Alexandria Virginia is one of the nation’s richest historical towns. Skirted by the banks of the Potomac River, Alexandria beckons visitors from all over the world to experience the wealth of history, culture, and daily living this city has to offer. Alexandria is only a few miles from Washington DC, our nation’s capital, making it not only popular with tourists, but as a quiet haven for people traveling on business who wish to have a reprieve from DC.
One of the most popular sections of Alexandria is Old Town, the historical section of the city where plaques hang on houses built in the early years of our country. Two such locations are Captain’s Row and Gentry Row, on Prince Street where some of the oldest residences are, mostly Federal style homes “built by wealthy merchants and sea captains,” according to wikitravel.com.
Old Town is a “walking town” complete with tree lined streets, cobblestone walkways, hand-wrought iron steps, inlaid-bricks, gas street lamps, and blooming foliage throughout. Houses along the two rows were “owned by such prominent figures as William Fairfax, one of Alexandria’s founding trustees, and Dr. James Craik, surgeon-general during the American Revolution as well as George Washington’s personal physician,” according to wikitravel.com. Here you will find high-end boutiques, antique shops, theaters, nightlife, and a wide offering of restaurants. One local eatery, Overwood Restaurant, is a popular casual dining spot that is located in the heart of the district. The Overwood became our choice for a small group gathering.
The Overwood Restaurant is located in the original Crilley Warehouse in Old Town Alexandria, and is owned by Joe Corey and Bill McFadden. Parking in Old Town is a real challenge on busy weekend evenings. If you find a place to park, my advice is “take it”. Don’t wait trying to find something closer.
The night we arrived at Overwood, we had pre-arranged for a private party–17 total–reserving the side banquet room for $150 plus the cost of food. While the bar area is fairly loud, the other parts of the restaurant are quieter. The side banquet room is fully enclosed with the exception of the open arched doorway. This allows easy access to the room while maintaining privacy for a group. It is a long, narrow room with brick-lined walls, and tables set in one long row. The only downside-it made conversations somewhat difficult if you were seated near one of the ends.
The chef on duty was Boubker Errami, who designed a private custom menu for our group with five separate entrees, at an all-inclusive cost of $23 per person, including: Blackstrap Baby Back Ribs, Wood fired Beef/Pork/Veal Meatloaf, Skinny Chicken, Rami’s Vegetable Lasagna, and Salmon Salad.
I chose the lasagna entree and sampled the meatloaf. The lasagna maintained Overwood’s classic wood fired flavor, stuffed with grilled veggies, spinach, cheeses, and other delights nestled in with just enough pomodoro sauce to flavor the dish with a gentle tang.
The three-meat combo meatloaf surprised me with an unusually soft texture surrounded by a wood fired crust, and finished with pomodoro. I was uncertain on first bite if I would like the texture, but the flavor was delicately spiced and smoky and the complementary crusted texture on the outside won me over as I enjoyed the contrast.
The salad served with the meal was a well-balanced mix of field greens, tomato, carrot, red onion, with a surprising twist of date and Parisian feta cheese, all gently tossed in light vinaigrette.
The wait staff was well-trained and served each course with precision. They were professional and attentive throughout our meal. The assistant-manager, Sean Godfrey, checked in several times to see that everything was to our satisfaction.
My only disappointment with the staff was the lack of professionalism of the General Manager, Joe Chapman who made the process of making the reservation an unnecessary strain with a curt phone attitude, ignoring emails, not confirming the reservation, and sending incorrect contract figures. My recommendation for making reservations is to work with the assistant manager Sean Godfrey instead.
The overall experience at Overwood Restaurant gets 4.5 stars (only missing .5 stars due to the reservation debacle with Chapman). For casual dining, with an energetic atmosphere, and a mid-range price in Alexandria, I would recommend the Overwood Restaurant.
Our thanks to Sean, Chef Errami and staff for an enjoyable evening.
220 N Lee St
Alexandria, VA 22314
Personal review 9-11-2010