If you are like me, then you give kudos to those people who can find a way to be exceptional, without being eccentric. I feel that there are a place and time for everything, and when I sit down to eat is normally not the time for a circus act of death-defying feats. I think of food as quality ingredients brought to you by a Chef; the resident “steward of flavors”.

Shimp and grits
Shrimp & Grits
Grits were stone-ground from George Washington’s Gristmill a few miles away.

When a Chef makes a commitment to creating a restaurant, there is probably something special that they stumbled across in their own culinary adventure that is worth honoring, preserving and sharing. That is what I think has happened with Chef Caroline Ross and her River Bend Bistro and Wine Bar. After having a meal there I am confident that Ross has definitely found that “something special” in the Mt. Vernon region of Alexandria Virginia because her meticulous care is evident bite after bite.


river bend tenderloin
Grilled Shoulder Tenderloin of Beef with an Arugula Salad & Herb Vinaigrette

I can appreciate the time Chef Ross spent creating a menu that ties in local seasonal ingredients that shine through with every dish I tasted. Her use of Sage & Oyster Stuffing for a Rainbow Trout was a wonderful example of using an idea usually reserved for Thanksgiving to elevate a piece of fish in a positive yet understated way.

river bend trout
Rainbow Trout with a Sage & Oyster Dressing

The Steak Tartar was a lesson in balance; with tart capers cutting through the fatty savory beef. Her Chess Pie served with Crème Fraîche with Cherries uses freshly ground cornmeal from the very same mill George Washington used centuries ago. Plus with her restaurant being located on what would have been Washington’s property, (less than a mile or two from historic Mt. Vernon) who could resist adding cherries to anything?


In Chef Ross’s dishes I am pleased to say that I was able to taste the one true mark of a great chef that my palette craves when I dine…..restraint.
Bravo and much success to her.

-Eugene Smith


If you get a chance to visit Mt. Vernon, be sure to plan a meal at the River Bend Wine Bar & Bistro located:river bend chalkcoard

Hollin Hall Shopping Center
7966 Fort Hunt Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22308

Written by: Eugene Smith