100 Best Restaurants 2011: Vermilion
Comments () | Published January 20, 2011
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Address: 1120 King St. , Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-684-9669
Neighborhood: Alexandria, Alexandria, Old Town
Cuisines: Modern, Breakfast
Opening Hours: Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday 11:30 to 10, Friday 11:30 to 11. Open for brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 to 2. Open for dinner Saturday 5:30 to 11, Sunday 5:30 to 9.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: King Street-Old Town
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Roasted scallops with leeks and a potato gratin; fried oysters with fennel; roasted chicken with smashed grapes and kale; rockfish with clams and a light chowder; Maryland rib eye and short rib with blue cheese; seared duck with duck sausage and dirty ric
Price Details: Starters, $4 to $15; main courses, $11 to $36.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Between the special-occasion destination and that joint around the corner lies the midlevel restaurant. The genre often delivers neither gastronomic excitement nor value. But this Old Town charmer from restaurateur Michael Babin is an exception.

Much of its success is owed to kitchen veteran Tony Chittum, who, like a good character actor, understands that his role is to sublimate his ego and serve the operation. Eschewing the cleverness and high jinks of more celebrated kitchens, Chittum builds sturdy, soulful plates around locally grown meats and produce. Good ideas and good technique result in dishes of immense satisfaction, whether it’s his superb charcuterie board or a breast of Amish chicken with fresh-ground chicken sausage.

He gets plenty of support. Service is unusually fine for a midrange restaurant, and the setting—exposed brick, flickering gas lamps, deeply colored walls—makes for one of the area’s most romantic spots.

Also good: Fried oysters; Waldorf salad; goat-cheese mezzaluna; wild salmon with horseradish cream; cider-roasted pear with caramelized-maple ice cream.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/20/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews