2854 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
CUISINE American, Bar/Pub Grub, Comfort Food
PRICE $$ ($13-$20)
HOURS Open for lunch, dinner and late-night daily, brunch Saturday and Sunday.
NVM AWARDS None
NEARBY METRO Orange(Clarendon) Orange(Rosslyn)
By Warren Rojas
Confidence is high the average diner wouldn't confuse this Clarendon mainstay with a Mayo Clinic cafeteria (fully dressed Avalanche, anyone?).
But somebody in the Whitlow’s kitchen obviously loves them some leafy greens.
Though perhaps best known for its half-price burgers and daily drink specials, Whitlow's has managed to amass a thoroughly engaging salad carte that dwarfs the slim pickings put forward by supposedly higher-quality competitors.
Whitlow's hits all the highlights—they've got Caesars, Cobbs, fajita, Greek, seafood, beef, etc.—but manages to make each herbaceous standard its own.
Their taco salad, for instance, eschews the anticipated ground beef in lieu of a generously proportioned crab cake (ample jumbo lump crab bolstered by a palatable amount of filler). The seasoned seafood is hoisted atop a multicultural medley of chopped lettuce, juice-laden tomatoes, melted cheddar (seeps down all the way of the bottom of the crunchy, cornmeal bowl) and velvety guacamole, all surrounded by a pick-apart perimeter of golden baked tortilla.
Mind you, I think they could take the seafood motif a few steps further—How about tossing in some cilantro mini-shrimp? Or perhaps a splash of cocktail sauce-ranch dressing?—but the crab is certainly a clever regional homage.
A shrimp-and-penne salad scores equally high marks, dousing its nearly dozen (or so) grilled crustaceans and their closely cropped noodle hosts in a chilled pesto-cream sauce that seems perfectly sedate at first, only to leave lingering heat in its wake (bravo!).