From April 2006 Best Bites
First Look: A Neighborhood Newcomer Aims High
Bazin's on Church looks like it's been in downtown Vienna for ages. With its ruddy brick walls and scattered collection of chef figurines, the place has the faux-patina of good old times. Regulars chat up one another across the tables while their toddlers clamor for a bite of lemon bread pudding.
In fact, the bustling dining room has been around only a couple of months. It's chef Patrick Bazin's first restaurant of his own, and he shares it with his bubbly wife, Julie, who greets every table. Bazin, who spent seven years at the Occidental, has crafted a menu that's accessible and spirited.
The restaurant's potential is evident in two appetizers: a crab spring roll sheathed with shredded phyllo and trickled with ginger vinaigrette, and an appetizer of ricotta-stuffed ravioli gently flavored with Meyer lemon and butter. Though not as strong as those two, the braised veal cheeks and the grilled flatiron steak with an haricot vert salad and mozzarella-streaked mashed potatoes show promise as entrees. Drinkers rejoice--only one bottle on the wine list tops $40.
There are missteps: A cut of black cod, marinated in maple and miso, and the baby spinach wilted alongside it were overwhelmingly salty. A barbecued duck quesadilla was too sweet, as were the vanilla-scented mashed sweet potatoes accompanying a grilled pork chop. And sometimes the young hostesses have trouble getting people seated on time.
But we'll give Bazin's time--Vienna wasn't built in a day.