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Feb 20, 2009 10:33 AM

ISO American Food: Reston, Herndon, or West

Looking for a solid American choice for dinner in the area of Reston, Herndon, or maybe a bit further west of those places. No chains please!


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  1. I can help you in Ashburn and Leesburg:
    Village Grill is quite good- buzz time trivia, simple but tasty weekend brunch menu, good entrees! www.villgrill.com

    Not your Average Joes- it is a chain but a small Mid Atl Coast one. excellent.

    The Original Steakhouse- 2 or 3 locations- good solid steaks, chicken and sandwiches...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Aphioni

      What do you recommend at Village grill? And where is Not Your Average Joes?


    2. Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling is quite good. It is part of Great American Restaurants network, but I don't think that is the kind of chain you are seeking to avoid. BBQ ribs, roast chicken, and drunken ribeye steak are my favorite items there.

      1. I'm surprised that you come out this way and aren't looking for ethnic gems!

        Jimmy's - especially on a Friday for the fish fry.

        Ice House Cafe which skews slightly more upscale.


        At Lake Anne in Reston there's Jasmine and one other place (the bigger one). I don't really prefer either of these, in favor of Cafe Montmartre or the place inside the pharmacy for some Mexican.

        Reston Town Center now has Passion Fish and Jacksons. I really like Passion Fish. Jackson's is the newest GAR outpost. It didn't hit me right - they try this odd Asian infusion while still trying to be American.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Dennis S

          i think jackson's is great. i havent tried any of the asian stuff, unless the duck burger counts.

          and that thing is decadent. truly a delicious dish for only like 10 or 12 bucks.

          the chopped salad is good, and the roast beef sandwich as well. hanger steak is one of the most flavorful pieces of meat i've ever had.

          i find this place suprisingly good. when i went in, i thought it was a wannabe applebees.

          1. re: kneelconqueso

            I want to give it another try - I like other GAR offerings (especially Artie's and Sweetwater).

            However, if they're going to apologize for the sushi ON the menu, I'd suggest they just not do sushi.

            My wife did get a good dish - it was a special. My bone-in prime rib was just south of good (not bad, but not quite good) and came with a salad that dwarfed the prime rib - which was just...odd.

            The kid's dishes were great, though! I think they had the best plates on the table, and of course they only picked at them.

            Especially with the apology on the menu for the sushi, I'm hoping they're experimenting and may change things up. I just want to give a bit more time.

            Maybe I'll go soon and try the hanger steak or something else you list. I've seen other glowing reports on the chopped salad.

          2. re: Dennis S

            How about Jimmy's on Saturday night? What would you recommend?

            1. re: Steve

              Steve - sorry if you ended up going last night before a reply, but if you did I'd be curious to hear what you had.

              Outside of the fish on Fridays, it's hard for me to order from anywhere but the sandwich or app menus. I have had specials from time to time which are usually really good homey comfort foods done well - such as fried chicken or lasagne.

              For sandwiches, the open faced beef is good, the philly is obscenely good, and the beef on weck is amazing.

              1. re: Dennis S

                I wish I could have taken your suggestions.

                We wound up going to Jimmy's and had a truly horrible meal. I really wanted to like the place. It's the kind of friendly neighborhood joint that seems to exist more in fantasy than reality. Something for everyone. Next to us, a large family gathering was celebrating a birthday. Everyone else seemed like regulars and to be having a really good time.

                We ordered two dishes from the special Mardi Gras menu. The po boy was a combo fried oyster/roast beef. My wife and I agreed this was probably the worst thing we have ever been served in a restaurant. Oysters were tinny, thickly breaded and deeply browned. Roast beef was totally dry, sandwich in all was dry on bread that was too hard. The whole thing was atrocious. The other item was gator tail, breaded and served with a dressing, which looked and tasted like Thousand Islands. The breading was too salty, The whole thing was like below average chicken strips.

                Two more of us got the prime rib special which was way too fatty and grisly. Very little was eaten. I had the sausage lasagna, which was extremely acidic. For the salad, the waitress recommended their house dressing which was too sweet.

                As an appetizer, the poutine was very tasty. Not made with cheese curds, but the fries were unbelievably good.

                1. re: Steve

                  Jimmy's is a good place for a beer and a laugh with the local rednecks. Not good for food tho.

                  Not really American food but Euro Bistro on Elden street is pretty good and so is Cantina D'Italia. Down the street a bit in the Pines shopping center is Pollo Inka ... very good Peruvian food. Maybe the best little place in all of Herndon.

                  1. re: lukeinva

                    El Estribo, over in sterling, is FAR FAR better than pollo inka. I mean PI is good, but the meals lack that "somthing" that says special. The chicken is the only real reason to go, but there are a few more rotisserie places around now. One over off of sterling about 2 miles from 29. I dont know anything about it, just saw the sign. Eventually it will be tried...

                  2. re: Steve

                    Sorry for the strike-out. Those are all dishes I'd probably avoid. It's a bar with far above average bar food, especially the sandwiches. They even take good care with bread - for instance the Weck for the beef and Amaroso rolls for the philly.

                    You saw how thin my list for American in this area is. Next time, aim to hit a bit higher, like for Passion Fish, or try some of the ethnic places (I agree with both lukeinva suggests). Heck - Herndon boasts Indian Chinese!

            2. Blue Ridge Grill. Two locations: Leesburg and Broadlands.

              You can't find better "solid American" food that that.

              Reasonable prices, great menu, nice surroundings.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BlueRidgePro

                Regarding BRG: The second location is actually in Brambleton (I know the communities all look alike out here).

                We have had mixed results at this location so far. The Brentwood Salad is as good as ever, but some of the other dishes have been mediocre.

                Stick to the Brentwood Salad and burgers, and you should be happy. Venture farther and YMMV.

                For more upscale definitely try PassionFish.

                Tom Sietsema just gave Jackson's a beatdown (1.5 stars) but held out hope that at some point it would be as good as the other GARG outposts.

                1. re: Bob W

                  Well I agree with Sietsema's review overall. I've mentioned here that I hope the printed apology on the menu for the sushi means that they do intend to re-create the menu. That's my hope for Jackson's - they re-create much of the menu.

              2. My wife and I had dinner at Artie's in Fairfax on Saturday evening. We got there around 6:00 PM and got seated immediately. The reservation-taker said we just beat the rush; indeed we had, judging by the crowd when we left and hour later.

                We really liked the cozy decor of the place, with the knotty-pine walls, the ship models, and the amber chandeliers. We were waited on almost immediately, and given a basket with delicious breads, especially the rolls. I started with a martini and had the seared tuna. My wife had the filet mignon and crabcake combo. Both entrees were delicious, and reasonably priced, but I'll go for the filet on our next visit. For dessert we shared the flourless chocolate cake with homemade ice cream -- super yummy.

                In summary, we loved Artie's decor, food, and service. We'll definitely return the next time we're in Fairfax.

                One caution about Artie's: There is lots of cigarette smoke wafting from the bar. If this bothers you, as it does me, ask for a seat far from the front door.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lscanlon

                  I went to Artie's the next night with visiting family. It is an old standby, the best of the Great American Restaurants. I don't go there often, so I can never resist ordering the Boathouse Salad, which is a great example of that unique American food, the steak salad.

                  For the purposes of this thread, though, it is well South of where we needed to be the previous night.