On March 16, Chef Guo WenJun canceled the scheduled reservations at his Alexandria restaurant Chef Guo due to the pandemic. Tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 12, he will reopen for the first time in nearly eight months.
“It was very risky at the time,” recalls manager Irene Qin. “But right now, things are changing.” She cites hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine as a major factor in Guo’s decision to reopen. She believes that by strictly following social distancing guidelines, reopening is finally “doable.”
For the restaurant, those safety procedures include only serving 10 people each day, from Thursday through Sunday. Seating times will be at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. “There are not that many people in our dining room,” she explains. “We took out tables and chairs and we make sure that people have social distance.”
While before the restaurant, which was number nine last year on our list of Best Restaurants, offered several tasting menus at different price points, it will now focus on just one 16-course bill of fare known as the Special Experience Menu. The $198 meal takes approximately two-and-a-half hours.
Rather than specifying precise menu items, Qin says, “Every dish is very exciting and different but based on Chef Guo’s principles of using the most healthy organic materials from all over the world to make sure the nutrition is balanced and everything on the plate is presented like a picture.” Tableware is based on that used at a Chinese banquet. “It’s going to be a very special and exciting experience for our diners,” she adds. Especially after the long wait, there is little doubt. // 6259 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria
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