We live in Reston and often walk our dogs around Reston Town Center. It is a great place to people watch on Friday and Saturday nights as people pour out of the patio at Jackson's and hang out near the fountain. There is plenty of al fresco dining options and the recent nice weather put me in the mood to eat outside.
I went to PassionFish for lunch with a girlfriend shortly after moving to Reston. We had a really great lunch and I knew it was a place I wanted to take Patrick. Someone near us had ordered the Oyster Po Boy and I knew it was a sandwich Patrick would love. We often walk our dogs by there and try to keep them from peeing near the patrons. It felt a bit odd being on the other side of their patio.
It was Friday evening and the place was packed. We were told 30 minutes for a table outside and waited in the crowded bar. The interior of the restaurant is very clean and modern with great paintings of fish. I love fish, love to eat them, look at them, even feed them or swim with them. Lady luck was with us and we got seated outside in no time. This was a relief as the crowded bar had started to frustrate me and Patrick was very hungry.
We had a nice table outside with a great breeze to enjoy. Patrick had a beer and I indulged in a glass of Cava. One glass of Cava is enough to get me buzzed and not give me a migraine the next day. I asked our server if the grilled baby octopus was breaded and was happy to hear that is was not. He asked if I had a wheat allergy and I said yes which is easier then explaining that I avoid wheat because I have arthritis and wheat is inflammatory and when I eat wheat my joints hurt worse than they already do. He said they would be happy to cook my food separate to avoid any possible contamination. Wow!!! I have never had such wonderful gluten free service before.
We ordered our food and shortly our server returned to tell me that the blue crab and corn chowder was roux based and did have wheat if I wanted to ordered something else. I guess their computer ordering system has space for food allergies and if something conflicts it will come up on the screen and notify the server. Gotta love technology!
We started with the Grilled Baby Octopus with Greek Salad, Grilled Halloumi and Tzatsiki. I love Halloumi and last weekend I did a Halloumi demonstration at work which I will blog about later. The octopus was wonderful, tender, well seasoned with a taste of char from the grill and was complimented by the salty Halloumi cheese. The Greek salad and tzatsiki sauce was fresh and made me wish I ate wheat to sop up its goodness.
Patrick ordered the Beet Salad with Farm Fresh Goat Cheese, Greens and Spiced Pecan Vinaigrette. It was a nice salad, the cheese was tangy and fresh and the pecans were really nice but it was light on the beets. I had never seen beet carpacio before and wondered if the price of beets had suddenly sky rocketed or maybe they were running low on beets. It was a nice salad but not quite 9$ nice.
Patrick asked our server what the Big Daddy was for $69 and we were told it was 8 oysters, 8 clams, 8 shrimp, lobster, and crab and maybe some other stuff, I forget. The server told us they also offer the Little Dingy which is half a Big Daddy for half the price. Patrick was overwhelmed by a crazy week at work and too many great choices on the menu and went for the Little Dingy. It was a fresh and delicious monstrosity. It was served with 3 sauces which seemed to be a classic red sauce, a creamy white horseradish, and an overly sweet vinaigrette. The horseradish was the best of the 3 but the sea food did not require much sauce. The lobster tail however was very chewy and overcooked.
I got the Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut with a Green Papaya Salad and Passion Fruit Panang. This item is usually breaded with yummy yummy Panko but the fish is breaded to order and they could do it without the Panko. I was so happy to hear this and enjoyed the dish. It may not have been crusted exactly but the flavors were wonderful. The Panag was really delicious and I was tempted to lick my plate but controlled myself.
Our server came with the dessert menus and the bad news that the only gluten free dessert was the Caramel Creme Brulee. They offered sorbet but they add a gluten stabilizer which was disappointing but I was happy that he was so knowledgeable about the menu. We skipped dessert and I had made Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream the day before and was looking forward to eating it when we got home.
This was a wonderful meal which made me feel special. PassionFish has a great atmosphere, wonderful food, and a great staff. They are very accommodating which was proven when they tried to arrange the patio furniture for a party of six and after many configurations took a table inside. But it showed that the staff was willing to do whatever it takes to make their patrons happy. I highly recommend this restaurant and recently Washingtonian Magazine said they had the best clams casino.