Long-loved local restauranteurs are doing everything conceivable to respect social distancing guidelines and safety protocols so that they can continue to welcome guests and allow them to feel confident about dining – especially outdoors. Their creativity has been unleashed. Their imaginations are on fire.
Peggy James, Executive Director of the Vienna Business Association (and the Greater Merrifield Business Association) expresses the sincere thanks we all feel. “The VBA is so grateful to the Vienna restaurants who have worked so tirelessly to bring us amazing and safe outside dining areas in addition to the wonderful curbside and food delivery options. The extra effort and investment it takes to create these outside dining experiences is staggering, but is such a lovely retreat (and treat!) from an otherwise COVID isolation lockdown at home.”
It is touching to behold to this mutual respect, but also the unwavering support of the community. Tireless advocate Lydia Russo and her Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group have also been such a tremendous help in keeping the Greater Vienna eateries afloat during these challenging times. The community has really rallied around the restaurants. With over 7,500 members, the Foodies have “created a huge buzz around all of the restaurants and have helped keep many of them in business with their reviews, pictures, and calls to action to support!”
The restaurants have been here for us the whole time. It is our turn to return the favor. It is time to support our favorite neighborhood venues now more than ever. They appreciate it more than you will ever know. We will get through this—together.
L’Auberge Chez François & Jacques’ Brasserie—Keeper of Memories
Set on six acres of the bucolic Great Falls countryside, L’Auberge Chez François and Jacques’ Brasserie offer room to roam—and plenty of space for social distancing. Chef Jacques Haeringer’s raison d’être is to share his love of good food and wine. This is still the place to celebrate the moments of your life.
Service de Serre—Greenhouse Dining
Innovation abounds. Opt to dine in a serre—one of the new individual or group greenhouses. Comfortably shielded from the elements, it was nice and cozy to dine in style with my Wolf Trap blanket on my lap.
“Jacques’ is hands-down my favorite place in Great Falls, and they have done an amazing job pivoting during these challenging times without sacrificing their incredible food and top-notch service. It was quite an experience dining al fresco in the ‘serre’ right next to the lovely garden where they source many of their ingredients. If anything, their new set-up makes you feel even more like you’ve been transported to the Alsatian countryside,” notes longtime resident, local Bic de Caro & Associates realtor, and active member of the Great Falls community Kristin Leinberger Dailey.
“I send half our clients here. Having this in our own backyard is one of the reasons that makes people want to call Great Falls home. Jacques has hosted many a Great Falls Friends & Neighbors event here.”
Right out of the gate, start with a skillfully crafted cocktail. Dans L’Avenue (On the Avenue) presents Catoctin Creek Rye Whiskey, cherry liqueur, and Averna. La Feuille d’Érable (Maple Leaf) features Maker’s Mark Bourbon, thyme, maple syrup, and lemon.
The house apéritif, L’Apéritif du Patron, combines Crémant d’Alsace, Framboise, and Chambord punctuated by a raspberry in that authentic green-stemmed Alsatian glass, and pairs nicely with their exquisite raspberry soufflé, providing an excellent reminder to order this hot-from-the-oven work of art in advance. The Grand Marnier version is also impressive. And with chocolate and hazelnut also on the agenda, it makes for a sumptuous finale any way you go.
Stand-out starters include chilled coquille of seafood (shrimp, crabmeat, lobster, scallops, and salmon with a garden herb remoulade sauce,) escargots de Bourgogne, and a crêpe stuffed with a duxelle of wild mushrooms with a tomato concassé in Madeira sauce.
A house delicacy is braised wagyu beef cheeks with wild mushrooms, sherry wine sauce served in a darling little stoneware cocotte. Specials include veal Cordon Bleu with Gruyère cheese and garden spinach with a mushroom sauce—a fall take on their usual veal scallopini with Virginia ham, crabmeat, mushrooms, and cream sauce. And the rainbow trout filets are a perennial favorite—the perfect light and delicious go-to year-round.
In addition to Chef Jacques, this polished team includes Director of Wine Operations, brother Paul Haeringer, Brasserie Manager Danny Guevara with his dignified yet warm bearing, and the effervescent and welcoming Director of Marketing Carol Huebner.
This country inn is as garden-to-table as it gets, as greens are picked for the evening meal. During my stroll around the gardens, I had a chance to chat with gardener Edwin, who tipped me off that you can use green tomatoes or tomatillos for green salsa as he was harvesting the last of the season in the setting autumn sun.
L’Auberge Chez François Wine Fest Chez Vous (Wine Fest To Go)
The L’Auberge Chez François Wine Fest Chez Vous for two or four include sommelier-selected red and white wines from their award-winning cellar, house-made pâté and famous Alsatian Bibelskais, artisanal cheeses, and multi-grain rolls.
Now also available is Jacques’ Brasserie Chez Vous with same zero-contact pickup, so that you may enjoy all your favorites at home. Call in orders by phone or order online. Then just pick up curbside in the parking lot. Coming up, look for Thanksgiving Chez Vous in addition to the gracious dining room service inside, recently returning at 45% capacity. Bon appétit!
Alsatian Oktoberfest Experience
On Sunday, October 4, 2020, L’Auberge Chez François celebrated their very first Alsatian Oktoberfest on the charming garden terrace under the covered Grande Tente with its café bistro lighting. Chef Jacques’ traditional six-course menu featured classics from their French-Alsatian heritage, Papa’s homeland, bordering Germany.
The festivities included Oktoberfest accordion music and awards for those dressed in their finest Lederhosen and dirndls. Libations included Alsatian white wine, and their own Papa’s Pilsner Beer and RhinO’fest Märzen-style Octoberfest Lager, crafted by Lost Rhino Brewery. Appetizers included Papa’s Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée and Chef Jacques’ savory Alsatian Tarte Flambée with caramelized onions and applewood-smoked bacon.
Entreé choices presented two versions of Choucroute—traditional Alsatian Sauerkraut, one with bratwurst and duck confit; the other with halibut, salmon and trout – or Beef Bourguignon in a Cabernet wine sauce. And top it off with a honey-glazed apple tarte with Tahitian vanilla ice cream.
Whatever the occasion, this treasured establishment, marking milestones for the last 44 years, is the keeper of memories for many. Maybe it’s time to make your own.
L’Auberge Chez François & Jacques’ Brasserie
332 Springvale Road
Great Falls, Virginia 22066