Being car-less, and quite frankly, living in the city as well, I don’t get out to the Mosaic District very often. And that’s too bad since Merrifield’s upscale shopping and dining complex has a lot to offer, from exciting restaurant concepts to the fabulous Angelika movie theater and one of the cleanest Target you’ll ever visit. So when the PR folks with Edens invited me to a fun, progressive dinner-type event I jumped at the opportunity to try out 4 new restaurants and hopped on the silver line. A quick free shuttle ride from Dunn Loring later, I met up with other local bloggers over crab nachos and margaritas at our first stop: Cyclone Anaya’s. The Texas transplant just celebrated its 2-years anniversary at the Mosaic District, making it the “oldest” restaurant we would visit during the Mosaic Dish progressive dinner. Over lobster tacos and agave julep margaritas, I got to hear the story of the restaurant (it involves a Mexican wrestler!) and meet some of the other bloggers present, which is always one of the highlights of these sorts of events, before heading out to our next stop: True Food Kitchen.
One of the bloggers I was excited to meet was Anne of Fannetastic Food, whose blog I’ve been reading on and off for a few years. Anne is all about healthy food and nutrition so she was already familiar with the concept restaurant but I wasn’t. True Food Kitchen opened back in September and is based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and his 2012 cookbook, True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure (we actually got to take a copy of the book home, which was pretty awesome!) The menu emphasizes clean eating and features a large variety of vegetarian and vegan items as well as some gluten-free dishes. The vegetable crudites bowl that awaited us on our table looked almost too pretty to eat, but it’s the edamame dumplings and non alcoholic antioxidant cocktail that really won me over. I also loved the open floor plan and the fact that yoga pants are a perfectly acceptable outfit to wear to dinner 😉
As good as eating a huge bowl of raw veggies and drinking mocktails was, I was thrilled that our next stop included meat. Lots of meat. B Side opened less than a month ago and is the only place at the Mosaic District that feels more like a bar than a restaurant. And what a bar! Greg Engert, Jeff Fail and Brent Kroll have worked together to craft a drink menu that includes an AMAZING selection of 200+ beers (do you expect otherwise from Greg?), 120 wine bottles wine list (do you expect any less from Brent?) and 10 craft cocktails (do I even need to say it? But yeah, do you expect any less from Jeff…?) Like its sister restaurants the Partisan, B Side’s menu features meat from Red Apron, conveniently located next door, including snacks like pork rinds and an amazing charcuterie platter.
Last but not least, we made our way to Chef RJ Cooper’s Southern-inspired concept Gypsy Soul. The focal point of the restaurant is the spacious open kitchen where you can watch chef RJ Cooper and cheftender Bryan Tetorakis in action. After all the eating we had just done, a good cocktail hit all the right spots and I was grateful that chef RJ Cooper brought us all his take on an apple crumble, with sour cream ice cream, because I really wanted to end this Mosaic Dish progressive dinner on a sweet note. Gypsy Soul will definitely warrant another visit soon, and while I was excited to hear that the restaurant will expand to an 80 seats rooftop patio (with its own bar) in April, I’m hopefully I’ll be back much sooner than that.
I loved that, in addition to District favourites transplanted to Virginia (like Cava, Matchbox or Dolcezza) the Mosaic District now has exciting restaurant concepts that we can’t find in the city. Cyclone Anaya’s, True Food Kitchen, B Side and Gypsy Soul are all delicious new (ish in the case of Cyclone Anaya’s) reason to visit the Mosaic District and I can definitely see myself trekking out there (the metro and shuttle ride really wasn’t bad at all) to meet some of my VA-based friends. I’m sure they’d appreciate me coming on their turf for a change 😉