Inox

$$$$ ($25-$34)
Please note: Inox is no longer a part of the Going Out Guide.
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The Tysons-area restaurant closed its doors in late May.
Mon-Thu 11:30 am-2:30 pm
5:30-10 pm; Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm
5-10 pm; Sat 5-10 pm; Sun 5:30-10 pm
(Tysons Corner)
703-790-4669
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Editorial Review

2010 Spring Dining Guide

By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, May 23, 2010

Did I ever doubt Inox? The luxury restaurant opened in an office building at the height of the recession with not one but two top toques, Jonathan Krinn and Jon Mathieson, former colleagues at 2941 in Falls Church. While much of their menu was luscious, the winter of 2009 did not seem to be a great time to start serving foie gras and relying on the expense-account crowd to pay for suited servers and a dedicated pastry chef, among other details. Fast-forward to last month, and the picture looks brighter. Not only did the business partners decide that only one of them should be cooking -- Mathieson now leads the kitchen, while Krinn patrols the dining room -- but more customers appear to be open to high-end dining again. (Or maybe it's the gentler prices and bargains, such as the $28 lunch, that Inox has introduced.) Mathieson uses more froths and foams than I like, but I appreciate his deft touch with acids -- tart gooseberries to counter a fist of spiced venison, for instance -- in his richer dishes. A turban of steamed Dover sole contains a vivid nest of tiny, tender herbed gnocchi, diced black olives and oven-dried tomatoes. Duck is celebrated two ways, as thin slices of breast and exquisite confit on a plate that also makes room for seared foie gras, squiggly spaetzle, porcini mushrooms and a racy green peppercorn sauce. In contrast, ballotine of local rabbit is a bit of a bore (and why a parsnip sauce in late April?), but I have to admit to eating, and enjoying, every last bite of seared black bass dressed with juicy crawfish and a cloud whipped up from pickled ramp juice, butter and chili oil. Some of the waiters could be smoother; my last server raced through the dish descriptions as if he were auditioning for FedEx. The staff also should know that although the sunken kitchen is hidden from view, it's not exactly soundproof. ("Get it out! Get it out!" I heard someone yell.) That still leaves much to admire. Chef-turned-sommelier John Wabeck continues to act as if he'd rather be behind the scenes than performing out front, but diners can count on him to select something to suit the food and the mood. If I lived closer, I'd make a habit of Inox's chic bar and elegant cocktails. Meals in the restaurant set sail with lovely gifts from the chef (hope for a petite lobster empanada) and conclude with a sweet flourish (tiny financiers, macarons and chocolates nestled in a ceramic box). While other top chefs are hedging their bets with bistros and cafes, Inox is evidence that there's still room, and a reason, for cooking on a grand scale.