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The Essential Grille

October 2005

When Michael Sternberg, Michael Kaufman, and Tom Greene, owners of Harry's Tap Room in Clarendon, began working on the Essential Grille, their new restaurant in Tysons Corner, they planned to duplicate the successful menu at Harry's. But in talking to potential customers, they found that diners were interested in food naturally raised and free of chemical additives.

"Our customers want to know where their food comes from," Greene says.

So the menu at the Essential Grille features organic produce as well as naturally raised meat, fish, and shellfish. Prices are kept reasonable, Greene says, through cooperation with local producers and weekly changes in the menu to use what's in season.

Menus have featured starters of crab cakes with roasted-corn salsa and local heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella; a salad of organic blackberries and endive; main courses of roasted free-range chicken with vegetables, and naturally raised steaks and chops. A "Farm2Table" section lists the week's fresh vegetables and the farms that grew them. Appetizers are $5 to $13, main courses $10 to $28 (for the Maine Lobster Pot).

The design of the restaurant is contemporary. A fireplace separates the two dining areas. The restaurant, bar, and lounge are non-smoking.

The Essential Grille
: 8521 Leesburg Pike; 703-752-1111;

Open Monday through Friday for lunch, daily for dinner, and Sunday for brunch. The bar offers $3 sandwiches weekdays from 4 to 6.

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