By Stefanie Gans and Rina Rapuano
Falls Church | Modern American | $$$$
Pro tip for dining at this colorful dining room with soaring ceilings and larger-than-life artwork: When in season, order the Maryland soft-shell crab tempura. It might be served with tomato aioli and scallion salad one week and accented with ramp aioli and pickled pearl onions the next, but no matter. It’s a must-order because the main ingredient is so perfectly golden and delicious.
Starting with a fish tartare is equally safe, whether it’s an unctuous dice of salmon with chunks of truffled fried potatoes cleverly dotting the bearnaise sauce, all garnished with pea shoots, or the tuna with Grand Marnier aioli, avocado mousse and fried shallots.
These are the odds one must play with a highly seasonal, ever-changing menu—can the kitchen pull off tweaks and changes every week of the year, perhaps even changing day to day? In the case of longtime chef Bertrand Chemel, the answer is yes. // 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church