Monday, May 14, 2012

2941 Restaurant

2941 Restaurant is a visual and culinary adventure. Every dish is a work of art at this marvelous inside the beltway oasis. Set in among luxuriously landscaped woods in a remote area of Falls Church, VA, the restaurant features elaborately designed waterfalls, Koi ponds, and fountains that one can enjoy from any seat. In January 2012, the restaurant underwent an extensive kitchen renovation and dining room refresh, the results of which are sure to appeal to guests in search of a distinctive dining retreat any night of the week. While the unparalleled water views, floor-to-ceiling windows and contemporary feel remain, the new menu features Modern American French with Mediterranean influences that still provides a wonderful gastronomical experience in a fun and approachable way.

original interior, until 2011
November 2009: Keith and I had a meeting here and stayed for dinner. The restaurant is just lovely and although in a commercial/business building space (8 floors on top are owned by and offices for a large company), the spectacular decor and grounds outside transport you to an elegant place. We each tried the 4 course price fixed tasting menu, and the chef was flexible enough to make one adjustment for me since I do not eat red meat. We were also greeted with a lovely fresh amuse buche of baby scallop with a blood orange sauce, followed by a plate of freshly baked breads. The service was spectacular, very attentive, and really appreciative of the patrons. I really enjoyed my meal - it was beautiful, the right size, timed perfectly, and very satisfying. To close, we had a complimentary dessert of fresh citrus beignets, chocolate cookies, and green apple jelly candies. 2941 is a special place and I would recommend it to those looking for a unique place to celebrate an occasion or enjoy a cozy romantic dinner.

March 2011: We returned for the Spring 2011 menu tasting. Boy - what an experience. We sampled 20 different hors d'oeuvres, 3 salads, 4 appetizers, and 7 entrees. Each dish was made fresh to order and we left overly satisfied. I highly recommend the seafood options and Keith's favorite by far was the grilled rib eye - cooked to perfection.  For all these reasons, 2941 ranks high and remains one of my Top 10 restaurants of all time.

new interior, 2012
May 2012:  A year later, we returned to 2941 and I must admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard the restaurant had undergone a complete face lift and menu redesign.  A little secret is that Keith and I got married at 2941 in May of last year, so this restaurant has a special place in my heart.  With a new menu that features "small bites", I was curious if the elegance factor for hosting special occasion events would hold at 2941.  Nevertheless, being it was our first anniversary, I thought it was only appropriate for Keith and I to return for dinner.  With it also being Mother's Day weekend, I invited my parents to join us.  Upon our arrival, I immediately noticed the missing warm tones and "glass jellyfish" sculpture at the entrance - now more blue tones and spikey glass orbs adorn the walls and ceilings.  The ambience was not incredibly different, as the main focal point is still the large wall of windows overlooking the lake.  I remembered our wedding day all over again and could picture many other weddings in this newly decorated space.

Our server, Alex, greeted us and took our drink orders as we perused the menu.  We decided to start with a few items to share: warm ricotta served with an olive tapenade that gave a nice salty tang and grilled sourdough bread; a delightful tuna tartare with guacamole, jalapeño, crispy shallots and taro root on top for a nice crunch; and a half portion of the asparagus agnolotti filled with a creamy blend of ricotta and asparagus topped with a tarragon and lemon thyme butter sauce and crunchy warm romaine hearts.  The pasta dish was a bit salty at first, but was delicious and one of my favorites of the meal.  For my main dish I chose the Alaskan halibut served with a tomato risotto and more of the seasonal asparagus shaved on top.  The fish was buttery and perfectly cooked, and a crowd favorite as everyone had a bite of mine.  Keith ordered the roasted duck breast served over duck confit "croquettes" with caramelized endive and a rhubarb chutney that was a tad too sweet for his liking.  Although the meat had great flavor, it was slightly overcooked than the preferred medium-rare.
My father ordered the veal tenderloin served with Oregon morels, fiddlehead ferns, and Vidalia onion.  A nice portion of 3 pieces were perfectly cooked and my father devoured it all.

My mother ordered the Peruvian bass served with saffron mussel velouté, red mustard leaves and baby potatoes.  She enjoyed it and found the broth to be very light, but the fish in my opinion was slightly "fishier" than mine.  All of the main dishes were the perfect portion size and just as elegantly presented as the original 2941 menu.

Finally, for dessert we decided on two items from the "Never Say Never" menu.  The strawberry shortcake was Keith's choice as strawberry is one of his favorites.  It came with super tart Chandler strawberries, lime curd, whipped cream, and chopped basil on top providing an almost savory dessert.  Highly recommended by our server was the super sweet-upon-sweet pineapple-caramel eclair.  It came beautifully plated with rosemary cream, roasted pineapple, candied cashews, and vanilla ice cream.  While I loved the pineapple in this dessert, the caramel was cloyingly sweet and overpowering.  Then, to celebrate our first anniversary, our server brought out complimentary glasses of sparkling wine and the carrot cake entremet.  My eyes opened wide in excitement as I secretly wanted to order this dessert since carrot cake is my absolute favorite (next to red velvet).  It, too, was artfully presented with a cream cheese mousse, marmalade, pineapple sherbet, and carrot confit.  There was a fun surprise of more carrot cake inside the cream cheese mousse.   Now we were completely stuffed, but the chef sent out a plate of his housemade donuts, which were warm and had slight citrus flavor from the glaze and reminded my parents of malasadas.   For those who remember the original 2941 and have not returned yet - I say go! You won't miss a thing except needing your tie! Even though they advertise a more laid back atmosphere, I would still consider 2941 more of a destination restaurant than an every day/happy hour spot. Surprisingly the dining room was pretty packed with patrons while we were there, creating much more buzz than our initial visit.  Overall, the exceptional service, attention to detail, and classy cuisine remain well above par at the new 2941 and provide a wonderful meal. *New menu items eaten listed below the dashed line below.

Total Rating: 4.7
Food: 5, Price: 4, Service: 5, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 3
What Micky Eats...

What I ate:

Wedge Salad
Boston lettuce, bacon vinaigrette, cherry tomato, blue cheese

Local Harvest Salad
shaved hearts of palm, fennel, carrots, cucumber, blood orange vinaigrette

Caesar Salad
romaine lettuce, Parmesan dressing, brioche croutons

Warm Tomato Soup
basil, brioche-egg crouton, sage

Mushroom Ravioli
tomato coulis, Parmesan cheese, fine herbs

Grilled Shrimp
avocado, mango, celery, Thai basil, citrus vinaigrette

Crab Salad
cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, lime, avocado, candied beets

Sherry Glazed Eggplant
with baby bok choy, asparagus

Chilean Sea Bass
crispy rice, scallion salad, lemongrass-ginger sauce

Grilled Atlantic Salmon
red peppers, asparagus, Thai basil, eggplant, turmeric jus

Roasted Chicken
lemon sabayon, haricots vert, fingerling potatoes, shiitake mushrooms

Moonfish Tartare
moonfish with citrus compote and yuzu sauce

Chestnut Raviolini
Burgundy truffle, Parmesan cheese, pancetta

Grilled Mahi Mahi
littleneck clam, rapini, shiitake mushroom

German Chocolate Cake
coconut milk jam, frozen pecan parfait, flourless chocolate biscuit
Warm Ricotta
artichoke-olive tapenade, grilled bread

Tuna Tartare
guacamole, jalapeño, crispy shallots & taro root

Asparagus Agnolotti
tarragon, lemon thyme, romaine hearts

Alaskan Halibut
tomato risotto, shaved asparagus salad, basil

Strawberry Shortcake
Chandler strawberries, lime curd, whipped cream, basil

Pineapple-Caramel Éclair
rosemary cream, roasted pineapple, candied cashews, vanilla ice cream

Carrot Cake Entremet
cream cheese mousse, marmalade, pineapple sherbet, carrot confit

Housemade Donuts

Plus Keith ate:

Grilled Rib Eye
maitake mushroom, balsamic glazed radicchio, fried polenta, beef prosciutto, arugula

Slow Braised Short Ribs
basil pomme puree, caramelized pearl onions, spring beet salad

Filet Mignon and Crab Cake
potato mille feuille, roasted aspargus, bearnaise sauce

Braised Oxtail
braised oxtail with parsley root purée

Veal Cheek
braised veal, fontina spaetzle, Guinness jus

Warm Chocolate S'more
chocolate-earl grey ice cream, crispy graham cracker, gooey toasted marshmallow
Roasted Duck Breast
crispy duck, caramelized endive, rhubarb chutney

2941 on Urbanspoon

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