By Stefanie Gans and Rina Rapuano
Alexandria | Modern American | $$$
There was nothing sexy or sophisticated about carrot falafel. But it was good. It was a rare meatless entree as a composed plate—with strips of roasted turnips and a citrus yogurt sauce—and not a trio of sides dumped haphazardly.
In the age of fake-bleeding burgers, it’s still a shock to see a thoughtful, vegetable-forward dish. Venerable Vermilion plays the meat card too, starting with duck hearts on toast and packing on the proteins with a scallop dish given heft with braised veal cheeks.
The produce was not forgotten here either, with barely wilted, bright green whole pea leaves covering much of the plate, with big, fat plumb peas scattered underneath. Cooler weather brings bitter radicchio to accompany the shellfish.
As Old Town loses one of its patron saints, Cathal Armstrong, to the city, and developer Teddy Kim ushers in a new era of cool, casual dining, Vermilion remains a night out best saved for grown-ups. // 1120 King St., Alexandria