For farm-to-table dining, go West!
Purcellville is still a small town and Main Street spans it all, stretching from one exit off of Route 7 to the other. Driving Main Street takes you through downtown to the west end where you’ll find the aptly named West End Wine Bar and Pub.
Surrounded by the fairways of the Loudoun Golf & Country Club, West End looks like a B&B. In fact, it’s been many things. The building, circa 1915, was home to the Purcellville Inn, then Candaloras Restaurant, and Stonewalls Pub before being used for commercial office space. Today’s owners, Larry Johnson and Brenda Daeschner, lovingly restored the building, recreating the English pub downstairs and giving a quiet elegance to the dining rooms and bar upstairs, and building a nice little patio out back, overlooking the 17th fairway. They brought the same focus and detail to the dining experience at West End.
West End’s seasonal menus serve up the best of Loudoun and the surrounding area. Farm-to-table meats and produce star in Chef Justin Garrison’s food and drinks. An adventurous wine list (deserving of its own blog post) and a nice selection of craft beers are available in the pub and dining room as well as for private events in the upstairs rooms.
The menu will likely get a spring slant by mid-March but right now, features blue crab fritters, smoked pork belly steam buns with a crispy apple slaw, and a daily pick of cheese and charcuterie among its starters. The Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad balances crunch with a lovely cranberry vinaigrette and tangy goat brie. The Farm House Salad is an eyeful of color despite the winter weather, with field greens, radish, beets and a surprise – a deviled egg.
Chef Garrison tempts with pub fare, including grilled Spicy Garlic and Honey Wings and a Burger (it deserves the capital B) made from locally raised beef the Chef butchered himself. The Fried Chicken Hot Brown, on the pub menu, is a thing of beauty. The lightly spiced breading makes this sandwich a star on its own. Topped with cheddar cheese fondue and riding atop Texas toast, and it seals the deal: You must return to West End for a lunch soon.
Ordering dinner becomes an inner debate made contentious by the variety of specials. Will it be the 8-hour Braised Short Rib Ramen that has garnered a cult following, or the Lamb Shank Cassoulet? Maybe the Ragu ala Bolognese, clearly a family recipe, or the fish of the day? This week it’s grilled tile fish topped with a tangy preserved-lemon butter and served with a spaghetti squash sauté dressed with kale pesto that sings.
Compounding your decision, Chef also offers a Butcher’s Block selection of entrees highlighting cuts of meat. The Hangar Steak gets high marks for its intensely rich demi-glace, and accompanying duck fat fries, but it’s the Grill Wagyu Filet that causes the dining room to pause in quiet adoration as it’s served. Surrounded by scalloped vegetable, delicate onion rings and crisp-edged, pan-fried brussel sprouts, the filet begs you to just use your butter knife – then pause to appreciate the mouth feel. Sure, you can get Wagyu at steak houses on the other end of the county, but out here on the West End, far from the data centers and traffic and looking out at the stars while sipping a velvety glass of red, the experience is quintessentially Loudoun.
West End’s desserts are worthy of planning ahead. While prior visits included a sampler of hand-made chocolate truffles paired with wine, and a fresh berry-topped crème brulee, in keeping with the season, desserts now include a Chocolate Torte with house-marinated cherries, an Apple Hand Pie topped with Bourbon caramel and the Paw Paw Banana Bread Pudding – both exotic and comforting in the same bite.
To enjoy just a taste of the West End experience, attend one of their Wine Club events where four or five highly-anticipated pours are matched up with small bites from the Chef. Stay for dinner or return another evening for an experience that mirrors Purcellville itself, as farming heritage meets Loudoun luxe.
West End Wine Bar and Pub is located at 36855 W Main St. Purcellville, VA 20132. They are open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, and Sunday for brunch, from 11 to 2:30 p.m., then dinner until 9:30 p.m. Call 540-441-7896 or visit westendwinebarpub.com to make a reservation.>