It's early in the day when the airplanes land on Virginia soil, bearing fresh seafood from such far-off places as Maine, Hawaii, and Japan. Lumbering trucks transport the cargo to the town of Sterling, where Hooked chefs await to fillet and prepare the catches for the night's dinner. The sushi chefs carve plump morsels of tuna and yellowtail in traditional Japanese style before rolling them into intricate rolls adorned with mango, caviar, and tempura. Meanwhile, the kitchen chefs tend to grills of sizzling teriyaki dishes and simmering pans of lemongrass halibut and hand-cut steak. The Hooked team has been crafting these fresh dishes and innovative specialties for the last seven years, earning accolades from Northern Virginia Magazine and Taste of Reston in the process.
Vibrant photographs of the chef's dishes flash across the flat screen in the sleek dining room, casting a glow across the contemporary dining room. Cushy booths surround vibrant red tables, and glimmering curtains dangle above the dining room. On the outdoor patio, a dancing fountain gushes with streams of water alongside a central fireplace roaring with flames. The staff strives to recreate an apropos oceanic atmosphere at the restaurant, lighting up seating areas in shades of turquoise and sea-green and requiring all servers to master basic seal calls.
BGR The Burger Joint?s burgers start with high-quality ingredients?most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Triple D burger topped with an over easy egg, apple wood smoked bacon, grilled jalapeno and cheddar cheese. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries?from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries?be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
Since opening their first location in 1996, Robeks sends their customers well on their way to consuming their recommended daily intake for fruits and vegetables, all through a portable smoothie. Customers can step up to the counter and order from a menu of berry, tropical, and ?power? smoothies, the latter of which are named for extra boosts of vitamins A and C, fiber, and protein infused in the drink. Nearly a dozen different supplements lend their revitalizing nutrients to the menu, helping create power smoothies like the metabolism-boosting Venice Burner and the protein-packed MuscleMax. Robeks also offers gourmet stuffed pretzels and oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip ?power? cookies. Each Robeks location makes a concerted effort to support the neighborhood it resides in, through local organizations, such as Save the Children. Robeks also offers free medium favorite or classic smoothie with $30 gift card purchase.
Sahara Lebanese Cuisine’s fresh, authentic Middle Eastern dishes come courtesy of timeworn family recipes passed down through multiple generations of culinary expertise. At the helm of the kitchen, the head chef—with 16 years of experience—manages a staff of five talented chefs, each dedicated to creating housemade Lebanese favorites, from falafel and gyro sandwiches to baked red snapper, pomegranate lamb kebabs, and other dinner specialties.
In the dining room, the Middle Eastern-inspired design scheme, including arches overhead, complements the fare with another element of Lebanese authenticity. Neighboring the dining room, an on-site hookah lounge facilitates shisha consumption in a variety of flavors. Coffee and tea drinkers, meanwhile, can finish off a cup of Turkish coffee and then decipher their fortune or a forgotten PIN from the grounds.
At The Pollo Factory, three generations’ worth of Peruvian-cooking expertise infuses dishes such as crispy fried yucca and plantains, savory chicken, and ocean-fresh ceviche with years of cherished tradition. The scent of roasting la brasa chicken sends stomachs into quivering, hungry rumbles, and the sight of endlessly swirling rotisserie skewers hypnotizes eyes. Shellfish and squid mingle with zesty citrus marinades on plates of ceviche as scallop paella blends presentation and flavor with colorful yellow rice, red pepper, and green parsley. Other Peruvian specialties such as imported choclo corn, marinated beef-heart kebabs, and olive-stuffed tamales introduce taste buds to new horizons.
Lucia’s Italian Ristorante is a team effort by the Impellizzeri family, which is headed up by native Sicilian Tino. At the feet of his Italian mother and a father who was a chef by trade, Tino mastered his family's recipes, which he now showcases on Lucia's menu. Tantalizing selections include housemade pizza, pasta, and from-scratch sauces. Many of the restaurant's pasta dishes and gourmet pizzas, including the chicken ranch, can be made in the kitchen without the use of gluten or blaring disco music. Chefs enable authentic noshing at home by freezing dinner entrees, pizzas, and sauces for customers to enjoy around their family dinner tables or crypts.