The view of lake, trees and sky from a table in this vast, glass-wrapped dining room in Falls Church has always called to me. The cooking? Let’s just say it made me sad when chef Bertrand Chemel, one of the region’s finest chefs and an acolyte of Daniel Boulud, scaled back his French ambitions when 2941 took a turn for the casual three years ago.
What a pleasure, then, to encounter on a recent spring evening foie gras mousse on a round of toasted brioche in a frame of pink ham and tender mache. And to continue with lemon cavatelli that sings of the season with bright peas, spongy morels and a grass-green sauce of spinach, cream and rosemary.
Scallop seviche is too tart for my taste, but the dish, staged in three scallop shells on a bed of salt, is as eye-catching as the tilted mirrors on the wall that reflect the great outdoors. Nice and neat: thick slices of herbed lamb loin, leaning against one another like dominos on a plate shared with grilled asparagus and splashes of garlic sauce.
Our server talks too fast, but the sommelier pours with aplomb. The menu groups the desserts, sweet somethings created by Caitlin Dysart, under the label “Never say never.” The pastry chef tucks something fun into every idea, be it basil-mint foam with her flourless chocolate cake or goat cheese sorbet with her rhubarb-almond crostata. Showiest of all is her baked Alaska, a state of bliss founded on peanut butter ice cream and pretzel streusel.
Happy days are here again.
→ 2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, Va. 703-270-1500. www.2941.com.
Open: Lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, dinner Saturday.
Prices: Lunch entrees $12 to $38, dinner entrees $26 to $40.
Sound check: 72 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.