1753 Pinnacle Drive
McLean, VA 22102
CUISINE Greek/Mediterranean, Fusion, Spanish/Tapas
PRICE $$$ ($21-$30)
HOURS Open for lunch, Monday through Friday, dinner and late-night dining, Monday through Saturday.
NVM AWARDS Best New Restaurant 2009
NEARBY METRO None
SPECIAL FEATURESAccepts Credit Cards
By Warren Rojas
Not sure which is tougher: battling Tysons’ traffic just to get to the overly congested highways each evening or swimming through the sea of humanity that overtakes Panache’s lounge come 6 o’clock.
I can, however, tell you which is more rewarding.
This contemporary meze palace (think: white leather, bright lights) takes its cues from its downtown D.C. parent, keeping the booze and nightlife center stage and regarding the budding lunch traffic as gravy. That means shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at the two bars—most nights, the bar looks like a “Sex and the City” shoot, with martini-toting ladies itching to let their hair down after another 9-to-5—but easily accessible seats in the minimalist-minded main dining room.
The menu focuses on Mediterranean flavors. And most entrees are gladly downsized for easy snacking (bravo).
Lush spinach and sweet ricotta embrace beneath fluffy crepes (decadent alfredo sauce surrounds). Parmesan- and jumbo porcini-packed risotto (potent mushrooms and salty cheese bond perfectly) is further double teamed by crisp pancetta and shred-with-your-fork short ribs.
Elsewhere, spice-rubbed salmon and hand-carved artichoke hearts draw strength from a sassy pesto-cream sauce (dials back excess salt, enhances complementary spices).