Volcano Hot Stone Grill
14706 Lee Highway
Gainesville, VA 20155
Casual American Fare | $$
What a delightful treat when our friends Ron and Judy took us to dinner at Volcano. It was a chance to enjoy time with wonderful friends and try something different. I would have to cook my own food. I don’t normally do this, even at home. I lack all the skills to prepare a meal but I was told anyone can do this. Just put meat on a super-hot rock and a few minutes later you’re good to go.
Volcano is not a large space but is usually busy so reservations are a good idea on Friday and Saturday nights. When you first enter you’re greeted by an attention-grabbing water feature behind the bar.
For an appetizer we started with a cheese fondue and a nice selection of breads and fruit for dipping. I vaguely remember a fondue dinner many years ago but these days my fondue dreams revolve around chocolate for dessert. I was pleasantly surprised when the Aged Emmenthaler and Gruyere fondue had a mild taste and excellent consistency, not too thin or runny.
Deciding on my hot rock entrée was hard work. I knew it would be meat but the selection is better than most. Standard fare of seafood, Tenderloin Filet, Sirloin Steak, and Herb Rubbed Chicken is offered with wild game like Bison, Wild Boar, Kangaroo, and Rabbit Sausage. I went with the Filet and Rabbit Sausage. Before long out came the sizzling hot volcanic rock, seasoned with Himalayan salt. Our waitress must have told me 5 times to be careful it’s like a million degrees. She spotted I need constant female supervision right off the bat. I wasn’t sure I could stand waiting while a whole filet cooked so after a few minutes I cut up bite-size pieces. My steak was excellent and the Rabbit Sausage was delicious.
Each plate comes with an assortment of dipping sauces made in house. Mine came with Honey Mustard, Horseradish Scallion Tarter, House Steak Sauce, and Roasted Portobello Mushroom Au jus. I appreciated the different choices because while the steak was great with the Honey Mustard I felt the rabbit tasted best with the Roasted Portobello Mushroom Au jus. The meats are all quality cuts and served in generous portions. My wife ordered the Bone-in Veal Chop and was shocked at how big it was. There are several sides from which to choose. I went with the Mac & Cheese and Jasmine Rice with Asian Sesame Ginger Sauce. The Mac & Cheese was not the more traditional macaroni in a sort of cheese casserole. I’m guessing most people am like me and prefer the cheesier version over a macaroni noodle lightly coated with a thin cheese sauce. On my next visit I will probably double up on the rice.
For dessert we settled on the Milk Chocolate Fondue. I’m fond of chocolate and dipping things in liquid milk chocolate is about as good as it gets.
While the fondue was great what I really had my eye on was the honey drizzled Baklava. Not something you see on many dessert menus in our area so once our waitress mentioned it I was hooked. It was everything I had hoped, tasty flaky phyllo dough with a savory sweet nutty filling. Try sharing Baklava with someone first if you have not had it before. When I say sweet I mean super sweet.
The décor is modern with ample lighting but as I often find the modern design and materials create a noisier environment. If you are looking for a quiet dinner come early. Our waitress Tammy was very helpful and attentive. Owners James and Barbara McGillivray have done an excellent job bringing a unique concept to Northern Virginia. Volcano is fun but the wide selection of wild game makes it a special destination.