Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wine Kitchen - Leesburg, VA

Summary - Good idea, ok wines, but I don't think I can "stand" it much more

In general ...

Boy, you really have to want to eat here … each time we've been at the Wine Kitchen since it opened a couple of months ago, we have had to wait at least 1.5 hours before we were seated. Yes, 1.5!!! The first time, the owner (Michael) was kind enough to give us a cheese plate for our troubles. To make matters worse, it was so crowded that we had to STAND the entire time. There are only 7-8 tables and not much else that's good in Leesburg, so come on WK, figure it out!

The décor is cute, the place is small, cozy, and once you're seated you don't feel crowded or cramped. Hopefully, the wine list will evolve over time, but there are a couple of decent reds and a good champagne.

What did we have and how was it?

We've had several dishes during the course of our visits, but the items that have kept us coming back to this point are:

-- Chicken & Waffles - this is a new addition to their menu. Mmmm! The first time we had it, it was sublime! Moist, fried quail atop a cornmeal, herb waffle with a bacon caramel syrup. Quail was slightly crispy which complimented the waffle's soft, airy texture. The savory and sweet combination was executed flawlessly, resulting in a perfect balance of flavor. This was so good that we immediately ordered a second helping. The next visit, we again ordered the chicken and waffles. Not nearly as good as the previous visit. The inconsistency was surprising - the quail was overcooked and dry and there was only a sparing amount of the bacon caramel syrup. This made the entire dish very dry and the sweet/savory balance was gone.

-- Steak w/ Chimichurri Sauce - we've had this one a few times. The 1st and last times, it was excellent - cooked medium rare, nicely seasoned, and the chimichurri sauce was perfectly acidic and garlicky. The second time we had it, the steak was not nearly as flavorful, was overcooked, and the chimichurri sauce had an overpowering acidity which all but ruined the dish. Let's hope that was a one-time issue.

-- Do not get … the gnocchi -flavorless and mushy; the red wine braised pork - wow, this was disappointing. There was no telling that the pork was braised, there wasn't a remote hint of red wine, and the flavor was just flat. If they don't burn the scallops, they're ok.

-- Torta Palla - WOW … this dessert is worth the trip on its own! Chocolate and caramel covered chocolate balls - they are amazingly decadent! The texture is akin to a room temp stiff brownie batter and just melts in your mouth. These have been fairly consistent except for the first time where the chef did not cook the caramel correctly - it was hard, chewy, and could have taken out some fillings. They fixed that, though.

-- We've had some of the other dishes, but they were non-descript and just overall forgettable.


I'm sure we'll go back, but if we have to wait more than 30 minutes, we will certainly go elsewhere. Why not take call-ahead, since you have nowhere for people to sit and wait?

Here's the site … check it out and let us know what you think!


The Wine Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. I enjoyed Wine Kitchen. The staff and owner were friendly; however, I agree about the wait...boy was it brutal. The chicken and waffles and chocolate balls make you forget all about the wait though.

  2. Thank you for the compliments and constructive criticism. We try very hard to satisfy all our customers and get people seated as quickly as we can.

    As we are a young restaurant and new concept to the area, next time you come in please let us know so we can talk about ways to improve our wine list.

    We look forward to hopefully seeing you all again soon.

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