Dining: Creating a ‘Hit Menu’ in Vienna

Dining: Creating a ‘Hit Menu’ in Vienna

Review: Blend 111 Food and Wine Bar, Vienna.

A new dining star in  Vienna—Blend 111 Food and Wine Bar, located at 111 Church Street.

A new dining star in Vienna—Blend 111 Food and Wine Bar, located at 111 Church Street. Photo contributed

As locals must know, the town of Vienna has become a serious dining destination. Just about every ethnic and local taste, menu, and yummy goodies have popped up in this now restaurant-dense area. Want Greek, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, American, or Vietnamese, plus so much more? Come on over to this snappy town!

Now, a new dining star has hit the streets of Vienna—Blend 111 Food and Wine Bar, located at 111 Church Street.

Blend? You may wonder. What’s going on? According to founder Michael Biddick, one of the owners of this non-chain destination, “We really wanted to create a restaurant in Vienna that offers high-quality food, wine and coffee,” he said. “We wanted sustainability, and a responsible way to dispose of waste. We tested out some of our theories, and were supported by the community.” (Note: Biddick is both sommelier and head coffee roaster at Blend 111, tasks he must surely enjoy.)

Since its soft opening in May, he said, the owners and chef have revamped the menu. “The original menu,” he said, “was somewhat exotic with duck and quail dishes, and others that people might not try again. These were not approachable. The new menu has been a hit.”

That is thanks to the culinary skills of the head chef, Nicolas Terrassin, a native of France who admits this: “I love to cook.” He went to one culinary school for several years in the Loire Valley, and also worked in a French catering company before moving to Canada and then to the United States. After moving to D.C., Terrassin worked in a local restaurant and realized, “I can do much more than make salads.”

And that he does. He has created a menu that pairs Venezuelan, French, and Spanish flavors. As he said, “I talk to the owner, and we talk about the wine and the wine pairings. He puts out the best wine.” And, Terrassin said he can change the menu often and feature seasonal dishes. “I talk with fish markets, for example, and can make a nice halibut dish with a lemon-caper wine sauce.” ( Note: As Biddick said, Terrassin has a platform here and he has freedom. “It is a good collaboration.”)

Lunch and dinner menus have similar offerings, and if you spot tequeños, an offering of cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and baked, be sure to order at least one, if not two, servings. These come crispy hot with a dipping sauce, and are sublimely delicious. Another creation is the unusual Venezuelan pabellon criollo that is a carefully stacked composition of shredded beef, with rice, black beans, and accompanied by pieces of hot plantains. And another stunner: sautéed garlic shrimp served with house-made fresh pasta and flambeed with cognac.

Listed on the luncheon “main plates,” the flaxseed arepas (cornmeal flatbread) filled either with shredded beef or shrimp, baked, and served with sliced avocado and cheese are sensational.

Don’t skip desserts, created by pastry chef Marion Lancial. Choices are minimal, but the arroz con leche (rice pudding) and the creamy, ultra-rich mousse au chocolat wrap up your meal with brilliance. Eat often, eat well. Enjoy!

Blend 111, 111 Church St., Vienna, 571-363-3613. Hours: Tues., 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Wed., 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Thurs., Fri., 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat., 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sun., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.