Located on the lower level of the Galleria at Tysons II, this addition to the Washington D.C./California chain boasts a moderately sized bar and a wood-paneled, dimly-lit dining area.
On a recent Friday night visit, the wait was more than an hour. Fortunately, the hosts give patrons beepers, which allow would-be diners to wander Tysons II (and gaze at things they could never afford to purchase) while they wait to be seated.
Once inside the classy and faintly masculine restaurant, it's easy to forget that you're supping in a mall. Given the atmosphere, one feels almost obliged to partake of a glass of wine. The choices of reds and whites should satisfy the average vino consumer. If vintage grapes aren't your thing, there's also plenty of beer, martinis and other alcoholic drinks.
The menu provides more than ample options, from burgers and sandwiches (most of which hover around or below $10) to chicken, meat and seafood dishes. Vegetarians may be somewhat hard-pressed here, though there is a grilled vegetable plate for $10.50 (or $11.50 with a baked potato).
If you have no dietary restrictions to contend with, you should easily be satisfied, as the portions are sizable and service is relatively attentive. The pan-fried rainbow trout, seared with lime sauce and served with red roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables, is light but more than filling. The broiled garlic and herb chicken breast, also served with potatoes and vegetable, is tender and spiced exactly right.
There are garden-variety desserts to be had -- fudge pies, cheesecake and the like -- but if you've just cleaned your plate, you'll probably be too stuffed to even ponder whipped creamy delights. In fact, you may feel you need to walk off your meal. No problem. Just head back into the mall and again convince yourself that money can't buy happiness, but it could definitely buy some cool stuff at FAO Schwarz.
-- Jen Chaney