100 Best Restaurants 2009: Vermilion
No. 28: Vermilion
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano, Eve Zibart
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2011) Happy Hour 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

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: Tony Chittum is as dedicated a craftsman as chefs come. The cod in his parsnip chowder? Smoked in-house. Pastas and sausages? He makes those, too. Influences range from Greece and Italy to the Eastern Shore, but the common denominator is a hearty simplicity that lets every ingredient shine.

Mood: A bordellolike brick-and-velvet space done up with flickering gaslights. The excellent cocktails—a gin fizz with port/pear reduction, old-school hot buttered rum—keep the mood around the bar high.

Best for: Dates you want to lean closer to (it can get loud); dinner with parents; cocktails and a few nibbles; weekend brunch, one of the best around.

Best dishes: Parsnip chowder; butternut-squash soup sprinkled with crushed almond cookies; lamb sausage with chestnut; charcuterie board with both rustic, spicy lonza (cured smoked pork loin) and Armagnac-slicked duck pâté; seafood salad topped with a stone-crab claw; rockfish with crispy oysters.

Insider tips: The lounge menu is less expensive and full of big plates designed to be split, such as the charcuterie and cheese board, hush puppies with sweet pickles, and a light fritto misto.

Service: •••

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

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews