Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

September 3, 2009 7:54 PM

Restaurant: INOX Restaurant

INOX Restaurant

1800 Tysons Blvd.
McLean, VA 22102
703-790-INOX (4669)
Fax 703-790-0744
reservations@inoxrestaurant.com www.inoxrestaurant.com
INOX (which means stainless steel) was opened in February by Jonathan Krinn and Jon Mathieson. We know Krinn from his previous stint as Executive Chef of 2941. (WW March 2003) Mathieson most recently was the Chef de Cuisine at 2941 as well. Before that he was Executive Chef at Michael Mina at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

We went to INOX because Joel Jankowsky recommended it highly.

The restaurant is modern and has windows for walls on two sides, from floor to high ceiling. To the left, as you enter, is a comfortable bar and lounge that has a menu of small bites.

The dining room has a nice open feel, and seats about 100 people in tables of 2s, 4s and 6s. There is a row of 2-person tables, which can often be off-putting because separate couples are so close, there is no opportunity for private conversation. In this case the tables seem far enough apart to avoid that problem. And, even though the restaurant has a modern feel, the chairs are comfortable.

There are four private dining rooms. Two of them, the Chef Dining Rooms, seat 10 each, but can be opened to accommodate 20 at two tables of 10. The Amber Room seats 50 and the Gallery Room 60. These rooms also can be combined to seat 120 for dinner or 150 for a reception.

But, it strikes WW that the most interesting place to eat is the Chef's Table, which seats up to 8 people. The kitchen is one level down from the dining room, and is observable through a glass wall. The Chef's Table is on that lower level and separated from the kitchen by a glass wall.

Dinner started with an amuse bushe. My guest had squash soup and I had a tiny watermelon layered with a tiny slice of tomato.

Ileen started with a Local Heirloom Tomato Salad with a mosaic of watermelon, micro basil, and Spanish goat cheese. For her entree she chose West Coast Halibut with roasted eggplant-tomato fondue, white asparagus, new potato boulanere.

I opted to start with the Sweet Yellow Corn Veloute with a blue crab-corn beignet, followed by Crispy Skate Wing and Day Boat Scallops with green asparagus, potato confit, lettuce emulsion, fresh Summer truffles, cucumbers, and black radish.

All of the portions were just the right size, and the combination of tastes presented with each of the dishes was a treat.

For dessert I selected a Dark Chocolate Covered Cherry Bread Pudding with Amerena Cherry Ice cream.

There is a nice range of starters, entrees to suit all tastes, and a savory list of desserts.

There is also a six-course tasting menu.

The service has a nice energy and is very attentive.

Then there is the bread. A long while back, I wrote about my ophthalmologist, Dr. Mal Krinn, who had progressively given up ophthalmology to become a breadmaker. Eventually, he became the full-time breadmaker at 2941 in Falls Church (WW March '03).

Well, no surprise, Mal has moved with his son to INOX. The bread is as good, if not better, than ever. I tried the pumpernickel and the garlic bread. They continue to pass the most important test, great taste without any form of topping.

The men's room that I used is reached by going down two short sets of stairs and down a hall and around the corner. It is, of course, quite new and very large, given that it contains only a single white ceramic commode and a single metal wash basin in a stone like counter. The walls are covered in very large dark brown tiles; the ceiling painted a cream color. The floor is covered with large horizontal Italian tiles, each in various shades of brown. [There is another rest room on the same level as the dining room.]

The best thing about the restroom (and the women's room as well) is the hallway leading to them. There is a window about 10 feet long and 3 feet high that looks directly into the working kitchen. Give yourself a few moments to watch the various chefs, etc., as they prepare various courses.

The restaurant is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, with Sundays added on September 13th. It is also open for lunch Monday - Friday. The restaurant is available for breakfast events.

There is valet parking at the front door.

Getting to INOX is an easy shot out Highway 123. Mapquest has clear directions.

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