If you like deals and find yourself in Fairfax City, make it a point to drop by Le Mediterranean Bistro. Fourteen bucks buys you a three-course lunch; happy hour toasts $5 cocktails; Wednesday nights mean half-price bottles of wine. Opened in April, the 50-seat follow-up to the short-lived Persian restaurant Sabzi puts Driss Zahidi at the stove and a big chalkboard of specials on the wall, similar to the design statement at the veteran chef’s previous gig, Bistro Vivant in McLean.
If you blink you’ll pass the modest storefront of Le Mediterranean Bistro, a mere slip of a place in historic Fairfax City, Virginia that quiets down towards nightfall. Once inside the cozy bistro senses prick up. You might detect a whiff of foie gras lightly searing with brandy, lobster carapaces creating a rich seafood stock or lamb shanks braising in wine and herbs. The room is filled with the aroma of tarragon, thyme, rosemary, and lavende – the floral notes of the Midi. But wait! There’s more. Exotic spices like saffron, cinnamon and cardamom intermingle with traditional French herbs – a clue to Chef/Owner Driss Zahidi’s Moroccan roots.
Why doesn’t Fairfax City already have 20 restaurants like Le Mediterranean Bistro? It’s good food, casually elegant, neighborhood-friendly and almost alone in refined dining available in a part of Northern Virginia that is highly populated with, what I’m sure, are people who would rather not fight traffic to find dinner.
The rectangular room holds less than 20 tables, which means a server is in view of a raised glance, not that there will be complaints. Shrimp soak in a garlicky oil, touched with heat, welcoming a dip from the bread basket. Duck confit delivers classic crispy skin and melting meat with a side of creamy white beans. There’s a crab-filled crepe, whole fish served with a rainbow of vegetables and a New York Strip with frites. And it’s all in Fairfax City. Finally.
Le Mediterranean Bistro
Tuesday - Friday11:30 AM - 03:00 PM
Tuesday - Friday05:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Saturday5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday5:00 PM - 09:00 PM