It was a truly delightful evening at Market Table Bistro one night this last week in the little rural town of Lovettsville. This town has become one of our favorite destinations, just two miles south of the Potomac River. Lovettsville, originally settled by German immigrants in the 1730s, has become a thriving small community with award-winning farm-to-table restaurants (Market Table Bistro & The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm), a micro-brewery (Mad Horse Brewery), a winery (Hiddencroft Vineyards), a coffee roasting company (Catoctin Coffee Company) and an upcoming community-owned grocery store (The Lovettsville Cooperative Market) bringing high-quality, fresh produce to its residents. This town has been Loudoun County's best kept secret!
The Chef/Owner of Market Table Bistro, Jason Lage, is a strong supporter and advocate of the farm to table concept. His commitment is reflected in his ever-changing menu, highlighting seasonal and local ingredients from numerous purveyors in the area. Jason has served as executive chef in some of the finest dining restaurants, luxury resorts, inns and hotels throughout the D.C. metropolitan area. He was also the James Beard House featured chef for three consecutive years and has spent time in Europe studying and working at Michel Bras in Laguiole, France as well as Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, both being Michelin 3 Star restaurants.
The restaurant is located on the main strip in Lovettsville, and the interior very much reminds us of Southern France. The dining room, inspired by a boulangerie in France, is elegant yet relaxing and is painted in blue tones and accented with white trim on the walls and earthy tiles across the floor. The dining area leads to an open counter by the kitchen where coffee and espresso are prepared. The decor very much reflects Lage's "keep it simple" approach to cuisine and helps deliver the exquisite food in a completely comfortable and casual atmosphere, which is only reinforced by the very friendly and warm service.
Our meal started with one of their snacks/sharing courses, the Deviled Eggs. The eggs were delicious with a smooth yolk mixture that had a little hint of Wasabi and were artfully presented with radishes, sage spices and chive blossoms. The colors blended beautifully, and each ingredient's natural flavors shined through, capturing the tastes of early summer. It was a nice treat to begin the meal!
Next, we ordered their Salad of Bibb Lettuce and the Chilled Crab Salad. The Bibb Lettuce was served with house smoked bacon, which reminded us of lardon in France, and MayTag Blue Cheese from Pennsylvania. The Crab Salad was beautifully presented with perfectly ripe avocado and topped with tasty crab pieces. It was very self-evident that the flavors within each dish were thoughtfully chosen and put together in exacting quantities to blend harmoniously.
For our main dish, we went with the Halibut with Spring Onions and the Pork Tenderloin. The halibut was served with new potatoes, onion confit and ramp salsa verde. The halibut was crispy on the outside yet delicately soft and light on the inside, blending perfectly with the new potatoes and delicious spring onions. The pork was served with house smoked bacon on top of yellow corn grits and wilted spring greens with pickled fennel. The pork tenderloin was truly tender and the flavors from the grits and greens simply made it all exquisite. They were simply, and quite honestly, the best greens we've ever tasted. To pair with our meal, we chose two of their local wines, which can be ordered by the glass or bottle, Notaviva Vincer Viognier and the North Gate Cabernet Franc, each complimented the dishes nicely.
To finish our meal, we tried the Toffee Crunch Bread Pudding and the Cheese Board accompanied by coffee from Catoctin Coffee Company. The bread pudding was served with a delicious coffee Crème Anglaise and was not too sweet, which is always a big plus for us. That evening's cheese selections were Baby Caciotta from Texas, Le Moulis from France and goat Coupole from Vermont, all presented on a gorgeous custom finished hardwood plank that was one of many pieces rescued from an old farm barn.
Each dish was composed of seasonal items from local farmers, which mostly consisted of fresh herbs, Radishes and Petite Greens placed delicately throughout each plate to enhance the natural flavors. Delicate pea tendrils from Quarter Branch Farm in Lovettsville were a recurring theme of the evening, and it was amazing tasting how they could go with so many different dishes and enhance the flavors in so many different ways. Chef Lage said that in about two weeks they would be in full local farm to table swing, featuring even more local ingredients.
Each plate was carefully executed cuisine, and each was a masterpiece of art and taste in its own right and truly exemplified why Market Table Bistro was named one of the top 50 Best Restaurants by Northern Virginia Magazine. This was one of the best meals we've ever had, ranking close to The Fearrington House Restaurant in North Carolina and Georges Blanc's Château d’Epeyssoles in France. -- We are already planning our return.-- In short, true to it's name, it was simply amazing, market fresh food in a comfortable and relaxing bistro environment, the stuff that makes you want to go back over and over again to relive the culinary magic that the chef creates for you.