Star restauranteurs in our local culinary constellations have emerged with innovative approaches to make dining enjoyable and accessible to us all. Delicious, engaging, and safe. Chef-owner Jon Krinn of Clarity, Vienna’s own upscale American dining spot, turned on the proverbial dime and proved he was up to the task, first by converting the outdoor parking lot into drive-up tailgate tented dining in alternate parking spaces. And when tenants in the building vacated the private offices upstairs, he cleverly converted them into intimate and secure dining pods.
In fact, others in the community look to his expertise for solutions. A recent round-table discussion, Restaurants: Winterizing your Outside Business Area, featured Jon as moderator. His outlook is that challenges are opportunities. He applied his inspiration toward diversification. For one, Clarity now features comfort food in addition to its more typically discerning fare. And his foodie fans followed. Lydia Russo of the Vienna VA Foodies reveals, “I used to have to go to Texas for good brisket. Now I just go down the street.”
“I’m extremely grateful that I have a clientele that is up for trying all my ideas, whether it be tasting menus, barbeque, oysters, or cigars. This year I feel like I have opened at least 10 new restaurants—all under the same roof. I’m always hoping my hunches align with what people are looking for at a particular time or mood,” shares Jon in all sincerity.
And follow him they do. Clarity aficionado and frequent return visitor Shellie Kurek Peters of Oakton is always game for an adventure. She enthusiastically attests, “Without fail, every time I have eaten at Clarity I have had a wonderful experience. The food is always creative, the wine and bourbon (oh my!) are exquisite and Jon makes sure to make everyone feel like they are an old friend who has come to visit.”
Takeout is available as well. Jon posts each night’s menu at 5:15 pm on www.clarityvienna.com (click food and drink tab). Text your order to 703-539-8400, allow 45 minutes for preparation, and pay when you arrive.
Jon Krinn has always been passionate about his craft. Indeed, recently he has further expanded his realm to explore the world of spirits—and introduce it to us in an exquisitely synthesized tasting menu.
On September 23, he presented Let Me Proof it to You” An Exploration of Whiskeys of varying proofs, 90-125, featuring bourbon picks you can’t buy at stores—including some of his own barrel picks—paired neat with light and flavor-intense umami-rich grill and barbeque plates. These bourbon, scotch, and whiskey selections—including Jon’s Wilderness Trail Clarity Barrel Pick Rye, Rabbit Hole Derringer in Px Casks, his Driftless Glen Clarity Barrel Pick Rye, and Glenlivet Nadurra Scotch—represent spirits made extremely well at their respective proof. “In a cocktail, the base spirit makes a huge difference.”
While exploring the multifaceted nature of wine may have appeared on our radar for some time now, we may not have been aware of all the elements to consider when selecting a whiskey—color, char, flavor—and the nuances they reveal. Certainly eye-opening for me. And it’s always fun to discover something new with friends.
Courses of seared Carolina wild albacore tuna topped with a savory brisket jerky, and the decadently flavorful Brazilian prawn Rockefeller reflected the nuances of the spirits. An inventive final touch was the Make Your Own S’mores over the wood fire, paired with Rua Single Malt Whiskey from the Great Wagon Road Distilling Company.
The center of gravity is the open kitchen—so they relocated it outdoors beside the covered patio, complete with a smoker and Argentine-style grill, where diners can see their dinner being prepared before their very eyes. The result is a really cool vibe. Vienna Foodie Lydia Russo, herself a star supporter of all things culinary in Vienna, describes the blissful dining experience at Clarity. “An escape— a time of happiness, calm, and delight.”
“You only live once. You might as well do it right,” Jon reminds us. And part of doing it right is giving back to this tight-knit community, taking care of our hometown heroes by making and delivering his father’s famous focaccia pizza to medical workers and firefighters at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.
As we head into fall, envision being bundled up under a blanket around a fire pit to partake and imbibe. Jon expresses it most succinctly. “Dress appropriately and keep supporting everybody.”
We’ll all get through this—together. Thanks, Jon Krinn of Clarity, for making it a little easier—and much more delicious—for everyone.
442 Maple Ave E
Vienna, VA 22180