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Oct 15, 2013 09:04 PM

Which NOVA restaurant for Thanksgiving for a father and his son?

Along with my 10-year-old son I will be flying into Reagan National at 5:14 PM Thanksgiving Day, picking up a rental car, then looking for a place to eat before driving down to Charlottesville to my old haunting grounds at UVA. I'm not sure yet whether we will be heading down on 66 or 95 yet and may wait until we get there and get some traffic reports before deciding on the route.

My son and I are both adventurous eaters but for Thanksgiving night I wouldn't mine a more traditional meal. Are any of you aware of any places near Reagan or somewhere along our possible routes that has a reputation for making a great Thanksgiving meal?

This will be our first Thanksgiving meal in the U.S. together -- I moved to Canada before my kids were born, and while we celebrate American Thanksgiving every year -- and it's one of my son's favorite holidays -- it's always been in Canada.

Thanks for any and all help!!

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  1. i'm thinking the carlyle would be good. it is a hop, skip and a jump from reagan national, is right there at 95, (not too far from 66, which is how we go to charlottesville, then on 29) and it has good food. http://www.greatamericanrestaurants.c...

    see if they will be open for thanksgiving. i'll bet they will.

    also in arlington, liberty tavern would be a good bet, too, and it is close to 66 in the clarendon neighborhood of arlington -- just a few miles from reagan and not too far from 66 (at spout run entry).

    7 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      Thanks so much for the suggestions. Both are close to the airport and look like good choices. The challenge for us is timing: The earliest we'd be able to get a rental car and make it to a restaurant might by 6:15 with 6:30 being more realistic and a lot of place serving traditional dinners actually close quite early. What do you think of Brabo, which is open a bit later?

      1. re: Tbuds

        never eaten there. not very "american" in menu-focus, though, as you wanted for thanksgiving.

        have you contacted liberty or carlyle to inquire? either one will offer delicious fare at a signifcantly easier price point! (i don't know their t-day hours, but don't imagine they'd be much earler than brabo, as liberty's regular hours are the same closing time, and carlyle's closing time is actually later).

        1. re: alkapal

          I've made am Open Tables reservation at the Carlyle but need to check to make sure they are open past 6; the last reservation time at Liberty on Open Table is 5:45m which is earlier than we can get there. I'll follow up this week and phone to double check times, availability, hours and menu.

          As for Brabo, I've seen the Thanksgiving menu from years past, and if this year is similar, they offer a 3-course menu with choices that include tradition fare (butternut squash soup, turkey with chestnut dressing, sweet potato puree, brussel sprouts and pumpkin pie) along with 3 or so alternative selections that I would describe as continental. It is pricier -- $70/person.

          I'll try to firm up the options this week and make a choice -- thanks for all your helpful advice!

          1. re: Tbuds

            I don't think Carlyle Cafe is on Open Table. They have a call-ahead system. Not sure what their system is for Thanksgiving.

        2. re: Tbuds

          Regarding Brabo, I've enjoyed the meals I've had there and have heard from neighbors that the T-day dinner is great. Don't know details about it, however.

      2. I know you said you wouldn't mind a traditional meal but I have a suggestion for you. My experience with restaurant thanksgiving dinners is that they have a fixed menu, none of the staff really want to be there, it really isn't their A game. I'd go ethnic for this reason. Go to a restaurant where for the chef and the staff, this is not a night when they are missing a holiday of significance to them.

        If you really want to do the traditional, then go to OpenTable, put in your parameters (such as area), and see what's open. On this list:

        2941 might fit the bill for you. It is a very good restaurant. I see that Wildlife is also on the list. It serves exactly the kind of waste-of-money T-day meal I hope you can avoid. We went there two years ago and I was thinking that maybe a Swanson's frozen TV dinner might have been a better choice.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Just Visiting

          JV - yeah, a crap-ass diner or a good Mom'n'Pop divested of the tradition are the best bets. on some occasions I've tried the half-hearted "traditional special meal" and instead ordered off the ala carte. my companions have looked at my ala carte order with murderous jealousy.

          as it's not about the food, even when at home. you're probably better off spending the time with your kid and getting a great 'leftover' T-Day sandwich a day or 2 later - those are always better anyway. doesn't answer your question, but as posted, T-Day dinner as presented is usually a let down. at least if it's home you can say "Aunt Delia's dressing is ALWAYS pointy in a circular manner, and Uncle Jeb's gravy is delicious but has oddly welcome lumps. yet we need these both to offset the criminally abrasive turkey that Nana never manages to understand.

          1. re: Just Visiting

            ethnic restaurants -- i suspect many (at least the majority of smaller ones, which is the norm) are not on open table.

            i don't recommend 2941, as it is overpriced and probably would offer one of those blah fixed menu deals. also, it is not an optimum venue for a 10 year old, in my humble opinion -- even in its newest incarnation.

              1. re: alkapal

                Just checked; it is $65 per adult, $25 per child.

                True, ethnic restaurants are not on Open Table. That's what we're here for!

            1. I too am considering whether to go traditional or ethnic. I will be making a traditional Thanksgiving meal the day before at home and in all likelihood we will be packing for lunch at the airport sandwiches loaded with turkey, cranberries and stuffing.

              If we go traditional it's partly sentimental. I'm an American living in Canada, my son is a dual citizen, we celebrate American Thanksgiving at home every year but he'd never celebrated it in the U.S..

              If we go ethnic, what are some of the best options that either close to the airport or close along one of the routes leaving NOVA to go to UVA?

              I'll be making a post soon asking about ethnic eats generally in and around DC (I am doing some research first) as we will be spending about 6 days in total on this trip in DC and we both love all sorts of ethnic food.

              But for now this post I would focus on choices close to the airport or that have easy access to our possible routes.

              1. If you are still interested in traditional, but with gourmet touches, you should consider Willow Restaurant in Ballston, which is near the entrance of I-66.

                1. The Key Bridge Marriott would probably have a decent Thanksgiving spread.