100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 9 The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Patowmack Farm chef Tarver King. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Some of the most exciting cooking we’ve encountered isn’t in downtown DC—it’s happening an hour away, up a steep gravel driveway in Loudoun County’s Lovettsville. Here, chef Tarver King plays scientist, forager, and farmer, creating avant-garde dishes from locally grown ingredients, many gathered on the restaurant’s 40-acre property.

The greenhouse-like dining room is more pleasant before dark, when vistas of the surrounding hills outshine the drab decor. Still, there’s no shortage of distractions from the kitchen—even the butter, earthy and aged for a month, is a knockout.

Smoking plays a large role in King’s repertoire (he cites the area’s Native American cooking traditions as inspiration), both in delicate dishes like a woodsy mix of crab, whipped ham, and black walnuts served on cedar and in a strapping beef rib eye.

Note that menus change daily, as does the menu format: Thursdays are à la carte, Friday and Saturday feature a multi-course tasting ($88 a person), and there’s a family-style Sunday supper once a month.

Don’t miss:

  • Liverwurst with onion sablé cookies
  • Crab crackers
  • Chicken boudin blanc with crispy skin and fermented mustard
  • Smoked pork shoulder with peanuts and jasmine rice
  • Apple pie
  • Appalachian cheese fritters with honey

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.