Cutting-Edge Family Meals at Red’s Table in Virginia

Executive chef Adam Stein thinks outside the box for his hearty American fare

The view from the Red's Table patio is nearly (nearly!) as good as the food.

Located in the heart of suburban Virginia, the family-friendly American eatery Red’s Table scores big with its fans. Overlooking one of Reston’s lakes with views of nearby townhomes, docks, and small motorboats, Red’s is a family-owned restaurant that has cleverly tapped into the palates of the community. How? By drawing upon the culinary wisdom of chef Adam Stein.

Stein has composed lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menus that gathers in loads of favorites — such as clam chowder, dry-aged burgers, and cavatelli pasta with braised brisket (all for lunch); raw oysters, baby wedge salad, seared duck breast, or buttermilk fried chicken (for dinner); or crispy caramel French toast, crab-cake Benedict, and Red’s Reuben (brunch). Management also crafted an interesting cocktails list — how about a Kentucky Boulevard with Campari, Cocchi Americano, cherry juice and hard cider float? — plus assorted brews and wines by the glass.

Dinnertime appeals to many folks for a date night. Families with kids who love freshly baked cinnamon buns plus eggs over-easy flock for the brunch menu. The screened-in porch overlooking the lake makes a perfect setting for friends and local business folks to relax and chat during lunch — of course, there is ample indoor seating as well.

Seated and hungry, you may wonder where to start. Definitely order the goat cheese fritters, a unique appetizer that has a staunch following and will likely be on Red’s menu forever. Served with chile-apricot jam and scallions, these savory-sweet bites are truly memorable.

Beet Salad

Astri Wee Photography

Beet Salad

Another appetizer worth sampling is the beet salad with candied pecans, golden raisins, fennel, and goat cheese crumbles. This dish brings together sweet and salty in a masterful way. Also delicious are the smoky chicken wings — an entire pound’s worth — served with a choice of Buffalo dressing or spicy Asian maple-Sriracha sauce.

As for entrées, you can go for something light, such as an entrée salad, or something heartier, such as the burger or Stein’s sandwich creation called “Duck, Duck Mousse,” comprised of seared duck pâté de campagne and chicken liver mousse with whole grain mustard. If you are into more classic American eats, consider the shrimp or oyster po’boy sandwich or the crispy fried chicken sandwich with bacon and cheddar-buttermilk dressing. Sometimes, making a choice can be a real problem.

If you opt for lighter fare, Red’s offers an interesting choice of salads, from a grilled steak salad to a blackened chicken chopped spinach one. Go whole hog with one or both of the pasta dishes, but be sure to leave room for dessert.

Ah, yes. The sweets, and you better hope these are still available. Five options grace the menu, and probably all are delish. Two most stunning dishes are the chocolate cheesecake — dense and chocolatey, and most probably the best you will ever find — and the classic lemon meringue pie. Few restaurants these days serve retro desserts, such as the lemon meringue pie, which was a must-have back when granny cooked for the family. Another option, a bit offbeat, is the caramel corn sundae with a funnel cake, caramel sauce, buttered popcorn, and caramel corn. The menu suggests pairing this with Irish coffee.


So, what’s the score? In the end, patrons must surely find Red’s the answer to their dine-out prayers. The cooking is top notch, the setting is colorful yet peaceful, and menu choices bring together traditional and current American flavors, dishes, ingredients, and presentations. Worth a trip, for sure, but do make reservations.