50 Best Restaurants 2017: No. 2 The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

A modern American restaurant in Lovettsville

Patowmack Farm - Lovettsville, VAChef Tarver King
Photo by Jonathan Timmes

“Don’t you listen to Gwyneth Paltrow?”

Because if my dining partner followed Goop’s obsession around the wonders of cashews, he might not have been surprised by how the nut can con its way into a cheeselike spread fit for a flax-chia-sesame seed (kitchen calls it “hippie”) cracker.

This is how the tasting menu ($105) at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm starts. It’s followed by more surprises, like a peach soup with moscato that’s sweet enough for dessert but is brought back to dinner with an objectively delicious labneh.

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

The menu takes its lead from the land, both how it is used now and how it was used generations ago. Explainer sheets are placed at the table with each new course, a mix of history lesson and food knowledge. Razor clams leave a trail of smoke and are described as snacks of the Piscataway tribe that lived where the restaurant is now and traded with settlers from Point of Rocks. Says the note, “This ‘place of trade’ in their language is called Patowmack.”

But the food is clearly of today with the way chef Tarver King marries global flavors with local products, like how the Cantonese barbecue sauce char sui is applied to Virginia pork shoulder.

There’s also whimsy. Rocky road, the ice cream flavor created after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 “to give folks something to smile about,” according to the card, is deconstructed and shuttled into the future with nuggets of nitro frozen ice cream, steaming like a rocket at launch, nestled with white chocolate, cookie specks and chocolate cake with fudge painted into a curvy road because this is a journey, and you’ll be glad you’re on it.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
Modern American | $$$$*
42461 Lovettsville Road, Lovettsville

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)