When you live in a city with as many restaurant choices as Washington, D.C. you often don't venture outside the city limits to eat a meal. Why bother? It could take you a lifetime to just eat at all the places in town!
The only time I do manage to eat outside the city limits is when I visit my surrogate family in Vienna, Virginia. Bernie and Cindy Gauf are the sweetest people – kind, generous, thoughtful, basically your idea of the all-American parents (with two sweet children Annie and Elizabeth) – and they offered to take me and a few of my friends out to eat at Bazin’s on Church Street, right off the Vienna Town Square.
Having opened in 2006, I unexpectedly discovered Bazin’s this past Christmas when I was freezing my butt off walking around the Vienna Holiday Festival. Until that moment, I never knew all those quaint shops on Church Street existed (think of it as a mini-King Street in Alexandria, about two long blocks mini).
So yes. I was briskly walking around trying to warm myself up as well as on a focused hunt to find something warm to drink. Thankfully, up a set of brick stairs, in front of a delightful white-boarded, two-story, large-paneled glass structure, were these two girls handing out what I discovered to be the best chocolate I have ever tasted in my life!
"It’s Bazin's hot chocolate" one of the girls politely explained to me as I reached for a second … and third … and fourth sample!
"What’s Bazin's?" I asked as I greedily drank the hot chocolate. She pointed to the restaurant behind her and, as I peered in, I noticed the foyer decorated entirely in exposed brick and warmly polished wood floors. There was a private dinner party that night so I didn’t get to go inside to smell the food; however, the beautiful interior design (as well as the tasty hot chocolate) made me vow to return again.
Nearly four months later I did, much to my palate's delight!
Actually walking into Bazin’s for the first time, I was instantly warmed by its coziness. The restaurant probably doesn't sit more than perhaps 50 to 75 people. It’s an ideally romantic setting. But it's the food, not just the environment, that has me raving.
The special on the day I went was the bleu cheese encrusted lamb chops. Served at a perfect room temperature, the lamb chops were tenderly coated in bleu cheese and cooked at a nice medium well. Placed alongside the meat were two servings worth of pureed, clean, i.e. no dressing, mashed potatoes and a few stalks of al dente asparagus. My dining companions all had ordered the salmon (from what I heard, it was good), but at the sight of my dish I swear they would have gladly switched!
When was all tasted and done, my dinner plate was eaten clean.
Now, even though the lamb chops were so filling I was nearly bursting out of my skirt, I had (!) to order dessert. (I reasoned to myself that I couldn’t write a good impression review of Bazin’s without trying their dessert.) The Peanut Butter Mouse Tart instantly caught my eye. Comprised of a chocolate ganache, devil’s food cake and a chocolate sorbet, the desert is beautifully presented in an extra long rectangular dish with the single desert separated into two desert sections, criss-crossed by by a light syrup. Fantastic.
In addition to the food, the bread basket was more than acceptable with its soft rolls and the Merlot an excellent drink companion. I would say that though the trek from the city may be long, this restaurant is well worth the journey.
111 Church Street, N.W.
Vienna, Va. 22180
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