Typically, I dread leaving the District. No matter if it’s Virginia or Maryland, a trip beyond my comfortable city has me grumbling about the inconvenience. However, on a recent Monday, I exited Washington—heading to the non-metro-accessible Shirlington Village—and had the most perfect evening.
In a rare bout of timeliness, I sat on the patio at Copperwood Tavern with a glass of wine and a really good book, waiting for Amanda Jean to join me. We had enjoyed a delicious brunch at the restaurant in the early spring and decided to return to the farm-to-table restaurant to sample its summer menu. Amanda Jean, after all, lives in Virginia, and good friends compromise.
The patio was filled with young couples and families dining with their four-legged friends at their feet. An animal lover, I enjoyed sitting there peacefully while all the pups strolled by or lounged around me as I read. There really isn’t a better way to spend a summer evening.
Amanda Jean and I love oysters, so while I waited I put in an order for a half dozen. Copperwood Tavern serves only Chincoteague oysters, which I remembered from our brunch there. While at first only one option is slightly disappointing, I then realize it makes the decision easier and I also appreciate that they source local, supporting the Chesapeake. My family regularly visits the beach at Chincoteague, so it brings back recent summer memories.
The oysters are served in the traditional fashion—with horseradish, cocktail sauce, and mignonette, with a grilled lemon. For some reason, the grilled lemon adds a nice, unexpected touch—like a gesture that was totally unnecessary but still appreciated. It’s worth noting that Copperwood has an oyster happy hour with $1 oysters from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
When Amanda Jean arrived, we caught up on our lives over two glasses of a crisp and smooth California Pinot Grigio.
As we’re both trying to up our veggie intake, Amanda Jean and I both opted for small side salads to start. The tavern salad is available in appetizer and entrée sizes, and is a light, refreshing healthy mix of light greens, radish slices, and fresh, multicolored tomatoes. It was served in a house-made beer truffle vinaigrette that was rich in flavor yet light. The salad stood out as it was impeccably fresh. And, neither of us were particularly enthused about eating salad, but the dressing was so delicious we both polished off our plates.
For her entrée, Amanda Jean selected the duck breast, which was tea smoked and served in a blueberry jus with poached pears. The duck breast was tender, savory, and flavorful, although a tad fatty. Overall, it was a delectable dish and she would definitely order again.
My filet mignon was served medium rare in a creamy bourbon and green peppercorn sauce.
The meats at Copperwood Tavern are grass-fed and sustainably sourced, which is important to me. The restaurant is truly local, serving farm-to-table from farms in the Maryland, Pennyslvania and Virginia area: Smith Meadows. New Fronteir Bison, Langenfelder Farm, Elysian Fields, Shenandoah Beef Cooperative, and True Farms. It’s critically important to support local farms, source sustainably and ethically. Ethics aside, the local and sustainable sourcing shines through in the impeccably fresh and clean flavors in the meal.
As the entrees come a la carte, we split an order of truffle fries, served with a BBQ ketchup and a creamy truffle mayonnaise. I’ve eaten French fries across the Washington region, and these were some of the best I’ve sampled. The frites at Policy, Lincoln, and Granville Moore’s are also exceptional.
All in all, I will schlepp out to Virginia again for a meal at Copperwood, and I would be there often if I lived in the neighborhood, as it’s more than likely the best spot in the Village.
4021 Campbell Ave.
(The Village at Shirlington)