Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill
Middleburg / American / $$$$
Executive chef Bill Welch joined The Salamander Resort & Spa’s team last year. He’s doing a masterful job using the property and surrounding area’s bountiful ingredients. Just take a bite of his roasted foie gras, a melting portion of fatty liver enhanced and complemented by wild blueberries, lavender pâte de fruit, and homegrown honey.
Those sweet elements remind us that the most exciting things happening in the kitchen at Harrimans are sugary. And for that, we must recognize executive pastry chef Jason Reaves. A local boy who began his training at Monroe Technical Center in Leesburg, Reaves is a Loudoun County success story—one more element that makes the treats served at The Salamander intensely local.
They include, of course, that honey harvested on site. The sticky stuff makes it into each element of the Sweet as Salamander Honey, a take on banana pudding that every dessert lover needs to add to their dining repertoire immediately. It begins with a server spooning honey over chunks of honeycomb on your plate. A life-sized white-chocolate bee with almond wings sits atop the jar of pudding that hides chocolate-banana cake and homemade Nilla wafers. For even more chocolate, there’s a Valrhona foam.
This is a restaurant filled with Wonka-esque magic, and a visit is prime time to eat dessert first.
See this: Every seat has a stunning view of the property thanks to a circular dining room with large windows. You won’t even notice the old-school country-club-style interior.
Eat this: Roasted foie gras, half fried chicken, Sweet as Salamander Honey
Service: Formal. A team tends to your every need, from bestowing bread from the basket of warm delicacies to the server who leads you through your experience.
When to dine here: Your companion is paying, and they like a special dessert as much as you do.
This post originally appeared in our November 2021 issue’s Best Restaurants cover story. For more food reviews, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.