- Leah Virbitsky
Circa: The Neighborhood Bistro
Anyone who is local to Arlington, VA knows that Clarendon is the hotspot for restaurants, bars + shops. We had the opportunity to experience a tasting at what we would consider a more "upper scale" restaurant otherwise known as Circa. For those of you who have never dined at Circa before, Circa has five locations in the DC Metro area: Clarendon, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Chinatown and the Navy Yard. They are designated as a chic neighborhood bistro and are slowly taking over the entire DMV with their extensive wine list, seasonal cocktails, rotating local craft beers and inviting social scene.
Upon walking in, the first thing we noticed was the plethora of outdoor patio seating located in the front and side of the restaurant. This is by far one of Clarendon's more "outdoor friendly" restaurants, perfect for dining in this amazing weather we've been experiencing here. The hostess seated us inside near the patio in these huge, comfy red leather arm chairs. It made drinking a bottle of red wine even easier because of how relaxed we were!
We dined on a Monday night and every table around us was full with several large parties enjoying themselves over a bottle of wine. Monday night at Circa is "Wine Night" so all bottles under $125 are half off. Water is served in a clear glass wine bottle making Circa even classier than it already is with a modern touch. Speaking of wine, in the back corner of the Clarendon location, guests can find an entire wine cellar from floor to ceiling. We started the night with a bottle of Chianti Classico, Querciabella (2013).
We then proceeded to dig into the yummy small plates. First up was a plate of Brussels + Blue (pictured below). These brussels were fried and soaked in balsamic glaze with melted St. Pete's blue cheese, topped with applewood smoked bacon. Obviously bacon and blue cheese make everything taste good, but these brussels were unreal.
Blake's favorite small plate was the Shotgun Shrimp (pictured below). The sweet chili sauce made the shrimp taste like a delectable treat served over the jicama slaw. Blake and I were fighting for the last one and I won! It was seriously so good and I wish we could recreate it. This small plate is a must!
We wanted to be sure to try one of their salads so we opted for the Veg + Quinoa Bowl (pictured below) which was very light and refreshing! It was a blend of balsamic onions mixed with fresh avocado plus juicy red tomatoes and quinoa, made for the ultimate healthy dish. I would recommend this salad for lunch sometime! It was much needed after the hearty brussels and fried shrimp. It was the perfect transition to our entrees.
Blake opted for the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes (his usual favorite). They were served with black bean + grilled corn salsa, citrus tartar and Old Bay fries. The perfect summer meal! Blake would highly recommend it to any crab lover!
I couldn't resist ordering the Lobster Ravioli (pictured below). The Raviolis were served in a bed of tomato and ginger cream sauce. I've never had ginger mixed with tomato sauce before and it made for the most delicious combination. Talk about melt in your mouth!!! Our waiter and the Manager told us that a crowd favorite to order is the Grilled Chesapeake Rockfish served with pearl couscous, green peas, charred zucchini and leeks, lemon beurre blanc and tarragon blistered tomatoes. This is definitely something we plan to try upon our return!
Last up but most important- dessert! Both of us are huge fans of anything baked with apples so we obviously had to try the Apple Pie filled with granny smith apples, cinnamon streusel and candied walnuts (pictured below). Top this with some Tahitian vanilla bean gelato and we were seriously in heaven. a-m-a-z-i-n-g. To finish off the night, the Manager sent two shots of vanilla vodka, espresso + turbinado syrup. What a way to end an incredible meal!
We highly, highly recommend you stop into Circa this summer. Not only is the food + wine incredible, but the service was outstanding. The entire Circa staff was super accommodating and we truly enjoyed our night. To find out more about their other locations or check out their menu, visit their website.