Old House Cosmopolitan Grill – A Taste of Germany In Old Town!

By the Gastronomes

Old House Cosmopolitan Grill – A Taste of Germany In Old Town!

When we started the Old Town Crier in 1988 our first office was in the 100 block of North Henry Street. On the east corner of North Henry and Cameron Street a small restaurant opened called Pasta Peasant that was one of our regular “hang outs”. There have been a few other restaurants in that location over the years and today the new incarnation is the Old House Cosmopolitan Grill. Chef and owner Ivica Svalina has done an excellent job of creating a very welcoming eatery. The warm and cozy atmosphere in the dining room, the open kitchen, and the comfortable bar on the lower level are very welcoming. There is also a second floor that opens up to more dining, a nice room for meetings and a nice patio deck above the bar for alfresco dining or just enjoying happy hour.

Chef Ivica, or Ivan as he likes to be called, has owned the successful Cosmopolitan Grill at 7770 Richmond Highway for 15 years and decided to extend his reach to Old Town three months ago. The price was right so he purchased the building and began the makeover. The dining room is a combination of dark brown ceiling with a rustic burgundy exposed brick wall, dark tables and chairs with a tan colored bench seat that runs the length of the wall. The bar area is in the back of the building so as not to disturb those who appreciate dining in a quiet atmosphere. It is small but it is fully stocked and there is a large high definition television for your watching pleasure. This is the only TV in the building and we like that. We were informed that they serve Happy Hour weekdays from 3:30 – 6:30 in the entire restaurant – this includes the second floor deck. Most places limit it to the bar. There are beer, wine and appetizer specials. We are definitely checking that out in the very near future!

Between the bar and the dining room is the open kitchen where everything is made fresh every day. “I drive to the Pennsylvania Amish country for naturally raised meats, eggs and other fresh ingredients. All of our produce is purchased daily from various places – the only thing in the freezer here is ice cream! Sometimes I go to a store for only one thing. It takes up a lot of time, but it insures all my ingredients, and therefore all my cooking is fresh,” Chef tells us. Like they say, the proof is in the pudding. The samplings of the food that we had was incredibly fresh – especially the garden salad…every bite was a loud crunch!

The menu is predominantly German and Bavarian with some American dishes added for diversity. I have to confess that I am not a connoisseur of these food types but my partner seemed to know what she was doing. It helps that she is ¼ German I guess.  We started off with a cup of the Goulash Soup, a hearty paprika and tomato-based beef stew. This was delicious! A thick base with fresh tomatoes and chunks of tender beef and vegetables comprises this fantastic soup. When the weather turns cool this will be my go-to soup to ward off the chill and satisfy my hunger.

Next, we tried the Wiener Schnitzel, a tenderized veal cutlet that is lightly breaded and pan fried tp perfection. They also have a pork and chicken version that I imagine are just as tasty. The veal was very tender – don’t forget to squeeze the lemon on top of it to bring out the flavor and add a bit of moisture. On my next trip I will try the schnitzel with a mushroom sauce and my partner is going to check out the brats and kraut.  In addition, we had Kase Spaetzle, a homemade German pasta sautéed with cream and cheese. Basically, the German version of mac and cheese. It was brought to the table with the aforementioned mixed salad. We also tried Spinach Spaetzle, a homemade German spinach pasta sautéed with creamy mushroom sauce, ham and onion. Both dishes were hearty and complimented the veal nicely. There is a lot of food in what we just described and we were sharing so….bring a hearty appetite or let them send you home with a to-go box or two. We chose option B and had our leftovers packed up while we ended our experience with a piece of FANTASTIC torte – see the accompanying photo. A picture is worth a thousand words. All desserts are made in house as is the bread. Like the soup, the torte will be something we order again. We started off with a winner and ended with a winner, that’s for sure.

Of the many, many, many places we have dined over the years, Old House is one of the top 5. The hospitality in this restaurant trumps the excellence of the food – if you can imagine that! Treat yourself to a little bit of Deutschland cuisine this month!

Old House Cosmopolitan Grill

1024 Cameron Street

Old Town Alexandria

703-717-9361

Authors Note: We chose not to expound on the menu since you can let your fingers do the tapping and check it out online. This is a mid-price range establishment and they have daily specials as well as a good lunchtime menu with offerings under $15. We wanted to save space for the photos!

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