food&wine RESTAURANT SCOUT

Tuscarora Mill

203 Harrison St. SE
Leesburg, VA 20175
703-771-9300
www.tuskies.com

CUISINE Modern American, Bar/Pub Grub

PRICE $$$ ($21-$30)

HOURS Open for lunch and dinner daily; Sunday brunch.

DELIVERY No

TAKEOUT Yes

NVM AWARDS Best Restaurant 2008
Best Restaurant 2009
Best Restaurant 2010
Best Restaurant 2012

NEARBY METRO None

SPECIAL FEATURES

Lunch
Brunch
Dinner
Reservations
Outdoor Dining
Takeout
Accepts Credit Cards



Write a Review

NVM Review

(April 2010)

By Warren Rojas

Once solely the provenance of savvy barflies, Tuskie’s recently expanded its “square plate special”—a rotating arrangement of meats and starches served for $6.95—to all guests. SPS offerings include: pork schnitzel with lemon caper sauce, linguine with clams, shaved roast beef in a mushroom-pepper-brandy reduction (quite satisfying), eggplant parmesan, grilled Moroccan chicken and shrimp pesto over angel hair pasta.

(November 2010)

By Warren Rojas

Food: 7.3 Ambiance: 7.4 Service: 7.6

“You going to do the lamb? I am too. It’s so good here,” one consensus-seeking neighbor confirmed with her friend after getting an earful of chef Patrick Dinh’s daily specials.

Dinh’s passion for geographically informed cuisine and willingness to please are writ large across the predominantly locally sourced menu, manifesting as gourmet flourishes (tomato sorbet-topped salads, local proteins tricked out with shaved Manchego) and sliding scale entrees (“petite” portions were initially launched as recession-busters, but have become quite popular with early birds and light eaters).

Basil-spiked waffles provide some extra lift to grilled duck breast (quite the savory duo).

Pulled crab, sliced shrimp and seared tuna come together in a seafood salad colored by creamy avocado, chilled buckwheat noodles, tart mango chunks, bitter greens and chive-studded curry oil.

Fresh berries (black and blues lead the flavor assault) infiltrate every last millimeter of a fruity, lightly fried Napoleon.

(November 2009)

By Warren Rojas

Food: 7 Ambiance: 7 Service: 7.4

Locals refer to it as “Tuskies.” Plenty of regulars appear to call it home.

But all you need to know about Tuscarora Mill is that executive chef Patrick Dinh refuses to stick to the beaten culinary path—even if that means stumbling from time to time.

Guests can count on encountering at least a half-dozen daily specials (garden fresh spinach-artichoke soup, rockfish topped with crab fondue, caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes) and lots of locally sourced ingredients.

Everything appears to be accounted for in a Thai-style creation—blistered scallops, shredded crab (mixed into the noodles), crab meatballs, lemongrass, multicolored peppers, sliced red onion, celery, a splash of coconut milk—save for any tasteful cooperation (nothing really pops).

Sweet, meaty tilefish arrives enveloped in husky cured ham (bold flavor). But the real star proves to be the chowder-like lobster sauce poured over the adjoining potatoes, chanterelles, greens and just-shucked corn.

Sticky toffee pudding straddling a rich cheesecake swims in a lake of warm toffee syrup (provides a sumptuous, bottom-up infusion).

(November 2008)

By Warren Rojas

Food: 7.2 Ambiance: 7.0 Service: 7.1

Most nights, Tuskie’s plays home to local retirees and distinguished professionals looking to mix business with pleasure. But thanks to executive chef Patrick Dinh, the menu remains more daring than mere status quo cooking.

Extended families and casual diners usually lay claim to the mill’s maze of dining rooms. While budding beer connoisseurs seem most content in the laid-back lounge (nearly two dozen handcrafted brews on tap).

Dinh appears to draw inspiration from around the globe, rolling out ambitious daily specials that make the whiffs more painfully obvious.

Fried oysters fizzle beneath a timid sauce that lacks the promised curry punch (much more sweet than savory). Seared scallops fare much better atop a sweet pepper couscous littered with feta, black olives and capers (entrancing). Smoked pork shines beneath a saucy ancho chile glaze.

(September 2007)

By Warren Rojas

There never appears to be a shortage of exotic beers or familiar faces at Tuscarora Mill, a Leesburg dining landmark that prides itself on its gourmet brews and innovative cuisine.

The multi-story restaurant features a horseshoe-shaped bar with an adjoining lounge for those most interested in liquid refreshment, while traditional diners are accommodated in the dining rooms sprinkled throughout the renovated mill.

General manager Sean Mallone says they offer over 20 craft beers on tap-with new beers rotated semimonthly-and almost another three dozen bottled selections. Some of the most popular sellers include: Allagash White (corn-yellow appearance, creamy texture), Fuller's London Pride (loaded with hoppy vigor), Lagunitas Censored Ale or just about anything from Pennsylvania's Victory Brewing Company. Local brands include the house Tuskies' Ale (flavorful brew with some residual sweetness), which is produced by neighboring Old Dominion Brewing Company (see page 109 for full review) and Olde Richmond Red (full-bodied flavor) produced by the St. George Brewing Company in Hampton.

Meanwhile, servers share their beer acumen freely. During one visit, a bartender paused to scour the current beer roster before handing over the menu to ensure it was up to date, while another waiter offered customers recommendations based on similar tastes ("if you like Miller Lite, try...") another.

Much like the beer list, the menu seems to hop all over the globe. Beef tenderloin fondue summons tender sirloin tips escorted by a frothy batch of melted Gorgonzola (fabulous). The salmon club brings compact cubes of grilled and smoked salmon interspersed with avocado, lobster mayonnaise and ripe tomatoes. Barbecue empanadas are a golden brown bridge between two cultures, rolling zesty beef into a fried flour shell surrounded by a thrilling chipotle cream sauce, with soothing coleslaw on one side and pico de gallo on the other.

Restaurant Scout