Sweetwater Tavern

Best of Falls Church 2004

Sweetwater Tavern, moderate. Part of the operation that brings you Carlyle and Artie's, this is a place that serves upscale bar food as well as steaks, seafood, and other popular specials. It is large, noisy, and attractive. The walls are adorned in cowboy themes. There is a bustling open kitchen and a busy bar with lots of TV sets. It is not cheap–main courses range from $9 to $30–but you get quality for your money.

The deep-fried calamari and the hot spinach-Parmesan and artichoke dip are good appetizers. Solid main courses are the hickory-smoked barbecue baby back ribs, the prime rib, available in several sizes, the rib-eye steak, and the filet mignon. Seafood choices include crabcakes and a salmon filet. The group that owns Sweetwater has its own bakery, and the bread is very good. A brewery on the premises turns out several beers.

Sweetwater Tavern, 3066 Gatehouse Plaza; 703-645-8100. Open daily for lunch and dinner.