Modern Mediterranean / $$$ / 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church
Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but when the server listed a knock-off pho on special, I ordered it. The duck broth smelled of lemongrass and cilantro but somehow sipped like a classic chicken noodle soup. Instead of brisket, slices of confit duck floated on the broth, and within, duck mini-meatballs, almost with the bouncy consistency of fish balls, bobbed on the surface. Flat and shorter noodles filled the rest of the bowl. It was a fun way to start a meal at what used to be a high-end French restaurant. Not that there aren’t still fine dining options at 2941: raw tuna over nduja, a spreadable sausage, on focaccia that shows the need for more pork in all forms; lobster and scallops tucked into a creamy lasagna for a little indulgent plate; and a duck ragu with housemade duck prosciutto over chewy pasta alla chitarra. Desserts deserve attention here, too, with classics reconfigured with flare and elegance. The baked Alaska welcomes peanut butter ice cream, and a personal-sized pavlova is a ring of meringue filled with a light cream of dark chocolate, the ripest of strawberries and sweetened ricotta.