Set on the corner of Garfield Street and Clarendon Blvd., the newly-opened Restaurant 3 brings a new fine dining experience to Clarendon.
Owners Greg Cahill, known for the Arlington landmarkWhitlow’s on Wilson, and Jonathan Williams, the longtime general manager of Whitlow’s, are no strangers to the restaurant business. Restaurant 3 is their third dining establishment — hence the name — and here the bar is raised. It is a welcoming and elegant eatery. It could be at home in D.C. just as easily as in Clarendon.
The menu offers American cuisine with some interesting variations. A seven-grain Asiago bread arrived at the table accompanied by butter and olive tapenade. The bread has just a hint of cheese and the flavor is mild. The Bleu Cheese Chips ($9) are fried to a deep gold. Each bite is crispy and covered with smooth cheese that accented rather than drowned.
The Duck Breast ($19) with sweet potato hash and fruit gastrique was cooked as ordered, with a nice pink center. The meat itself was tender and flavorful. Unfortunetly the hash seemed too dry and devoid of fruit, not doing much to enhance the delicious breast.
It was exciting to see some vegetarian options on the menu. The Vegetarian Croquettes ($15) with cream leeks and roasted mushrooms had a nice peppery kick. They could have used a little less bread and a little more sauce, but were delicately fried and not greasy.
The sides to share included Three Potato Mashed, Asiago grits, fontina spinach, Hoppin' John and grilled asparagus ($6). Three Potato Mashed was creamy and thick, with the skins added a bit of color and texture. The Asiago grits, were a little too heavy on the Asiago, but were cooked well.
To finish the meal, Coffee and Doughnuts ($6) described as malasada style doughnuts with a chocolate coffee sauce, was reminisent of the small doughnuts at Bebo. The doughnuts were smaller, about the size of a large marble. They were golden little nuggets sprinkled with a nice hint of cinnamon. The Caramel Apple Shortcake ($6), with brown sugar marinated apples on top of a toasted cornmeal pound cake with maple whipped cream, was interesting. The apples were very sweet and the pound cake a little thin and dry. The portion was large and the apples were tender, without getting mushy.
As for the decor, each room emits its own vibe. The Clarendon Room is warmed by a stone fireplace and reveals a rustic design. The high wooden ceilings are honey colored, accented by cream arches and butter colored walls. One side of the room on the perimeter of the restaurant is glass, allowing a nice view of the Garfield patio and the street. Ceiling fans keep the warm air moving gently overhead.
The restaurant has an elegant, but casual feeling and is lovely and welcoming. I’m looking forward to the summer, when diners can linger outside with a cocktail on the Garfield Street patio. From where I was sitting, it looked inviting, but on this winter night I was glad to be inside, close to the warm, burning fire.
2950 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington VA 22201
Fax 703 524-4417
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.