Sunday, August 28, 2011

Best Ever Neighborhood Restaurant

Every neighborhood should have one, but they are hard to find.  A place to go when you don't feel like cooking, but it feels like home.  It's a place where they know you, your likes and dislikes, and as a result, a menu isn't necessary because they'll do the ordering for you.  For us, that place used to be a former gas station converted into a French/Italian restaurant by a husband and wife team with a shared passion for food.  

What:  Jennifer and I just took the kids to Tempo Restaurant.  Our neighborhood restaurant for close to 10 years before a move.  It had been a dozen years since we had been back and thankfully everything was the same as we remembered, especially the food.

Where: 4231 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22304

Why It's the Best:  It's been 12 years and we've not been able to find another place like it.  The restaurant is small, the staff professional and friendly and the menu contains some of the "Best Ever" dishes.  The prices are fair and the kitchen is always dependable.  We have three favorites that no restaurant has been able to top. You can't go wrong ordering; the Oyster Rockfeller (not a oyster fan, get the Two Beans and Pasta, the Agnolotti (if it's not on the menu ask and they'll make it) and the Tiramasu.    

How We Know:  As Anthony Bourdain points out, 8 out of 10 restaurants fail.  Tempo has been around for 25 years and it's because it consistently delivers quality food and service for a fair price. What makes it special is that it's the kind of place that is always busy, but you rarely need a reservation. The kind of place that is so good you're afraid the word will get out and you want be able to get a seat when you decide to go out at the last minute rather than cook.  

Craving level: Every time we don't feel like cooking!  

Reviews:  Google,  Yelp