report - Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Flint Hill, VA
Well, after much anticipation and fearing they might be closed during my targeted timeframe, I did finally get to have a wonderful first anniversary dinner at Four and Twenty Blackbirds. The dinner followed a day of hiking in Shenandoah National Park, so we had worked up quite an appetite. We were not disappointed.
We were seated upstairs (what does one have to do to get a special table these days? from what I hear downstairs is much better suited for couples even though I mentioned twice to the person on the phone that this was a first anniversary). Still enjoyed the atmosphere. Service was friendly and knowledgable. We started with the soup of the day, a corn chowder, for me and a trio of bruchetta for the hubby - one with shitake mushrooms, one with eggplant puree, and one with goat cheese (perhaps that locally made stuff referred to previously) and fresh local tomatoes. All were heavenly. My chowder had wonderful flavors and the corn tasted fresh off the cob - in fact some of the kernels were still stuck together. The tiny dab of sour cream finished it perfectly. It had just the right amount of kick from poblano chiles. Husband loved his crostini with delectable toppings - the few tastes I nibbled were heavenly, especially the mushrooms. We also both started off with a glass of champagne to set the mood.
Then onto main courses. It was VERY hard to choose! I went for roasted rockfish served with polenta and ratatouile, while Husband went for the "wagyu" steak with fresh cut french fries. The service slowed down here a bit, but I thought of it as leisurely as opposed to slow. We both ordered wine by the glass and while there were not a ton of choices, the ones we had were good.
The entrees were a hit. My fish was very well cooked, nice and simple. The parmesan polenta that accompanied it was out of this world and the ratatouile was absolutely heavenly. My husband's steak was tender and velvety but it was the french fries that did me in - possibly the best french fries that I have ever had. Thin, crisp, tasted like potato, perfectly fluffy on the inside. Wow.
Finally dessert. Husband was swayed by the offerings of homemade ice cream and chose the espresso with brownie. I had the rather famous molten chocolate cake, which was served with caramel ice cream. We had a few mixups here as the server thought Husband had ordered espresso, not the espresso ice cream, and when we realized the error, then brought out my dessert and handed it to him, which was a bit confusing because the colors of caramel and espresso ice cream are pretty similar and the molten cake could have been the brownie referenced, so he started in on my dessert... However, once we got our desserts sorted out (his correct ice cream arrived shortly and was taken off the bill) they were absolutely heavenly.
We walked out a very happy set of customers. I would totally go back - the prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of the food - and the atmosphere is pleasant, homey, and enjoyable without being kitschy or anything. The mood is casual - we saw fellows in golf shirts and shorts - yet felt perfectly normal even slightly more dressed up.
This was part of a fabulous weekend of hiking, wine tasting, and staying at a lovely bed and breakfast in Washington, VA (which I can also heartily recommend - Fairlea Farm - incredible breakfast cooking). Thanks to all the hounds for the help in making it happen! The Husband sure was impressed by my planning!
I much prefer the ambience of downstairs with the brick walls and stone floor but there is one real problem: it's noisy because of all the hard surfaces. This can be a real distraction.
I believe they only open the downstairs room on certain days because there have been a number of weekdays when I've been to Four and Twenty when only the upstairs room was open. I'm glad that you enjoyed the food. I've described it as 90% as good as The Inn at 30% of the price on here before. If this were on K Street it would be one of our best restaurants. Also, they completely change the menu approximately every few weeks. Over the years I've found several absolute "knockout" dishes which never reappeared.
4&20 does a great Sunday brunch, too.
Question about the Fairlea Farm: where is it, and did it used to be the Bleu Rock Inn, which was about a mile from "downtown" (little) Washington? We were at the latter last year, and had a knockdown-dragout enormous delicious breakfast, but heard later that the owners sold it and moved. Is this the same place with new name?
Fairlea is right off 211 at the 626 (the road that leads to the sheriff's office.). Bleu Rock Inn is something else, and still there - we drove by it. In fact I had my "backup" dinner reservation there. They seem like a bigger operation - they do weddings, etc. Fairlea is a small operation, just three rooms, very homey and relaxing.