and chocolate-cherry bread which we promptly devoured. The portions were just right. The salad greens were fresh and delicious, with a subtle dressing that tasted of Marsala and
balsamic vinegar. Our main courses also rated high. My Dover sole was the best I have ever tasted, tender and moist on potato cakes with a wonderful beurre blanc sauce. The balance of flavors was perfect. Husband's swordfish was also a "10" in terms of the fish itself, but the
caramelized teriyaki-based sauce overpowered it a bit. We agreed that if it had about one-third of the sauce, it would have been a better
dish. As it was, it was still amazing, a "nine". We each had a glass of Albarino wine, ordered from the extensive wine list. Another plus:
Albarino is a light, crisp white wine from Galicia, Spain, under appreciated, but wonderful with seafood. I rarely see it in restaurants,
but here it was. Another plus for 2941.
Then the desserts. The choices remained intriguing. "I probably won't eat more than two bites", Hubby said. The waiter assured us that the desserts were "French portions", not large. So despite hubby's statement, I just couldn't pass up the "Lemon Shaker", a dessert that sounded exotic and yummy: Lemon custard with tiny scones, cardamom ice cream, and coconut cream. South Asian-English fusion, and
pure heaven. Hubby ordered the chocolate flour less cake with pecan ice cream. Also delicious.
In the end, 2941 is marvelous. The care put into each individual dish is evident. Every detail about this restaurant, from the decor to the dishes to the prices, spells out "special occasion". You don't come here because you are hungry on a weekend. You dine here on a special
night, and if you have an open mind and willing palette, you will have an unparalleled culinary adventure. We shall be back. And when we are hungry enough, we can then both try the Tasting Menu.
2941 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042