By Nancy Dunham
It's great to dine out during the holiday season, but you want to find the locals' favorites when you're traveling. Otherwise, you may find you've waited in long lines only to encounter surly wait staff and mediocre food.
Bistro L'Hermitage is the ideal answer. Run by long-time Washington, D.C. restaurateur Youssef Eagle Essald, the Woodbridge, Virginia restaurant is one of the finest French restaurants in the area.
It truly looks the part, too, with gleaming wood and plentiful windows covered with casually elegant curtains. The wood tables and chairs are large enough for comfort but not so oversized you feel as if you can't have an intimate conversation.
We've all been to lovely restaurants that have mediocre or poor food. Happily, such is not the case at this restaurant.
On a recent visit I found my entrée - sautéed Red Snapper with champagne risotto – fresher and tastier than comparable meals I've had in Annapolis or even Maine. A look and taste of my dinner mates' entrees showed that the other meals – sautéed veal liver with potato puree and roasted duck breast with braised red cabbage – were equally delicious and beautifully presented.
Another highlight is the warm and gracious manner of the staff. Although the restaurant was very busy the evening we visited, the staff was very welcoming and responsive to any requests we made.
There's no need to drive into Washington, D.C. for a fine French meal thanks to Bistro L'Hermitage.
Details: Bistro L'Hermitage
12724 Occoquan Road