Stone’s Cove Kitbar: Meeting My First ChefTender

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RESTAURANT:  Stone’s Cove Kitbar

DATE OF VISIT: 5/30/17 #TacoTuesday

ADDRESS: 2403 Centreville Road Herndon, VA 20171 (Two Locations)

GENRE: Several Seafood Inspired dishes, burgers, steak

PARKING: Plenty of parking around the restaurant and in neighboring lots

AFFORDABILITY: Entrees are in the $10-$20 range and are fairly large and filling. You are definitely partly paying for an experience, which I will describe below.

VENUE: The restaurant itself provides a really cool experience. It is a self-dubbed “KitBar” meaning that the restaurant “combines the design of a kitchen and a bar to create a large communal table that surrounds the kitchen”. Essentially, a majority of the seating is alcoves of bars surrounded by the kitchen, which is in the center. Your hosts are “ChefTenders” i.e. Chefs and Bartenders. Not only fully trained to provide you your drinks but they also cook all your meals in the center of the restaurant for you to watch. This isn’t a Hibachi-style restaurant, it’s just literally that the seating is around a bar/kitchen that is in the center of the restaurant. I went with a group of five and will admit the bar seating, although shaped in alcoves, can still make it a little bit hard to hear. But this is definitely a fun venue for large groups and I do recommend trying out the KitBar experience at least once!

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly. Did not take note if there were gender neutral bathrooms.

GENERAL: This is definitely a versatile restaurant. A decent variety of options that is the perfect spot for a group of co-workers to grab lunch or for family or friends to visit in the night. The service was phenomenal. Although you start out with one main ChefTender they all come and check on you and they were all ridiculously friendly and thorough that it made for such a pleasant experience. The KitBar experience is a ton of fun and it is a great restaurant for sharing food (plenty of sharing plates within arm’s reach and both the Flatbreads and Appetapas – meals that double as entrées or appetizers (if I’m not mistaken) – were great for sharing). It was also a cute touch how the menus doubled as placemats.

THE FOOD: I ate the Soup of the Day (a Corn-Tortilla Soup), Mackinac Roasted Flatbread, and the Fish Tacos.

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The soup of the day, which of course varies per day, was a Corn-Tortilla soup for me. I am typically not a huge fan of soups of this style, but this one was delicious! It had a perfect amount of sour cream in it and none of the flavors were too overbearing. The crackers were the perfect addition to the soup to add a bit of crunch and it wasn’t overloaded with beans. Definitely would order again. The quantity was a little bit low for a $4 soup, but it was still a decent amount.

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The Mackinac Roasted Flatbread is bacon, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, onion, and cheddar with jalapeno mayo (optional additions of chicken, steak, or shrimp). The entire platter (not pictured) is shareable with five people (or more if you are okay with portions less than pictured). Overall, it was a really good appetizer. Lots of flavor from the jalapeno mayo (wasn’t spicy, don’t worry!) and it was easy to place in your mouth. The bacon provided the perfect amount of crunch.

My main entrée was the fish tacos. Three sizable fish tacos for $12 bucks are definitely filling – good bang for your buck. Now this was my first time ever having fish tacos, and honestly I think they were really good. It was a little bit of a weird sensation for me because the soft tortilla and the fish at the bottom of the taco was really warm, but the jicama green apple slaw and chipotle lime cream cold, like ice-chilled. That bothered me a little bit, but maybe that’s how fish tacos are? Maybe not the biggest fan of fish tacos in general, but it was filling, had good flavor, and I think was really awesome for a fish taco; I just don’t think fish tacos in general are for me (not with the varying temperatures at least).

I think the next time I go I will order the Margarita Crab Wraps for myself. I had been eyeing them for a while. I strongly recommend the Island Hopper Tacos too. I almost ordered them myself – I thought the combination of flavors may have been a bit too sweet or tropical for me at the time, but my ChefTender and my colleague who ordered them had lots of praise for them! Seems like a really good bet (and again, three pretty large tacos for $12!)

ACCOMODATIONS: Did not seem to have a ton of vegetarian options beyond salads (a lot of dishes have seafood with them). There are two really delicious looking flatbreads that are vegetarian and I bet it would be easy to make the other flatbreads or some of the other items without the meat.

OVERALL: Filling meal with a great experience, from awesome ChefTenders to an overall unique dining experience. Definitely do recommend trying out the KitBar at least once, you arrrrrrghonna have a great time (okay the restaurant isn’t pirate themed but like it’s the sea and the word “Cove”). But in all seriousness, the service and the experience at Stone’s Cove Kitbar made up for me not completely falling in love with my entrée, and even then I still did enjoy the experience of eating my entrée.

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