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Aug 25, 2009 08:52 AM

Reston: need business dinner suggestion

I'm in town in Reston for late afternoon meetings and a business dinner. Have searched but not found anything on the boards that sings to me. Passion Fish is a chain, isn't it? I like the one in Boston, though.

Has anyone tried Vinifera in the Westin? Looks interesting but you never can tell with a hotel location.

Any other good thoughts for a six top with a varied menu, not too noisy but great food and good wine list?


Phoenix Chowhound

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  1. I had a nice experience at Vinifera. Interesting menu, nice decor, good wine had good service. It caters to business diners. It's a little quieter than the Town Center crowd.

    1. PassionFish is not a chain as you describe (i.e., there is not one in Boston), it is one of a handful of restaurants that are owned by a local restaurant group. I believe that the group was started by Jeff Tunks at DC Coast downtown. PassionFish is the best cuisine that you will find out in Reston, but if, by "varied menu" you mean several meat/beef choices as well, PassionFish might not be what you are looking for. If you need that, you may be stuck with Morton's or one of the other chains (which are not terrible, but maybe not what you are looking for.

      Depending on where you are in Reston, i.e., if you have wheels and easy access to the Dulles Toll Road, you may want to check out Inox in the Tysons Corner area, it is pretty easy to get to off of the DTR.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SoxFan1

        I second the recommendation of PassionFish. Excellent service, superb food and an terrific wine list (plus, very good innovative cocktails). The room is conducive to a business lunch/dinner without being stuffy - tables are spaced very nicely.

        There are non fish items on the menu as I recall. A dining companion last week enjoyed the grilled chicken. I also believe there are one or two beef entrees. The menu changes frequently.

        And, no, PF is not a chain. Well worth considering.

        1. re: wristband

          I third PassionFish, but also offer up Mon Ami Gabi in Town Center. They're basically next door, so you can check menus and decide. Il Fornaio is decent enough, but definitely avoid the Thai place - if you want Thai there is much better in the area.

          There are good options outside of Town Center, though, including El Manantial in Tall Oaks (Wiehle Ave, just North of the toll road), or in Herndon, such as Ice House Cafe. Being from out of town, though, the Town Center is probably easiest, and gives good walking around opportunities.

      2. Hi Everyone - thought I'd chime back in with results.

        We did PassionFish and it was terrific. Food was great, our table upstairs wasn't the best as it was right by the stairs and staff alley, but it was early. Food was terrific - i had the hamachi crudo and the monkfish ossu buco. Both excellent.

        Had lunch at Jacksons, by the by, and had a darn good lobster roll. The grilled corn was good and the coleslaw was awesome. Liked that place a lot.

        thanks so much for all the insight and ideas!!


        3 Replies
        1. re: pgerding

          Glad to hear you were pleased. Love PassionFish. Last month, I also enjoyed the lobster roll at Jackson's and agree with your assessment on the grilled corn. But J's atmosphere has all the charm of a bowling alley and service is, well, very uneven.

          What I really dislike is slapping down the check once entrees arrive. I realize this is chain policy but the "check slap down" is annoying and discourages ordering a sweet treat and coffee, let alone enjoying the just-served entree. Telegraphs a bad message.

          Last visit to Jackson's, our empty drink glasses sat, well, empty. Asked four times for more iced tea and water from the floor staff - no luck. Here's my point: if they want to push customers out the door, GAR must manage its staff to handle basic chores - not lounging on the back wall laughing and jivin', ignoring repeated polite requests.

          My luncheon partner was so pissed, she got up, walked to the gaggle of staffers, put her empty glass in their faces and said 'whats up?" I have never seen her so angry at a restaurant - so livid she couldn't finish her entree.

          1. re: wristband

            I haven't been to Jackson's, but agree that level of non-service is appalling, and very much out of character for the GAR group. I hope you have advised the management (whether there or at another GAR outlet) of what occurred so they can make sure the problem is solved.

            1. re: weezycom

              Yes, we were so irritated we asked to speak to the manager. He was apologetic but our point was adult supervision was lacking. We specified we did not want "compensation" or anything of the sort, including apologies. We did want to offer constructive criticism for improvement, to make the experience better for everyone in the future.

              The manager indicated he would re-emphasize responsiveness with the staff. Oddly, his staff clowns were ten feet away, backs up against the wall, jabbering and laughing away with each other. We pointedly asked: why did they have the time to stand around oblivious during a full house at lunch?