Saturday, October 13, 2007

Whimsical Willow Romances the Palate

Any night out with your sweetheart away from the pressures of work school and family is bound to be a magical night, especially when the romance is enhanced by an exquisite menu. This past weekend, Vince and I escaped to Willow Bar and Restaurant in Arlington, VA, courtesy of Andy and Therese (many thanks!!). The decor is charming and unpretentious and allows for intimate or group seating without upstaging the cuisine.

For starters, Vince and I shared the Domestic Berkshire Prosciutto Carparcio and Melon Salad with Imported Feta Cheese, Cucumbers, Arugula and Grilled Cibatta Bread. The ripeness of the melon perfectly complemented the salty cured ham and the feta, cucumbers, and arugula cleverly innovated this favorite Italian combination. The crunchy cibatta added just the right amount of crispness to segue way into the main course.

Vince chose the Potato-wrapped salmon served with brussel sprout and applewood smoked bacon hash and ricotta pancakes. The brussel sprouts and bacon paired perfectly together, but the salmon tasted like it had been wrapped in a french fry and double fried. I ordered the whole roasted snapper with clams, raviolini, brocolinni, and lemon fumet. The perfectly cooked fish sat in a bath of the best clam sauce I have ever tasted. The raviolini and clams complemented the dish and the lemon fumet provided just the right amount of tartness for the succulent fish. Even with plenty of help from Vince, I had to leave more than a few mouthfuls on the plate.

After so much deliciousness, we checked in with our stomachs and decided we could handle dessert. This time both choices were winners. Kate's cookies and ice cream put a new twist on a childhood favorite. Vince didn't leave a crumb of the assorted bite-sized cookies or homemade chocolate and vanilla ice cream. I kept with the lemony theme to my dinner and opted for a lemon cannoli with poppy seed angel food cake and raspberry sorbet. The combination of crisp cannoli shell, creamy lemon filling and frosty sorbet were the perfect end to an incredible meal.

Extras: Willow's menu changes seasonally so be sure to expect new items every time.