Quick review of recent trip to Shenandoah Valley.
Thorton River Grill: Met expectations. Was told this was not aspiring to be culinary challenging like Fotis/Apt 2G etc. and for what they were aiming to do they nailed it. Shrimp appetizer was great: shrimps were juicy, large and perfectly seasoned.. only two of them though. The knockout was the pork loin. If you are dining there soon, I highly recommend ordering the pork and truly believeyou will find it to be amazing. It was that good. My girlfriend, who is vegetarian, enjoyed the corn chipolte chowder soup and her risotto with goat cheese. She liked the entree a lot.
Fotis: Our experience was well south of what was experienced on this board. Given the price point wasn't too different than Thorton River Grill, perhaps our expectations were too high. The crab/mushroom ravioli appetizer was fine, but could have been materially improved. The dish, when eaten with all components together -- specifically with the crab -- worked great. But without the crab (which added salt and texture), which was only a minority of the dish, I felt it was quite bland.. needed salt. needed some additional seasoning. The chef created a vegetarian entree custom order for my companion which failed flat.. and this didn't need to happen as we weren't given notice of the swap. We modified my companion's other appetizer so can't fairly say how it would have been otherwise. The duck breast entree was very good, but couldn't salvage the meal/overall experience unfortunately. to be honest.. I was excited by having the chef whip up something for my companion.. and was pretty disappointed that it fell so flat.
Given the lack of great dining options in the area/recession I do hope Fotis succeeds.
They are aspiring to be a great restaurant and I hope they get there, or at least hope I went on an off-night perhaps. When I return to the area again in years down the road, I do hope to dine at Fotis again and hope that things will be a'clickin by then.