One Block West
25 South Indian Alley
Winchester, Virginia 22601
American | $$
We got just what the sign says, sensational seasonal cuisine. Located a block from the main shopping area of downtown Winchester is One Block West, a wonderful oasis for food lovers.
There is plenty of seating and I love to see round tops in restaurants. We often dine with groups of friends and the round tables make it easier for everyone to share food and conversation.
There is a nice secluded table set for two for romantics or spies.
For my appetizer I chose the House-Cured Crispy Pork Belly on Grits with a Poached Egg and Hickory Syrup. Crispy pork belly, aside from being bacon on steroids, is an amazing textual experience. The crisp outer layer gives way to layers of fat and meat. Everything we love about bacon. Throw in some smooth grits, a poached egg, and hickory syrup for added flavor and you have a complete meal in an appetizer.
My wife ordered the Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts with Pork Belly Glazed with White Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar. She said they were great and I should try them. If ever I would going to like Brussels sprouts these would be them. I had to pass since I see no point in loving them at One Block West and hating them everywhere else. I was also a little afraid if I said I liked them she would start cooking them at home, smelling up the whole house.
Our friend Jane ordered the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Smoked Salmon Mousse, Salmon Caviar, and a Salmon Sauce. The scallops were seared nicely and just about anything moussed is divine. This is a marvelous combination giving the scallops a slight boost in flavor.
For my main course I decided on a Cassoulet with Grilled Bison Sausage served with Creamy Steuben Yellow Eye Beans, Duck, Duck Confit, Port and Pork Sausage. The Cassoulet (meat and bean stew) was off the charts good. Not too salty, just a deep rich ambrosial flavor that reflected hours of simmering. This is the first time I have seen Bison Sausage on a menu. I have had Bison burgers and was underwhelmed. This sausage is the opposite. It had a delicious taste, mildly sweet and not gamy. I am not sure if this is on the menu regularly but if you see it you should try it.
My wife chose the Grilled Moulard Duck Breast with Sweet Potato-Parsnip Purée and Braised Fennel. The duck was perfectly grilled and paired nicely with the purée to soften the stronger dark fatty flavor of the duck.
Jane ordered the Grilled Lamb Chop with Rosemary-Oregano White Beans, Feta Cheese, and Grape Tomatoes. I barely averted my eyes from my own dish so I missed out on tasting this. From what I remember at a glance it looked good.
Our waiter was knowledgeable and attentive. There was no noise to speak of because we ate early and were alone for the first half of our dinner. Chef/owner Ed Matthews has done a masterful job of creating a culinary gem in Winchester. There is plenty to see and do in Winchester. The Old Court House Civil War Museum is interesting and has rare Civil War graffiti left by prisoners. Next time you are in town plan your visit so you have time to go to One Block West for a fantastic meal.