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Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Passion Fin - Asian Fusion Cuisine in the Mosaic District of Merrifield, VA

2750A Gallows Rd
Merrifield, VA 22190

Passion Fin Dining Room
Passion Fin is more about where it is than what it is. I’ll do my best to focus on the restaurant than on the neighborhood, but one thing that stands out here is while Passion Fin is fair at best, what makes it good is its location in the up-and-coming Mosaic District of Merrifield, VA.

We’ve done the “asian fusion” thing before, and Passion Fin falls into the trap we wrote about in our Kenji Fusion entry back in January. Again, “if you can do one thing well, stick with it. The more you add, the more washed out it becomes.” Passion Fin is no different.

On to the food and service. Jake was a very pleasant and competent server. His attentive service and repeated (but not overdone) check-ins made sure we were satisfied with each course. Elena went mostly Thai, Bill went mostly Chinese. Most courses were very mediocre (see above and the Frasier quote from the Kenji Fusion entry). We started with the Crab Wonton and two soups: Miso and Tom Yum. Average, expected, but not very exciting. Our entrees were Sesame Chicken ($14) and Drunken Noodles ($10). Each were average and needed some “heat”, but requests for hot sauces were unfulfilled, other than some sriracha and a flavorless hot oil. The $8 hot sake was a hit, though!

Sesame Chicken
Is Passion Fin good enough to return? Perhaps. Seems they have some really good specials, and they may be enough to get us back. It will be a long wait though since there are many other Mosaic district restaurants we want to try.

Daily Specials
I did my best to keep the Mosaic District discussion to a minimum; however, I can’t keep it out of the discussion. Mosaic is building and building fast. Situated just off the Dunn Loring Orange Metro line, anchored by a wide swath of condos, stores, and apartments. Just look for the construction cranes, as there is plenty of development happening there. The district is well engineered, and hopefully in time the distinct neighborhoods separated by Lee Highway will be bridged so that the southern area will connect to the newer northern end. Anchored by a series of small-medium sized boutiques, grocers, Movie Theater, and a big box Target store, restaurants are plenty. Ted’s Bulletin, BlackFinn, Ocean Pearl, Four Sisters, Cava, SweetGreen, and Gypsy Soul (getting excellent reviews and on many Top Restaurant lists including Northern Virginia Magazine) serve most of the world’s cuisines. With all these notable new additions, we hope Passion Fin can survive.

Drunken Noodles
Passion Fin is comfortable, open, and well-decorated. Sparse Asian d├ęcor separates the Sushi bar, regular bar, and a few separate dining rooms. The lighting is perfect – not overbearing, but can still see your menu and food. Music was a strange mix of 80’s and 90’s pop, certainly not expected, but better than the constant stream of ting-y Asian music. The clientele was diverse, ranging from families to millennial daters.  

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