Friday night Mrs. W. and I tried Catch 52, a new seafood restaurant in South Riding Market Square (Loudoun County, VA) owned by the people who run Vintage 51 across the street and Vintage 50 in Leesburg. The place, which occupies a space that has already housed a few other restaurants (location of death alert?) and took a really long time to open, but open it did, so, having had some good meals at Vintage 51, we gave it a try.
Verdict: Mediocre to bad. Service was amateurish and awkward. As for the food, ummm. First bad omen -- when we sat down we heard the couple at the booth across from us complaining to one of the managers. Second: the flatbread we got was tasteless and came with three dips, one of which -- a bluefish pate -- had a really acrid taste. We shared a bowl of mussels for an appetizer. The portion was not huge, but the mussels tasted ok. But, it came with just two pieces of grilled bread for sopping up the good broth with. When we asked for more bread, the waiter brought us more of the flatbread, which has virtually no absorbency whatsoever.
So, on to the entrees. I got a piece of Chilean king klip fish, which I had never heard of, but I am a sucker for a good name. Sort of like Chilean sea bass, I guess. Pretty good dish.
Mrs. W got a "crab and squash gratin." This was a major, epic fail. The dish had barely any crab, and no crab flavor at all. It tasted solely of the spaghetti squash and a very strong spice that we couldn't identify. Just nothing like you'd expect. A really bad dish. Looked bad too . When we saw the lady at the next table get it served to her, I said to Mrs W, "She's going to send it back." Sure enough, she picked at it, then sent it back. Her companion's fish and chips looked like a plate of fried sticks.
Bravely, we tried dessert. I got the "Citrus Finish" -- orange panna cotta, lime custard, and kumquats. It was decent, but nothing I'd rush to order again. Mrs. W got the "Pineapple Muffin," which turned out to be a dry mini bundt cake with a piece of pineapple on top and some mango salsa on the plate. it needed the sauce from my plate to be edible. Just a big waste of calories.
The waiter had recommended the seckel pears poached in riesling, which might have been a good choice had it not also come with GORGONZOLA FOAM. Now how the heck could that sound appetizing to anyone?
Fortunately, the coffee was decent.
My reaction: A candidate for Kitchen Nightmares. The menu is just really bad and the execution was not much better. We were pretty shocked that veteran local restaurateurs were responsible for such a slipshod effort out of the box. Bizarre menu items and food that doesn't look appetizing. Ford's Fish Shack in Ashburn has nothing to fear from Catch 52, at least until there is major improvement.