By the Gastronomes
“At Cedar Knoll, we aim to bring you innovative American cuisine, with elevated French influences, to complement the history and majesty of the views that surround you. Our menu features seasonal ingredients, sourced from local operations such as historic Piscataway Farm and Path Valley Farms collective. No matter what space you choose, you’re sure to have a spectacular waterfront view, and a meal made with finesse and heart.” – Chef Andrew Holden
Cedar Knoll – Well Worth the Short Drive
It has been almost 3 years since we have profiled this lovely destination dining spot and we thought it might be a good idea to revisit and give you all an update. It is still the perfect spot for a dining establishment. Its location is easily accessible via a pleasant drive down (or up depending on where you are coming from) the GW Parkway, it looks east over the Potomac River and is an absolutely fabulous spot for outdoor dining as the moon pops over the trees and something very important to many of you readers….it has plenty of FREE parking!
Cedar Knoll is also housed in a historical building. For those history buffs reading this, you might be interested in knowing that in 1760, George Washington purchased the property and dubbed it River Farm, the northernmost of the five farms that made up Washington’s 18th century estate. The building was originally opened in more modern times as the Mount Vernon View Antique Shop and was first operated as an inn and restaurant in 1941. One of the perks of dining here is that you may just be in the company of First Lady Martha Washington – the reenactor at Historic Mount Vernon that is – on any given evening.
There are three separate dining rooms at Cedar Knoll and each room has a very distinct feel. The Botanical Room is wrapped in windows and old scientific illustrations of plants and flowers adorn the walls – a great place for lunch or brunch. The
Presidential Room with lush curtains, dark wood gives the room a 19th century parlor feel and is the more formal of the two. Then there is the original part of the building, the Log Cabin, which has the most natural character, with logs and chinking, a huge stone fireplace, and our first president keeping watch over the room. This space is reserved for special occasions. And…don’t forget about the aforementioned patio where full service dining is available in addition to just Happy Hour cocktails and apps. Often live music and special events take place on the patio – weather permitting – as well. We have actually experienced dinners and events in all three indoor spaces and none of them disappoint. After entering the front door, the first difficult choice you have to make is which of these entirely different rooms fits your fancy. It was a beautiful evening for dining al fresco so we chose the patio to dine on this visit after a short stop at the small bar in the foyer for an adult beverage. It is an intimate space and you want to get there early if you intend to hang around for Happy Hour and have a seat available.
Cedar Knoll has a nice wine list and craft beer list that offers something for everyone. Our favorite thing about it is that it isn’t overwhelming and the price points are reasonable.
Another thing that sets Cedar Knoll apart from most dining establishments is their choice of dinner ware. They have collected several different patterns of vintage china – including the serving pieces – from various sources throughout the area. I always check the bottoms of my dinner ware to see if I recognize the source.
Enough about the atmosphere. Let’s get to the food. The menu has just the right amount of offerings in all categories. This is a good sign that the ingredients are indeed fresh and that items are prepared while you wait. We won’t go over everything that they offer since you can look at the full menu via any of the communication devices you may own. Just like every place one dines, there are dishes that stand out. After consuming every piece of house-made bread – including some of the best focaccia that I have had in ages – that is served with every meal, we picked an appetizer, two main courses and a dessert to highlight here. On a scale of 1-5, they all received 5 Stars from us both – the Rockfish may actually deserve 6! Our hope is that you will make the effort to check them out for yourselves.
There is a special brunch menu for Father’s Day as well as a prix fixe family-style dinner on June 16th! Do yourselves a big favor and put this restaurant on your list of summertime must dos!
Virginia Rockefeller – Local oysters, cointreau crème, VA country ham, herbed bread crumbs, aromatic salts. $14
Lobster and Scallop Risotto – Pan seared jumbo scallops, butter poached lobster, acquerrello risotto, lobster cream, English peas and truffled mushrooms. $39
Grilled Chesapeake Rockfish – Chesapeake Bay rockfish seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and crushed red peppers grilled and served over saffron acquerrello risotto with puttanesca sauce, charred lemon and grilled jumbo shrimp. $36
Blood Orange Meringue Tart – Shortflake crust with a blood orange custard, ginger crème anglaise, toasted meringue
Lunch: Thurs – Fri, 11-2pm (late April thru December only)
Happy Hour: Tues – Fri, 4–6:30pm
Dinner: Sun, Tues – Thurs, 5–9pm Fri – Sat, 5–9:30pm
Brunch: Sat – Sun, 11–2pm
We are located at 9030 Lucia Ln, Alexandria, Virginia 22308.
For reservations, call (703) 780-3665, cedarknollva.com