2761 Washington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
CUISINE Modern American, Bar/Pub Grub, Wine Bar
PRICE $$$ ($21-$30)
HOURS Open for dinner daily; weekend brunch.
NVM AWARDS Best Restaurant 2010
Best Restaurant 2011
Best Restaurant 2012
NEARBY METRO Orange(Clarendon)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 7.9 Ambiance: 7.9 Service: 8.2
Long the charcuterie-happy arm of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Tallula now also boasts tantalizing pastas and seductive seafood numbers, courtesy of professional envelope-pusher chef Barry Koslow.
With that all his risk taking pay delicious dividends.
Seared scallops rise boldly against a backdrop of sweet corn polenta, zesty pepperonata and sumptuous basil oil, but retreat when challenged by a garden stew buttressed by pickled watermelon, sultry okra and fiery peppercorns.
Sautéed chard keeps the peace between braised goat and a sweet contingent formed by caramelized piquillo peppers, onions and raisins. But the pungent green cannot reel in a criminally over-salted ribeye married to woefully bland salsa verde.
Companions couldn’t resist a collection of bite-sized, childhood treats—snicker redux had crunch to spare; mini oatmeal cream pie was heavenly—whereas fruit-topped waffles lay untouched once relieved of their sugary payload (dough was dry).(February 2006)
By Sean Murphy
Tallula is the rare hangout where one feels hip for just being there, not to mention grateful for terrific food and service at budget-friendly prices.
Tallula is three for the price of one: There is the bar where smoking is tolerated, a smoke-free bar, and a main dining room appropriate for a business dinner or a night out with friends. Booths and tables encircle an artful fountain, and the busy kitchen is plainly visible, though not intrusive.
The servers tend to resemble the patrons. Young, attractive and polished, they are as able to guide a guest through the diverse appetizer menu as through its extensive wine offerings. Stop in at the bar if a short wait is required to get into the dining room. Seats are comfortable and plentiful, and early arrivals can snag one of the plush couches overlooking the action. There is something to satisfy the most picky or cutting-edge consumer, from the array of martini creations to the specialty drink selections. On tap are a dozen beers and then there’s Tallula’s intriguing wine selection. Many of their wines are available by the glass, but unlike establishments that just cork and continue to sell a wine that’s been oxygenated, Tallula uses a nitrogen gas infusion that replaces the air that gets into the bottle once it’s opened. These “winekeeper units” allow the next patron to taste the wine in some reasonable semblance to the winemaker’s original product.
Tallula’s cuisine matches its care and creativity in all other realms. As a mini-appetizer the sea bass ceviche is a tangy, two-bite treat. The tuna tartare is easily recommended for its confident presentation and generous portions; it’s like sushi without the soy sauce (which in this case has been replaced by a ginger and saffron aioli). Meanwhile, the braised short ribs rank as the standout entrée. Succulent and simple to pick off the bone with a fork, this most popular dish is served over cheddar grits and stands up well with a full-bodied bottle of red.