An art gallery and tapas bar invoke the exotic.
Chimole Wine & Tapas Lounge is what you tell your friends about when you get back from that ahmaaazing vacation. It is that little spot you stumbled upon when you decided to leave the guidebook home. A gorgeous woman, with extra long brown and blonde curls, in a bodycon dress with spiky heels, a warm smile and an endearing accent, greets you.
You look at Yovanna Reiser, 40, run around the room and imagine it’s a dream job. On the main strip (King Street) of an adorable town (Leesburg) she runs an art gallery, with fashion accessories for sale, and a wine bar with tapas for sale. The space feels intimate because with every turn, a new tiny room emerges, with funky organic clay pottery, searing paintings and huddles of tables and couches.
The staff is sweet and comfortable. It’s not fine dining, and there is no rush of service, but you will be able to try as many sips of Tempranillo—out of tiny plastic cups, normally capped on the top of a Nyquil bottle—that you’d like.
This is how you’d start your bragging vacation story. But the reason you tell your friends is because it’s not just style. The food is right.
A Central American-style, mild chorizo sausage works its way into a few dishes, but never more cleverly then underneath pulled pork in a duo of sliders. On top: bright pink pickled cabbage. Soft meat, crunchy slaw and an absorbant bun grabbing juices from the double pig turns this into a winner. Another nod to Honduras, where Reiser grew up after her birth in Oklahoma, arrives in a clay pot atop a small flame. Mashed beans welcome crumbles of queso duro (feta-like), fried bits of ground chorizo, avocado slices and a drizzle of crema (a sweet sour cream imported from Honduras) which culminate into the dish, anafre. Plantain chips play scooper.
Sophistication also marries into the scene. On a canoe-shaped plate, halved scallops, seared until brown but not crispy, cling to the plate with a thick puree of chipotle and yuca. Arugula leaves and that same crumbled chorizo garnish the scallop as a whirl of housemade chipotle oil adds heat.
We had higher hopes for the dry quesadilla cake, but a crepe filled with a housemade tamarind sauce ends the vacation narrative. Oh wait. This is Northern Virginia. Staycation it is. –Stefanie Gans
- Chimole Wine & Tapas Lounge
- Head to the adjoining gallery space for art by indigenous Hondurans.
- Tapas: $8-$15; Entrees: $16 -$25
- Lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. 10 S. King St., Leesburg; chimolewine.com