To celebrate my mom’s birthday yesterday, the gang headed out to the “new” Chef Geoff’s location in Tysons (where Colvin Run Tavern used to be). I can’t say that it was the best birthday dinner ever…in fact, for the most part, we probably should’ve taken her up on her offer to cook her own birthday dinner.
The place was jumpin’. The bar was super crowded with a young to mid-age crowd. Standing room only, in fact. CG has some great happy hour specials…like $5.95 burgers and $8.95 pizza . They also have $7.95 Super Mugs (33.8 oz), $2.95 Long Necks, and $5.95 Estrella Wines Daily at the Bar from 3 until 7 pm. Happy Hour goes all night on Monday and Tuesday. Note: much to my brother’s pleasure, they have PBR in a can for $2.95.
It will be at this point that I admit this was my second visit to this CG location (and my third or fourth overall). I haven’t been overly impressed either time. In fact, on my last visit, the highlights were the truffle parmesan popcorn (thus confirming, in my own head, my theory that popcorn is the new trendy foodie appetizer, soon to take over for the deviled egg) and the Oreo ice cream I had for dessert. Everything I had in between was mediocre at best.
Back to birthday dinner.
So we sit down and look over the pretty extensive menu. My brother’s eyes immediately fall upon the duck corn dog appetizer (served with purple mustard). Why not? We decide to get an order of those and an order of the tuna sashimi Napoleon with wasabi aoili (which I had sampled on my last visit). The tuna was fantastic when I had it before; it melted in your mouth. The wasabi aoili was not nearly as overpowering as it sounded. In fact, the overall flavor of the dish was sweetness. It was truly delicious. Too bad, this time around, the kitchen messed up and never brought us our appetizers. No corn dogs or tuna for this group. (Note: I always find it interesting when the waiter/waitress thinks they’re doing you a favor when they say, after you do not get something you order, that they will make sure it’s not on the bill. Really? Thanks.)
Let’s take a moment to discuss the bread basket–usually one of my favorite parts of the meal. This bread was nothing spectacular. It was undercooked on the inside yet managed to have a tasty crusty crust. The bread at CG is served not with butter (shameful!) but with a roasted red pepper dip concoction that is very low on flavor. Even with a generous sprinkling of salt, it was still a bit bland.
On to dinner. My brother ordered what was perhaps the best dinner choice on the menu: the pork chop with blackberry compote. He was a bit apprehensive about the blackberry part of it, not wanting to mix in fruit with his pig. He was going to get it with a chimichurri sauce before we advised him that chimichurri goes better with a red meat than a double cut pork chop (because, as we all know, pork is the other white meat). He agreed and thank goodness he did. The pork chop came out thick and juicy–really, it was cooked to perfection. It melted in your mouth (and I know, because he was nice enough to share a bite). The blackberry compote was not as daunting as it originally sounded; the sweetness was not overwhelming and contributed nicely to the flavor palette of his dish. One thing to note: there were no side dishes that came along with this $21.95 entree.
Christine ordered the Sonoran fish tacos, which were a special. They came on mini tortillas and were decked out in corn salsa and slaw. They were accompanied by sour cream and guacamole and, the piece de resistance: fried plantains. Except they were resistable to her, so she passed them along to the birthday girl who seemed to enjoy their blandness.
My dad ordered a burger. My uncle ordered a burger. The birthday girl ordered a burger. My grandmother ordered a burger. Guess what I ordered…ha, guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The burgers all came out to specifications. And while there was nothing really to complain about, there was also nothing really to brag about, either. I’ve had good burgers (hello, Mortons) and I’ve had bad ones and I’ve had many that fall in between. This was one of those burgers. I would have enjoyed it more if the pecorino cheese were not grated to the point of being powdery (think Kraft parmesan in the green container). For me, the oddest thing was the shape of the burger. Instead of being patty like (and I know, from hours of Food Network, how to make the perfect patty), it was a ball. It was round rather than flat. This made it difficult to bite into and a bit cumbersome to keep between the bun without losing toppings.
The burgers came with your choice of salad, french fries, or sweet potato fries. For a $2 upcharge, you could get tator tots. This was a no brainer for me. My plate was placed before me and I saw eight tator tots. Eight. Even a five year old can eat more than eight. Compared to the pile of regular fries that everyone else got on their plates, I was a bit disappointed. This couldn’t possibly be a normal sized order. Had I tasted the tots before I got myself all disappointed, I could have averted these feelings. Ore Ida wins over CG tots any day (though the green chili aoili was flavorful and a good dipping sauce for the regular fries, as I soon discovered). My side of carbs were thickly shredded potatoes in a tot form. Biting into them, I was met with a dense mess of seemingly congealed potato. With a smoky taste–the secret ingredient, we determined, was liquid smoke. And no one was appreciative. Instead of adding an interesting flavor and a new take on the traditional tot, this just added to my sadness. I should’ve gotten the sweet potato fries. Thankfully, we ordered a side of those for the table. They were delectable and perhaps the second best thing we ordered. They were thick cut and full of flavor. They came with ketchup as a dipping option but were tasty unadorned.
We opted out of dessert, as I had made one of my mom’s favorites and went back to my house for that. Even though I know that the desserts at CG are quite delicious. But maybe not as good as this pie. I mean, really?
All in all, CG appears to be best for drinks and apps. Go out, have a strawberry mojito or a Palmer in the Weeds, get some corn dogs or popcorn, and then come over to my house for homemade burgers and Ore Rida tator tots. You won’t be disappointed.