Amazing meal at Colvin Run
I had the pleasure of an astounding meal at Colvin Run Tavern in Tysons Corner the other day. It was organized by and for members of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, a gourmet club that I joined years ago and rarely get to participate in. (One of the club's quirks is that members are expected to wear colored sashes that denote their status in the club--thankfully I packed mine away somewhere years ago and haven't a clue where it is...)
While this meal was not necessarily replicable on a regular night by regular customers, it demonstrated to me the incredible skills of the chef and his team. Every dish that came out was as close to perfect as you could hope, and incorporated a relatively broad range of ingredients. Particularly memorable was a perfectly-fried soft shell crab with a Thai dipping sauce; halibut with fava beans with a smoked tomato sauce; and squab with sweetbreads. The dessert was a wonderful peach tarte tatin along with little mignardises, each of which was sublime. If you have not been to Colvin Run, you might want to give it a try!
I've always been disappointed at Colvin Run, and I'm almost happy to see it close tomorrow. Decorative little morsels all over the plate, too young and uninformed staff....plus the lease situation is ridiculous for supporting a restaurant. It opened a few years ago on the coattails of Bob Kinkaid's name, promising sex on a plate, and every time I went there I promised never to go back.
By the way, this was the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Dinner Menu:
Sesame Tuna with Wakame Salad, Ginger and Wontons
Foie Gras Terrine with Sour Cherries
Fried Clams on Fried Lemons with Tartar Sauce
Brut Réserve, Philippe Gonet, Mesnil-sur-Oger, NV
Softshell Crab with Green Papaya Salad
Riesling, «Cuvee Sainte Catherine», Domaine Weinbach, Alsace, 2004
Halibut with creamed local Silver Queen Corn, Favas and crispy fresh Carolina Shrimp
Château Carbonnieux blanc, Pessac-Léognan, 2003
Gnocchi with sun-dried Tomatoes, Basil, Mushrooms, Garlic Confit, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Buffala Mozzarella
«Campaccio» (Sangiovese with Cabernet), Terrabianca, Tuscany, 2003
Squab with Porcini, Thyme, Artichokes, and Sweetbreads
Pinot Noir, Domaine Drouhin, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2003
Peach Tarte Tatin with Peaches and Cream Ice Cream
Jurançon, « Symphonie de Novembre », Domaine Cauhapé, 2003
Coffee, Teas, and Mignardises
That's certainly inspiring news, James. (Imagine what delicacies you might have enjoyed had you been wearing your sash!) I haven't been, but I've heard a wide array of reactions, from raves such as yours to "OK, but hardly worth the steep price." Unfortunately, that seems to be par for Kinkead's places these days -- as you say, obviously the talent and imagination are there to create a great meal; but they're plagued by inconsistency and/or going-through-the-motions. (I had miserable fried belly clams at Kinkead's recently, for instance -- whereas in the past they've been Maine-worthy.)
Any other reports on Colvin's so that we can get a broader sense of things? Tips for having a meal as successful as James's?
In general Colvin Run does a very good job with the food and the service (for those of you thinking restaurant week, they do a great job even though they are usually slammed the entire week). My only quirks are that not all of the dining rooms offer the same feel- I prefer the Shenendoah room, and that sometimes the food tastes like it has -so- much butter in it I might have a heart attack.