100 Best Restaurants 2008: Vermilion
No. 45: Vermilion
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Dave McIntyre
Comments () | Published January 1, 2008
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Vermilion
Address: 1120 King St. , Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-684-9669
Neighborhood: Alexandria, Old Town , Alexandria
Cuisines: Modern
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.
Nearby Metro Stops: King St.
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
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.

Cuisine: Anthony Chittum, formerly at Notti Bianche, presides over an eclectic menu—it embraces the cooking of Italy, France, and the American South—that avoids gimmickry and splits the difference between trend and tradition, refinement and rusticity.

Mood: For years, the interior of this Old Town haunt was the draw, with its atmospherically lit downstairs, red-brick walls, and Colonial-era gas lamps. The cooking is now reason enough to visit.

Best for: Diners who relish simple cooking that minds the details; also anyone looking for a before- or after-dinner drink at the bar—the cocktails are potent and imaginative.

Best dishes: An elaborate charcuterie board served with pungent mostarda and pickled veggies; Gin Sin, an addictive, easy-to-drink cocktail of Hendrick’s gin, muddled mint, and seltzer; house-made fettuccine tossed with butter and partnered with a delicate whole trout; ravioli filled with smoked cheese; a brunch burger made of freshly ground meat; orange-blossom panna cotta.

Insider tips: Chittum trained with Todd Gray at Equinox, who trained under Roberto Donna—which means Chittum has a gift for pasta making. He’s also got a love for such old-fashioned crafts as casing and curing his own meats, so zero in on his excursions into sausage making. And don’t miss brunch, one of the best in the area.

Service: ••½

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews