The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm is both a revered establishment for DC foodies, as well as a bit of a hidden gem. This restaurant frequently makes appearances on regional “best of” lists, yet many have never heard of it. It features a creative, regionally-focused tasting menu that changes weekly. Only the freshest ingredients are featured, many of which are grown on the farm itself or found in neighboring Loudoun County.
It’s located an hour outside of DC on the banks of the Potomac River in rural Lovettsville, Virginia, and the journey there is all part of the experience. By the time you pull up the steep gravel driveway, step out and look out at the scenic view around you, you’ll feel perfectly prepped for the inspired meal to come.
WHAT DOES THE INSIDE OF THE RESTAURANT LOOK LIKE?
The restaurant has seating available inside an airy greenhouse with about 15 tables, or outside on the patio under a large, airy tent– both options overlook the bridge at Point of Rocks, Maryland. Inside, white twinkle lights shine overhead with a minimalist yet elegant décor throughout.
There’s a small bar in one corner where a bartender expertly crafts cocktails, while a few hocks of curing meat hang inconspicuously above him.
WHEN I WENT:
A recent Saturday in May.
WHO I WENT WITH:
My boyfriend, Scott, to celebrate his birthday.
DESCRIBE THE CROWD:
Considering that the reservations had been booked solid for weeks, I was surprised to find upon arriving that the restaurant was only about 1/3 full. I think this was an intentional maneuver by the restaurant, due to the intensive preparations needed for the tasting menu, but it did throw me off a little at first. I typically expect “hot” restaurants to have a bustling crowd. Once I got over that, I noticed that there were several couples of all ages, and a few small groups. No more than 4 per table.
WHAT WE ORDERED:
The “Raised” tasting menu — $88 (me)
From the menu:
We begin with snacks, followed by Curds and Whey, goats milk, campagna, onion cream fermented cabbage, tatsoi, Chicken Crepinette, polenta, caramelized honey, ramp leaves, arugula, Beef Brisket, fermented garlic, toasted stilton, quinoa, mushrooms, “Oreo Dipped in Milk”, milk curd, black cocoa, Dark Chocolate Namelaka, yolk sorbet, butter jam, hazelnut streusel, milk crisp and finish with Sweet Little Bites.
The “Grown” tasting menu—prepared vegetarian — $88 (Scott)
From the menu:
We begin with snacks followed by a Mushroom Soup, pecorino fresco, crimini crumb, fava bean shoots, Our Asparagus, farcous, pine nuts, mushroom, pea tendrils, Kale and Bacon Risotto, buttermilk, chimichurri, arugula flowers, Tarragon Panna Cotta lemon, fennel confit, Jasmine Rice Pudding, green rhubarb granite, lavender meringue, sunflower kernel brittle and finish with Sweet Little Bites.
THE BEST THING I ATE:
I enjoyed so much of my meal that it’s hard to choose! I loved the creative small bites, that arrived with flourish and tasted as good as they looked. The bread served with creamy bread and artisanal salt had us asking for seconds. My curds and whey dish was so fresh and flavorful, I would have licked the bowl were it not so uncouth to do so. And my chicken crepinette was a delicious, complete main course with spot-on flavors and presentation.
Our whole experience was truly lovely. However, if I had one critique it would be that the vegetarian tasting menu was the same price as the regular one, but at times felt like it was simply the same courses without an adequate substitution for the protein. For that, I would have expected a reduced vegetarian menu price.
Also, while there were a number of small courses, I didn’t actually leave feeling overly full. I think one additional main course, or a more fulfilling dessert, would have been ideal given the cost of the meal.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm provides a delicious, creative and beautifully-presented menu in a picturesque setting. The food incredibly fresh and inspired by the surrounding region, and is the perfect warm-weather spot for a celebratory meal or special occasion. (4 ½ stars out of 5)
DETAILS: Restaurant at Patowmack Farms
Address: 42461 Lovettsville Rd, Lovettsville, VA 20180
Phone: (540) 822-9017
Price: $$$$ (For the tasting menu: Thurs. – Sat.)