You’re in one of the most rarefied country club-style settings in Northern Virginia. The view of roaring firepits, the equestrian center, and yes, the statues of a mother horse and her foal at Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg are remarkable. But hey, the attire is smart casual. Maybe you should skip the $195 surf-and-turf for two and match your polo shirt with something a bit more down home. You have my permission, nay, my strong counsel, to get the fried chicken.
I am cheap. It is probably more damaging to my heart to pay $36 for a plate of fried chicken than it is to eat it. But this mighty bird is plenty big for two meals. Eat the breast and wing while it’s fresh, and save the super-sized leg and thigh for the next day. At its hot-from-the-fryer peak, even that breast flows with brined juices with each bite. The fine, crackling coating isn’t endowed with 11 herbs and spices–in fact, it’s fairly plain–but that’s just to leave room for a drizzle of honey made by the Salamander’s own bees and a dip in an amply vinegared hot sauce that’s presented in a gravy boat.
I wouldn’t mind some more of the silken mashed potatoes that rest beneath the chicken, but they are mostly present as a distraction from the buttery biscuit, something to take the edge off the reality that there is only one. The fact that the biscuit is stellar is no surprise. One of the best things about Harrimans is its bread service, with an ever-changing selection of fresh choices brought warm slice-by-slice to the table.
There are many ways to have a fancy night courtesy of chef Bill Welch’s kitchen at Harrimans. But it might be time to change your definition of fine dining to include viscerally tearing into a chicken wing. 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg
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