Great food in Old Town Alexandria

Vermillion is red, but not red hot. This quaint little Old Town spot has a lot going for it. Its popularity cannot be questioned, even POTUS dines here on special occasions. Chef Chittum does an exceptional job with several of the more complex dishes like the rockfish, the lobster tortellini, the jerusalem artichoke soup. He clearly understands flavors. Where he fell short on my recent visit was with the simplest seasoning…..salt. Oysters fried to perfection but lacking the very brine they grow in. Potatoes confit prepared so similarly to the Jaques Pepin Fondantes (minus the rosemary) I am so fond of, also lacking seasoning. And the triggerfish special, aka fluke, overly salted on my slightly burnt panko crust. What’s up with that?

Vermillion is noisy..no way around that with the bar in such close proximity to the dining room; I don’t mind that. I found the booths to be somewhat uncomfortable and very isolating; I do mind that. If a restaurant is noisy I love to be in on it. If you are trying to sell me on Valentine’s Day intimacy, keep the decibels down….

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