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100 Best Restaurants 2011: PassionFish
Comments () | Published January 18, 2011
First Look 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

PassionFish
Address: 11960 Democracy Dr., Reston, VA 20190
Phone: 703-230-3474
Neighborhood: Reston/Herndon
Cuisines: Seafood, Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Friday for lunch 11 AM to 2:30 PM. Open Monday and Tuesday for dinner 5:30 PM to 10 PM, Wednesday and Thursday 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM, Friday 5:30 PM to 11 PM, Saturday 5 PM to 11 PM, Sunday 5 PM to 10 PM.
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Clams casino; fried clams; hamachi crudo with grapefruit and jalapeño; eight-piece “kamikaze roll” of tempura prawns, avocado, and spicy tuna; red Thai curry lobster; crabcakes; whole-roasted branzino; freshly fried doughnut holes.
Price Details: Appetizers $5 to $18, main courses $19 to $29.

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

Two years after its opening in Reston Town Center, the fifth restaurant in Jeff Tunks’s local empire has emerged as Washington’s preeminent destination for seafood. Yes, the setting is bland and the staff can be scripted and pushy, but the quality of the fish is first-rate—the day’s haul is displayed atop a mound of shaved ice—and the kitchen, under the direction of chef Chris Clime, showcases them skillfully.

Thickly sliced hamachi is served raw and accented with jalapeño and grapefruit; Ipswich clams are beautifully fried; a whole flounder becomes a tour de force performance, each side scored and coated in rice flour, pan-fried, and presented with two vivid sauces.

There are small gifts to start (smoked fish and crostini) and finish (squares of heavenly hash accompany the check). The interesting wine list is fairly priced, and desserts—by pastry chef David Guas—are both rich and light. On weekend nights, Northern Virginia’s tech class seems to descend on the multitiered space, lending a big-night air. It’s deserved.

Also good: Chilled lobster claw; shrimp cocktail; a dip inspired by clams casino; lobster red curry; any of that day’s fish, simply grilled and sauced; house-made doughnuts with coffee Bavarian cream.

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

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

 

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/18/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews