AhSo: Big City Cooking, Neighborhood Dining
Sometimes the best ideas come late at night when you’re kicking back and relaxing. That seems to be the case for Jason Maddens and his AhSo crew as they dream up daily changing menus based on whim, inspiration and availability. An after hours dinner for the staff inspired Wednesday’s Ramen pop-ups. Taco Tuesdays provides room for some culinary fun.
The magic happening at AhSo has kept Loudoun buzzing (and posting food pics) for months now, enticing diners from DC to make the trek to Brambleton. An impressive feat for a restaurant that opened a little over six months ago in a neighborhood shopping plaza.
Though late-night idea sessions have driven the menu, AhSo overall was designed for excellence from the get go. Jason and wife Tiffany saw a need for locally-owned, upscale dining options in Loudoun and dreamed of bringing to Ashburn the community feel of Vienna standout Clarity where Jason was working at the time.
“We knew we had 14,000 residents living within five miles of our location when we opened,” said Jason. “We wanted to create a neighborhood restaurant and take our inspiration from farmers markets, the things we see, and the flavors we love right here.”
Jason recruited a top-notch staff and threw his heart and soul into the business, even going so far as to personally handcraft the butcherblock work table in the kitchen and some of the tables in the dining room. Every detail, from the silverware to the cocktails to the microgreens has been considered. Did we mention the farmer’s market? AhSo sponsors – and shops it – every week. Did we not mention the wine? Well let’s just say the wine is too big a part of AhSo to fully capture in a paragraph.
Wine has inspired the name, provides the decor and pairs with every course, bite and dessert. While AhSo’s scratch cooking reminds us how much we love to eat local, with a sip from the wine list we can journey far beyond Loudoun. Recommended for newbies and connoisseurs alike are the micro wine dinners. Four sophisticated yet approachable courses expertly paired with wines – at an incredibly affordable price. Love a bottle or a winery? AhSo sells wine, including special orders, and offers retail pricing on Thursdays.
Dinner options often include fish, beef, pork, vegetables and whatever else has caught the kitchen’s eye. Our first visit started with diver scallops seared and served with grilled ramps and a fava bean-pork belly succotash. Ready for more, we sampled the chicken duo and the quartet of pork, comparing and contrasting flavors and textures while enjoying a foodie delight featuring locally raised chicken and a celebration of pork’s many forms. Surprise! A fan favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs, pairs spaghetti squash with lentil-quinoa meatballs and a tomato bisque sauce. The result is a meal that’s not trying to make you forget about meat, but instead to celebrate the flavor without it.
Happy hour, weekdays from 4-6 p.m., earned its own episode of Inside Loudoun’s Cocktail Convo’s so come for dinner but then come back just for drinks one evening. In fact, Jason invites you to stop in often. The neighborhood feel is, after all, what he’s going for.
AhSo is located at 22855 Brambleton Plaza, Suite 108, just down from the movie theater. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5-11 pm. Sunday brunch is from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday dinner from 5-9 p.m. Visit ahsoresto.com for sample menus, micro wine dinners, events and reservations.>