First Look: Villa Mozart
In Fairfax, charm to spare.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 13, 2008
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Villa Mozart
Address: 4009 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-691-4747
Neighborhood: Fairfax
Cuisines: Italian
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday 5:30 to 10.
Price Range: Very expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Prosciutto with cantaloupe; chestnut soup; arugula salad; eggplant and zucchini with Taleggio; “meat and potatoes” with lamb two ways and potato mille foglie; saddle and leg of rabbit; pheasant breast with sauerkraut and Asian pear; poached halibut in a

Outside the quaint cottage, trees twinkle with Christmas lights, even in summer. Inside, each table is set with a single red rose, and Italian opera plays in the background. A silver heart dangles from the hostess’s bracelet.

The trappings of storybook romance aren’t all Fairfax’s Villa Mozart has going for it. The chef, Andrea Pace, worked in the kitchens at Cafe Milano in Georgetown and Fiore di Luna in Great Falls, and his Northern Italian cooking is elegant and often full of surprise.

An arugula salad with shavings of salty Grana Padano cheese would be perfectly pleasant on its own. But on the side Pace adds a little ramekin of rich, eggy custard flecked with mushrooms. His seafood carpaccio is inventive—translucent rounds of raw scallop dotted with bits of mango alongside octopus tendrils pressed together and sliced crosswise like a terrine.

Pastas, many made in-house, are more satisfying than innovative. Linguine in a rich but simple tomato sauce tastes like something you might make at home save for the curl of langoustine on top. A plate of penne drizzled with butter and balsamic vinegar is made special by nubs of fresh lobster so sweet you’d think it was Valentine’s Day.

This review appeared in the October, 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 10/13/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews