This evening my mom and I ventured over to 2941, located in an office park about a 10 minute walk from my mother's home in Falls Church. This is a very odd location for a restaurant-- it's not easy to find, it's surrounded by strange little lakes where geese and dogs alike aren't allowed to frolic, and it's nearly 25 minutes from downtown DC. But, it is a beautiful, nearly pristine setting for this newcomer.
First, I have to say, visit 2941 in a winter like this one-- the lakes and waterfalls surrounding the entrance are iced over, and it's just a beautiful whiteness. Plus the two fireplaces inside the restaurant are especially appreciated in this cold weather.
The restaurant is truly gorgeous--high ceilings, heavy caramel-colored wood, artistic lighting, a beautiful oil painting, and lots of large mirrors...Half of the tables are big deep comfy booths, and others line a huge window overlooking the lakes. After enjoying dinner, we sat and just stared at the restaurant itself-- really quite a sight.
Before getting to the food itself, let me mention the service. It still needs work. Briefly, it's friendly, but inexperienced. Staff had a very hard time setting and resetting silverware in the booths (our 5'4 server nearly fell over trying to place a spoon on my placemat), our dessert walked past us before returning to the right spot, wines were delivered a little late, etc. These were minor distractions, however.
Our menu: We began with a basket of the homemade breads. There are a selection of 13 baked twice daily, and we were served 5: apricot pistachio, french baguette, olive rosemary, pumpernickel raisin, and sage. All were terrific and served with real, creamy butter. We shared an appetizer: citrus cured hamachi mackerel ($9). The fish was lovely, but the fennel and grapefruit vinaigrette poured over top was a little too sweet, and half of the fish was too heavily peppered.
For entrees, my mom had the carmelized sea scallops with wild mushrooms and champagne sauce ($26) and I had the farm raised venison--loin and tenderloin with baby beets and turnips, braised Napa cabbage, and red wine sauce flavored w/ juniper and black currants ($25). There were 6 large tasty scallops in mom's dish, the mushrooms were incredible, and the creamy mashed potatoes served underneath really made this a perfectly composed dish. My venison was, thank god, very tender, a gorgeous merlot color (medium-rare), completely juicy and delicious. All of the meat at 2941 is served 'two ways' -- it's a great idea. The accompanying veggies were a real treat, as were the baked apples slices interspersed among venison slices.
(By the way, we had a terrible time deciding what to order-- other appealing choices included fresh papardelle pasta w/ braised oxtail, a marinated alaskan black cod, and grilled NY strip steak w/ braised beef cheeks.)
For dessert we shared the pineapple rice pudding and carmelized meringue with pineapple sorbet and coconut panna cotta ($9). This was like three desserts served on a little tray, none heavy, all yummy. The rice pudding sat over hunks of pineapple and under a meringue --it was a great little sandwich. I don't love pineapple and yet couldn't stop eating the sorbet. (Before dessert we were served an odd little palate cleanser that tasted like red jello- kind of bad.)
Finally, they brought up an adorable little jar full of watermelon cotton candy, and a dish containing candied nuts and four of the most perfect little homemade marshmellows. Such a treat-- we could've eaten 4 jars of that cotton candy (and if we'd been at the circus we would've been charged $8 for each serving!)
As for drinks, my mom had a 2941 Martini w/ vodka, grand marnier and chambord-- she thought it was too sweet, I thought it was about right for what was in it. I had a glass of Anton Bauer Ried Berg Riesling, Donaland Austria 2001 ($6) with the hamachi, and a glass of Bouwland 80% Cab 20% Merlot, South Africa 1999 ($8) with the venison. The latter was the best match.
All in all, we were delighted to find such a great addition to the neighborhood, which til now lacked an fine-dining options. 2941 serves Sunday brunch--$26 includes mimosas, a continental breakfast including tons of homebaked goods, and items like cinnamon sugar crepes-- and we plan to make that part of the Sunday routine really soon.
If 2941 doesn't succeed, it will be because of location alone. The food is nearly fantastic, the decor is among the prettiest on the East Coast, and the service will improve, I'm sure.
ps. You can see a menu, and more info, at: