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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Greenhouse Bistro and Samovar Tea Lounge in Vienna, VA (Tysons Corner area)

2070 Chain Bridge Road
Vienna, VA 22182
Tel: (703) 537-5700

There is nothing not to like about the newcomer Greenhouse Bistro and Samovar Tea Lounge, which claims to be the largest restaurant (by seats) in Fairfax County. Located in the "toilet bowl building," as it is known in the neighborhood, the restaurant is the brainchild of Masoud Aboughaddareh, well-known D.C. area restauranteur and nightclub impresario. Families, couples, friends, and diners of all gastronomic orientations will find a menu that is diverse and accommodating, as well as evening themes to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. 

Greenhouse is four restaurants in one. First, it is an upscale dining environment offering sustainable "nature-to-table" dishes, including some outstanding all-organic, vegetarian and vegan choices. Food is sourced primarily from local and regional farms... did you know there are over 300 farms within a 250-mile radius of where we are? The chef, Dale Schnell, originally from the West Coast, has an impressive resume, including the famous Russian Tea Room and the Rainbow Room in New York City. His creations have an urban vibe with an emphasis on the healthy and the light... as he says,  "foods that energize."  

Second, depending on the night you dine here (note: they are closed on Mondays), you will get an entertainment treat.  We came here on Thursday - Flamenco night - with a live guitar band and dancers that twirled around the restaurant.  While the music was a bit loud at times, the extravaganza was definitely entertaining, exciting and fun to watch. By the end of the evening, we saw families of all ages dancing near the band and enjoying a fun evening out that multiple generations can enjoy. The entertainment selection is a clear a manifestation of many years of nightclub experience carrying a distinctive Middle Eastern and Spanish style from Middle Eastern and Latin DJs to Flamenco and Latin American pop and rustic beats.

Third, the adjacent Samovar Tea Lounge provides a completely different feel.  It is a more relaxed, quiet, subdued and secluded atmosphere.  A dimly-lit romantic setting, it is a separate large room, outfitted with couches, embroidered pillows and, yes, samovars that brew an extensive variety of delicious flavored teas. There is a selection of food pairings that accompany the samovar service, ranging from baked pastries to fresh veggie and herb dishes. Food pairings can include savory finger foods or sweet baked pastries.

Fourth, is the large outside patio area with coffee tables and couches on one end and dining tables on the other, where you can enjoy the same menu as indoors. The patio has ground-up heating, so even on colder days, this is a place where you can hang out. You can come here either in shorts or dressed up... up to you.

Now for the food. There are plenty of options for carnivores, pescatarians, flexitarians, and vegetarians, including some vegan. Some dishes have a hint of the delicious Middle Eastern flavors interwined throughout the various items on the menu, using herbs and combinations to create a nice medley of tastes.  There is also the traditional Persian brunch that is offered here on Sundays.

All the dishes we tasted are pictured below. We enjoyed all of them, but particularly liked the salads and the short ribs in the dining room. In the Samovar Tea Lounge, the veggie platters were terrific - really that could be a great dinner in and of itself, as well as all the desserts offered here, which were wonderful.

We would definitely return here. 

 Outdoor view of the "toilet bowl building" with the Greenhouse patio

 Restaurant patio food menu

 Modern welcoming decor

 Walls are lined with an "herb garden" as well as flat-screen TVs

 Live Latin American Band with Flamenco Dancers

 Enjoying drinks out in the patio bar area
Chargrilled East Coast Octopus $17

 The Hearty Salad $13

 The Greenhouse Salad $13

 Atlantic Codfish $25 Inspired by the Spanish Paella

 Vegetarian Pizza

Half-Roasted Organic Chicken $21

Burgundy Braised Short Ribs $12 with palm puree

Hearts of Palm Sea Cake $16 with vegan (cashew) tartar sauce

Greenhouse at night

 DJ stand

Samovar Tea Lounge carries a more Middle Eastern decor vibe than the main dining room

Samovar, claimed both by Russians and Persians as their own invention

Samovar Tea Lounge menu

 Couches in the Samovar Tea Lounge

 Fresh veggies and herbs that accompany the Samovar Tea Service

Ricotta Reignets $8 with strawberry-rhubarb dipping sauce

 If you're not in the tea kind of mood, and have not had enough energizing food in the main dining room, you can order a perfect cup of cappuccino

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