From 1989 to 2008, Bernia Socha's family served as co-owners of Wagshal's Delicatessen, a DC staple among locals and celebrities since 1925. But when the commute from Northern Virginia to DC got too daunting for Bernie, he decided to work closer to home, and this meant establishing his own namesake delicatessen in Fairfax. Now, he and his wife, seasoned deli owners, re-create some of Wagshal?s finest New York?inspired sandwiches along with a new menu of comfort foods praised by the Washington Post in 2009.
Freshly baked french baguettes and Jewish-style rye breads hold up to 1 pound of traditional proteins, such as Virginia baked ham and German bologna, as well as beef tongue, pastrami, and Nova Scotia salmon. Year-round, the deli enhances any meal with Italian illy coffee and more than 20 condiments for any sandwich. Traditional egg breakfasts are served up only in the morning, and to-go dinners of baked ziti and a chicken roasted over a flute of beer and herbs are toted out of the diner in the evening. During the chillier months, Bernie and his chefs create housemade soups and chilies that are meant to immediately warm the soul and unfreeze frostbitten stomachs.
At Bellissimo Restaurant, the Old-World spirit isn't limited to the menu. A mural dominates one of the dining room's walls, recreating a balcony view of a northern Italian vista. Servers sporting black vests and bow ties weave amid the tables, where vases of roses add a splash of color to the crisp, white linens. It's a special kind of elegance to take in, and that's before the Italian dishes even begin to arrive.
The chef demonstrates his dedication to tradition by recreating classic northern Italian dishes. Entrees range from the deceptively simple to the decadent, from veal sauteed in homemade pesto to shrimp stuffed with crab, wrapped in prosciutto, and glazed in white wine sauce. But it's the small touches that lift meals to an even more memorable place, like a sprinkling of savory truffle oil or fresh basil.
Though it’s named after the most ubiquitous Thai dish in the world, Pad Thai has found plenty of ways to distinguish itself. The first thing that fans from the Washingtonian and Northern Virginia Magazine noticed was the prices, which seem paltry in comparison to the dishes’ big flavors. For well under $20, guests can indulge in a hearty entrée of crispy duck, marinated pork, or sautéed eggplant. Given the restaurant’s small size (there are only 38 seats, according to the Washingtonian), it’s best to make a reservation ahead of time and park your car outside.
The chefs Shishkabob Express transport taste buds eastward via house-ground halal meat, juicy seared veggies, and spice-laden dips. Every day, they create their dishes entirely from scratch.
Classic Mediterranean meats, from grilled chicken to lamb to beef koobideh, rub elbows with grilled green peppers, crunchy onions, and tomatoes. Diners eat each morsel right off the skewer, which can later be used to knit a delicious-smelling sweater. Every kebab meal comes with rice and two sides, such as hummus or eggplant dip, scooped up by fluffy bread.
Executive chef Juan Carlos Balderrama brings a career of more than 20 years to his post at Coyote Grille. His creative Tex-Mex menu items fill plates with garlic-marinated shrimp and hints of chipotle, and they also include special menu items for children as well as many gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly options. The Centreville location also offers a specialty Southwest Tapas menu and Sunday brunch.
At Casa Italia, the menu is a masterpiece of homemade pizzas, pasta, and other authentic Italian dishes. Patrons twirl forks into generous portions of fresh pasta before grabbing slices of hand-tossed pizzas topped with savory meats and crisp veggies. Other offerings include spicy wings, subs, salads, and burgers. Enormous windows allow the room to be flooded with natural light, while a covered patio gives diners the option to eat al fresco.