The people behind Trummer’s on Main, a new restaurant in Clifton, have serious foodie credentials: Stefan Trummer—a co-owner with his wife, Victoria—worked at Masa and Bouley, two of Manhattan’s best restaurants; executive chef Clayton Miller cooked at California’s revered French Laundry and at Daniel in Manhattan; and sommelier Tyler Packwood is a ten-year veteran of the Inn at Little Washington.
So it should come as no surprise that they’ve put together an ambitious offering: a restaurant with three levels, 210 seats, and a 4,000-bottle wine cellar. If there’s anything left of the building’s 140-year history—it was once the Clifton Hotel, then the Hermitage Inn—it’s the whisper of a farmhouse in the exposed beams of the dining room’s vaulted ceilings. The dark first-floor lounge, anchored by a marbled onyx bar, is more modern, just like Miller’s food.
His dishes are painterly compositions with striking colors—neon-red rhubarb shares a plate with a vivid spinach purée—but they sometimes result in a cacophony of textures and flavors. An appetizer of pine-nut-and-ricotta tortellini was complicated by the addition of lamb sausage, rock crab, Bing cherries, and a carrot/white-wine sauce. Offerings with the fewest ingredients—a bowl of spiced potato chips at the bar, a jar of warm brandade, coconut sorbet with a hibiscus foam—are the most rewarding.
No shortcuts here: Miller bakes his own bread and whips his own butter; bartenders crush ice to order for cocktails. If Trummer’s can simplify and clarify its vision while retaining its command of detail, it might become more than just an excellent addition to Clifton’s scant restaurant scene—it might become a worthy destination for visitors from all over.
Trummer’s on Main, 7134 Main St., Clifton; 703-266-1623. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch. Starters $9 to $20, entrées $19 to $34.
This appears in the October, 2009 issue of The Washingtonian.
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