If you were to judge a restaurant based on the side dishes alone, Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington Village, Arlington would win hands down.
And then they’d win for concept, ambiance, and the rest of their farm to table menu. In short, our recent date night to Copperwood Tavern was an epic win.
Scott and I have long been obsessed with the farm to table fad which is sweeping the country. And you can say you heard it here – farm to table is here to stay. Capitalizing on locally sourced farm products and providing an alternative to mass and chemically engineered meat is increasingly fashionable if not downright healthy. Growing up in Western New York in a farm community, we love nothing more than seeing restaurants recognize the hard work put in my local farmers and producers.
Copperwood’s ambiance is perfectly suited to its concept – complete with dark, rustic wood tables and outdoorsy decor adorning the walls. I loved the details, all the way down to the mason jar water glasses. Spot on. The dining room was entirely open, however the darker colors and rustic charm lent themselves well in creating an intimate atmosphere perfect for conversation and date-night charm.
We began our mail with two of their signature cocktails; Scott ordered the Bacon Rebellion (Wild Turkey 101, house-made maple-orange syrup, aromatic bitters, bacon – yes, BACON) and I had the Bourbon Thief, a similar taste to a classic whiskey sour. Scott has been dabbling in mixology lately and while I have become a harsher critic in favor of his concoctions, Copperwood delivered a well-made cocktail. If you are a fan of warm drinks, they have those too. Try the Bourbon warmer – Scott said it was filling but delicious.
Our server, Roger, was top-notch, and we fed off all of his recommendations as well as those we queried on Twitter. For starters, we ordered the Short Ribs (root beer braised short ribs over parsnip and garlic confit puree) and the Bison Meatballs (seasoned ground bison with huckleberry gravy). All I can say about the appetizers is perfectly summed up in Scott’s tweet that night:
Short ribs at @CopperwoodTav are jump on the table swing from the rafters good! Must order!
— Scott & Al (@DCMinute) February 17, 2015
We were torn between all of the entree options, but Scott took the server’s suggestion and ordered the pecan crusted Trout Filet, while I sampled the Red Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. I added the most delicious sliced chicken to the top (again, suggested by our faithful server) and it was easily the entree winner. Next time, we both would like to order a larger cut of meat (the appetizers already had us stuffed) and perhaps try the Bison Strip Steak or the Grass Fed Ribeye.
Honestly, the proof was in the
pudding side dishes. Rarely do we order sides with our meal unless they are specifically recommended to us. However, we had an onslaught of suggestions for the Fried Brussel Sprouts (with crispy shallots, bacon and maple-mustard vinaigrette) and the Truffle Mac & Cheese. Oh. My. Lord. The last time I fell in love with a dish that hard was when I was introduced to guacamole in 2005 – and you all know how that went. If my Instagram feed turns instantly to all pics of brussel sprouts, you know who is to blame…
For dessert, it was a unanimous decision to try the Stout Brownies with Nutella Ice Cream. Sinful and decadent without being overbearing. Though Scott isn’t much of a nut-fan, the nuts baked into the brownies did not deter him in the slightest.
And in case you are questioning the authenticity of the rest of our post – let me sum it up with this:
We never take food home. First of all, we usually are pretty good at only ordering what we know we can finish. But secondly, leftovers usually end up moldy in the back of our refrigerator before we remember them. I’m happy to report these leftovers didn’t last a single day in the fridge.
Copperwood Tavern is definitely on par with some of our favorite DC restaurants, and we are already talking about heading back in to explore the rest of the menu. However, if we had to have just one more bite, we’d easily take a stab at the brussel sprouts or the short ribs and die a happy, happy couple.