Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jasmine Café - Lake Anne in Reston, VA

Reston Virginia, a little gem of a non-town smack dab between Herndon and Vienna. It is a place I am happy to call home. There are two major centers of note in Reston, the Town Center, and Lake Anne Plaza (The ORIGINAL center). These 2 centers are, for the most part, polar opposites. Reston Town Center is all about what is trendy. There are chain restaurants (Some good, do not get me wrong), and chain stores. It is what most on NOVA has become. I enjoy RTC, but in usual form, I like the unusual best.

I am a monster fan of the local restaurant. A dying breed in this area where you can find anything you want, as long as it is a chain. Lake Anne Plaza seems to be one of the last strongholds of the unique and local. Many small restaurants call this locale home, the one of my focus today is Jasmine Café.

Like all the restaurants in LAP, it is small and charming. It is amazing to go at night when a lovely peace falls over the lake, even though there are people around, it is more a pleasant hum than a roar. Most places today make real conversation something you have to really work for as the hoards and loud music overtake the experience. That is not the case with Jasmine, she is a warm and inviting host. I have met the single owner of this diamond, Eduardo Faubert, and he, like Jasmine and the food prepared within, was delicious and non pretentious.

Many small gourmet places are puffed up with their feelings of importance. To be truly important, you must produce the goods to back your claim. They do that here at the Jasmine Café. The menu is ever changing. Usually printed on a simple piece of paper, they stick with what is seasonal and at its peak of freshness.

On my recent trip, I was feeling more in a beef mood. I was awfully tempted by the Pan roasted rockfish with a balsamic vinegar reduction, spring vegetables, & fingerling potatoes. I ended up getting the Pan-seared Tenderloin of Beef with a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce, seasonal vegetables and scalloped potatoes. More on this in one moment. I cannot skip the starter.

The current menu was so packed with the promise of deliciousness, that I could not deny myself a bowl of the Sweet Potato Chipotle soup, nor the sauteed cornmeal crusted Chicken Livers with Prune Sauce and Garlic Crouton. The idea of a prune sauce may seem odd, but was a perfect balance of sweet to the saltiness (not too much) of the livers. The chicken livers were expertly executed. Not overcooked not under cooked. The cornmeal was a very light layer lending it a slight crisp and nutty flavor. This was a superb beginning.
The sweet potato soup was creamy and zesty with a touch of sweetness. A small, oh so small pinch of salt would have made this voluptuous soup pure desire in a bowl.

Now I meander back to my entree. As stated, I was torn as to whether I should indulge in the fish or beef. I was so torn, I begged our server to help me make up my mind, but even she seemed indecisive as to which she would "classify" as better. What finally made me decide was the fact that I was having medical tests done the next day that would not allow me to eat until supper. I decided heavier dinner might be the better pick for this evening.

Filet is not always the popular choice of of cut amongst chef's who follow trends. Everyone has an opinion. Right now, popular opinion is not loving this cut of beef. I for one still enjoy the delicate flavor and juicy texture. The medium rare filet and rich Gorgonzola cream sauce was a heady combination to say the least. The sauce I could simply eat with a spoon. The full flavor of the cheese was represented. This was not a run of the mill homogenized creme sauce, but one skillfully made by hand. The Gorgonzola was front and center, but managed to not over take the graceful flavor of the filet.

The same praise can be awarded the side dishes. The scalloped potatoes were creamy on the inside with a light touch of onion, and crispy on the outside.

After all that richness, I could not resist sharing the Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake (with melted chocolate center drizzled with vanilla and strawberry sauces and fresh strawberries) with my husband. The title pretty much sums up this hedonistic treasure. I highly recommend that when you are done, and the luscious pool of melted chocolate lay on your plate, make those fresh strawberries earn their keep and sop up all that chocolate for the perfect finish.

Contact Information:

1633 Washington Plz # A
Reston, VA 20190
703-471-9114 (Currently not working)

Jasmine Cafe on Urbanspoon

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