A French and modern American restaurant in Alexandria
It’s a good thing Sebastien Tavel realized that to make his Old Town Alexandria cheese-and-wine shop successful, he had to expand into restaurant mode. The narrow room maintains the intimacy of a wine bar but now offers full service: gorgeous, composed salads of wild dandelion greens, bacon and tender—yes, tender—croutons, embraced by a split-open poached egg; or one based on a bulk bin’s worth of grains and seeds.
Dinner is soulful but also inventive. Porcini pappardelle is not just wild mushroom fricassee with egg-flour-water noodles, but there’s actually porcini powder and wheat berries ground down to make the pasta. The subtle smoke in the dish: The French-born Tavel makes his own pickled paprika. There’s also risotto colored with squid ink and a confit leg of lamb that is part steak, part braise and, in total, pretty wonderful. Don’t leave without the dense, delightful dark chocolate mousse.
French + Modern American | $$$
1222 King St., Alexandria