Cozy Up To The Winter Menu At DC's Earl's Kitchen + Bar

Earl's Kitchen + Bar feels welcoming and familiar the moment you sidle up to the bar or get cozy in a booth. Its recently released winter menu of hearty dishes gives the same cozy feeling, perfect during a long, cold winter. Next time you are in Tysons Corner, Virginia, try the menu with its selection of juicy steaks and burgers, fresh seafood, savory sides, quick bites, and fantastic cocktails. No matter what you crave, there is something for everyone to enjoy until spring arrives.

To start, order one of Earl's smashing cocktails. We're partial to the Marilyn Monroe, made with passion fruit cordial, fresh lime juice, Smirnoff vanilla vodka, and prosecco. It's a refreshing pick-me-up after a long day at work. The bright notes of acidity from the lime juice and tangy sweet tropical notes of ripe passion fruit linger on your palate. With its tropical vibe, the Marilyn Monroe makes me daydream about sunny beaches dotted with tiki bars serving seductive drinks that banish thoughts of winter. Order the spicy Korean hot wings while you unwind. The wings' sesame-infused flavors go perfectly with the Marilyn Monroe's tropical flavors.

Next, dive into Earl's winter menu and begin the meal with my favorite dish: the warm kale salad made with black kale, baby potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberries, and toasted almonds tossed in brown butter vinaigrette and topped with grilled chicken. The almonds, green leafy kale, and tart cranberries combine to create layers of flavor, texture, and color with enough protein, fiber, and nutrients to make a meal out of one serving. But don't. Share with a friend so you can try other dishes on the menu — especially the beef dishes.

When the restaurant was started 30 years ago by Leroy Earl Fuller and his son, Stanley Earl Fuller, both men dreamed of opening a casual burger and beer joint that emphasized fun, good service, and quality beef. Over the years, the menu has expanded to include a variety of food and ingredients influenced by other cultures and cuisines, but beef is what's for dinner at Earl's.

The restaurant never skimps on the quality of the beef it serves, and the chefs live by the company credo, "It doesn't just feel good to do the right thing — it tastes good, too." That's why Earl's only serves 100-percent certified humane Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef that is completely free of antibiotics, steroids, or added hormones. Aged for a minimum of 35 days, you can taste the flavor in every bite of the famous burgers, ribs, and steaks.

If you love burgers, the big, juicy, seven-ounce Bigger Better Burger is a staple you shouldn't miss. It's cooked on a flat-top stove, so the outside gets crisp and the inside stays moist and juicy, and then it's placed on a freshly baked brioche bun with a classic garnish of sliced vine ripened tomatoes, onions, lettuce, dill pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. My choice for a side: irresistibly decadent truffle fries made with Yukon gold potatoes. It took an enormous amount of self-restraint to resist the urge to devour the entire plate the minute the fries were placed on the table.

Other beef standouts include Leroy's crispy ribs; the aromatic chimichurri skirt steak marinated in tamarind, cumin, garlic, coriander, and smoky poblano chimichurri sauce; and the rib-eye and sirloin steaks served with sautéed mushrooms.

Although beef is popular, there are still vegan, seafood, and other options to consider, too. If you want to increase your daily intake of omega-9, consider the fresh Atlantic salmon, baked and served with capers and dill aïoli. The elegant dish pairs naturally with the warm kale salad. And don't be afraid to share some dishes, create samplers, or order a variety of snacks to create a small plate meal. The Baja fish tacos paired with the pork carnitas tacos are perfect for two people to share and go perfectly with a cold local brew.

If even after all this you are still able to contemplate dessert, order the Gold Digger sundae made with Italian chocolate and vanilla ice cream topped with hot toffee and spiced candied pecans. Just remember to bring your appetite with you when you go to Earl's; the folks at this family-owned business feeds you like a member of the family with big smiles and even bigger portions. It's why people go back again and again.