Sunday, July 28, 2013

ORSO is always moreso and great for all kinds of dining and food in Fall's Church, VA (7-27-13)

Last night, again prior to a performance, we headed to ORSO where we are in love with the fresh ingredients and brilliant cooking style of Chef Will Artley.
For a Saturday night the place was busy as could be with couples, families, extended family groups and singles. This place makes everyone happy.
When you have staff like our server Steve who takes time to offer suggestions for food and wine, then you also are going to have happier clientele.
It was hard to decide as we wanted to enjoy several small plates as opposed to the larger ones or pizzas (still trying to diet!).
Steve told us to shy away from the Tomato Basil Bisque as it was a cream base, so we ordered two spectacular salads to start:
GRILLED WATERMELON SALAD with Smoked Blue Cheese, Grilled Onion and Balsamic Vinaigrette is as refreshing and light as a salad can get. the melon was sweet, juicy and
worked brilliantly with the greens and smoky cheese.
BABY BEET & CARROT salad sounds simple, but is one of the best I have ever had with Purple & Yellow Beets, Purple & Orange Carrots, Smoked Ewe's Cheese, Greens and
two swaths across the side of the plate....a Carrot Vinaigrette that was more like a puree (think baby food, if you must) and an unreal Pomegranate Molasses. Love went into the creation of this dish as well as the freshest of local and heirloom-style ingredients around.
I asked Steve for a glass of the dry Rose from Domaine La Blague, but all he had left was a taste as the bar had only the last drops in a bottle. I liked it and we settled for the RUEDA, Palacio de Vivero which was a citrus, smoky white from Spain.  Steve insisted I try to Terre del Barolo 2007 BARBARESCO and it was a treat.
We next enjoyed Caramelized Shallot & GOAT CHEESE RAVIOLI with Forest Mushrooms, SunDried Tomatoes, over a bed of Sautéed Chard. The sweetness of the goat cheese was tempered by the chard and I have to say, Chef Artley knows his pasta well. Even better was the Smoked Gulf SHRIMP with what was called a CORN RAGU and Fire Roasted Red Pepper (Fresno) Coulis, really more like a paste or sauce.
The shrimp were excellent and the ragu consisted of String beans, peas, mushrooms, garlic, garbanzo beans and roasted peppers. Again those local fresh veggies that make this place tops for ingredients. The "coulis" paste was so good, I said that it needs to be bottled as pasta sauce. Chef Will told me I could have it as a sauce on pasta anytime; I guess that's next best!
The dishes are served on giant wooden paddles which is really adorable, but beware when someone places it in front of you with the handle as that handle sometimes has some food on it that might drop in your lap!
I wanted one more little bite and asked Steve if Chef would prepare for me a 1/3 portion of the THREE LAMB BACON SLIDERS with Smoked Aioli and Tomato Jam. One was just right. Three is a meal!
The lamb was tender the aioli zesty and the jam should also be bottled for sale! It came on a grilled warm bread that had a pita-like consistency; maybe it was made in the pizza oven? I did not ask. I called it a lamb gyro gone wild with GOAT CHEESE and PICKLES!
No dessert, but we got a subscription to the Creative Cauldron Theater next door for next season, so we will be back a lot. ORSO offers a discount if you are going there!