In the back, a former hotel executive chef watches the pots. Out front, his wife chats up a stream of regular customers. Roseina's, in a bright Hollin Hall storefront, is a bustling neighborhood carryout. And because this neighborhood is a leafy and prosperous section of Fairfax County off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Roseina's menu can include filet mignon, baked salmon and potato-leek soup in addition to more standard fare.
Owners Uffe and Joy Mikkelsen bought Roseina's five years ago. He had cooked for Ritz-Carlton hotels in Boston and the Washington area. She was an events planner for the same chain. Now she manages the shop's retail stock of wines, salsas, condiments and other products clustered on a few shelves.
A regular menu of soups, sandwiches, salads, dinner entrees, sides and children's meals is available all day. A roster of specials changes daily: Lunch specials can be picked up between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., dinner specials after 5.
Joy Mikkelsen says the most popular lunch items include the Jerk Chicken Sandwich ($6.75), served on a kaiser roll, and the Cajun Grilled Chicken Roll Up ($7) in a flour tortilla. We liked the Creamy Chutney Chicken Salad Sandwich ($6.75), with a sweet and flavorful, not-too-heavy filling on multigrain bread.
We also liked some of the soups. Gazpacho ($4.25), on the special menu for summer, has robust tomato flavor and the crunch of fresh vegetables. Shrimp and Jalapeño Bisque ($3.75) is rich and smooth, with just the right chili-powered kick. A side dish, Baked Corn Casserole ($2.85 for a small cup), isn't the super-sweet, puddinglike version you might expect, but is tangy with jalapeño peppers.
Among regular dinner entrees, Grilled Italian Sausage ($13.50) over linguine is a standout. The Pork Tenders With Mango Chutney ($10.50) would be better as a cold-weather dish; the vinegary mango sauce tasted of winter.
A recent special, Tomato- and Parmesan-Crusted Fillet of Red Snapper ($16), was a perfectly cooked piece of moist fish whose taste held its own even without the accompanying pour of delicate lobster cream sauce. Many of the entrees are large enough to share, especially if you also have soup and a dessert.
But the desserts aren't made in-house. Instead, grab some ice cream on the way home and call it a meal.
-- Jane Touzalin (Aug. 15, 2007)