Blue Rock Restaurant in Virginia: 7 Things to Know Before You Go
There are some culinary experiences that are worth the drive and effort to reach. My husband and I are guilty of planning weekend getaways and even entire vacations around these foodie experiences (like when we booked a ticket to Slovenia after hearing about Hisa Franko on Chef’s Table). Blue Rock Restaurant is another example. Here are the 7 things you need to know to start planning a country retreat in a little town called Washington, Virginia.
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01- Gotta Love a Good Story
Surrounding farms at Blue Rock in Washington, Virginia
Blue Rock first operated as a 19th-century working farm and has gone through the hands of several different owners. Current owner Nick Dowling further expanded Blue Rock’s potential with extensive renovations. It now operates as a charming 5-room Country Inn, a Tasting Room, and a Restaurant.
Alright, let’s get to the good part.
We have been a fan of Chef Bin Lu ever since we dined at D.C.’s two Michelin-starred restaurant Pineapple & Pearls. This incredibly talented chef now heads up Blue Rock Restaurant, which is another great addition to the growing list of incredible restaurants in Rappahannock County.
A foodie mecca in the country with mountain and vineyard views AND great hospitality?
You can easily see why Washingtonians are flocking to this charming pocket of Virginia.
02- Get Two Tasting Experiences in One
#1 CASUAL TASTING ROOM
Casual Tasting Room at Blue Rock
Blue Rock is situated in an idyllic location overlooking a Koi pond and vineyards with the towering Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.
Outdoor seating at Blue Rock overlooking the pond, vineyards, and mountains
There is plenty of outdoor seating by the pond to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail like a delicious Mezcal Sour from the Tasting Room. Other options include a unique selection of local and international wines by the glass and beer.
Mezcal Sour from the Tasting Room at Blue Rock
You can also order some elevated small bites from the casual Foothills Menu at the Tasting Room. We enjoyed some local charcuterie with red eye gravy and pimento dressing.
Local charcuterie with red eye gravy and pimento dressing at the Tasting Room at Blue Rock
I have an addiction to pimento cheese and try it everywhere I find it from Costco (when they actually carried it) to the famous rural Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, Virginia.
The best pimento cheese I have discovered is on a delicious biscuit known as The Big Pimp from The Girl & The Raven. This foodie gem is located way down in southwest Virginia in a town called Abingdon. Yeah, I didn’t realize Virginia extended down that far either. Virginia does exist past Virginia Tech!
#2 FORMAL DINING ROOM
Formal intimate dining room at Blue Rock Restaurant
Once it was time for our dinner reservation, we entered a cozy dining room with only nine tables lit by candlelight. A stone fireplace centered the room. The equestrian decor was warm and inviting with many mid-century modern touches.
Great first impression.
03- Prepare for a 2.5 Hour Dining Experience
BLUE ROCK WINTER 4-COURSE MENU
The 4-course Tasting Menu would best be characterized as refined but unpretentious seasonal American cuisine.
As the late Anthony Bourdain commented once, you can only describe food in so many ways. You start to run out of adjectives. Let me just say, wow.
It was clear each dish was meticulously thought out and executed flawlessly. Incredible flavor at an incredible price point.
Are we really in the country?
I’ll let the photos do the talking.
ADD ON: Olive oil ciabatta with chili butter
FIRST COURSE: Foie chantilly tart with blood orange curd and dark chocolate glaze
SECOND COURSE: Gnudi a la vodka with whole milk ricotta, parmigiano, and calabrian chili
THIRD COURSE: Baharat-spiced dry-aged ribeye with beef jus vinaigrette and braised row 7 abundance potatoes
FOURTH COURSE: Warm chocolate soufflé cake with brown butter and sourdough ice cream, hazelnut praline, and cocoa nibs
04- Be Open to New Wines
Adding on the wine pairing is a no brainer.
Chef Bin Lu is responsible for the very eclectic and unique wine list. My husband and I are not wine experts but are avid travelers who love to vacation at wine destinations to learn more (23 wine regions and counting!).
I appreciated the fact the Chef offered both the classics like Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley and also unique varietals from places like Georgia (the country, not the state).
Blue Rock also hosts various Wine Dinner events throughout the year. For example, one evening he showcased the fabulous wines from local Ankida Ridge Vineyards and Stinson Vineyards with a special 6-course dinner.
05- How to Score a Reservation
Dinner reservations can be booked Thursday – Sunday from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm.
06- Actual Cost
When you compare the quality and cost of this dining experience compared to Blue Rock’s competition The Inn at Little Washington and Three Blacksmiths, it offers incredible value for the money.
- Dinner: $135 per person
- Wine pairings: $89 per person
- Gratuity and tax not included
Expect to spend around $570 for 2 people for a special evening out.
07- Make It a Country Getaway
BOUTIQUE PROPERTY OPTIONS
My husband and I dined at Blue Rock Restaurant to celebrate my birthday. Needless to say, I did not want to worry about driving.
One of the best parts about enjoying an incredible meal cooked by a celebrated Chef and partaking in several glasses of wine is rolling into bed down the hall.
Plus, you get a warm homemade cinnamon bun the next morning at breakfast.
The ultimate gastronomic experience.
Dining with a great group of friends and don’t feel like driving back to the city? Rent the luxurious 5-bedroom Blue Rock Farmhouse across the hill.
Make sure to book a room at the Blue Rock Inn at the same time you secure a dinner reservation.
We stayed in the Castleton Room. It was great but a little noisy since it’s by the kitchen. I would recommend the Thornton Room for the great views from the small outdoor space.
Castleton Room at Blue Rock Inn
If you cannot book the Blue Rock Inn, some solid second runner-up options down the road are The White Moose Inn (4 minutes), The Inn at Mount Vernon Farm (6 minutes), and Glen Gordon Manor (20 minutes).
THINGS TO DO AROUND BLUE ROCK
Beautiful views from Old Rag summit (we’ve done this one twice!)
- Take on the iconic Old Rag that some say is the best hike in Virginia.
- Sip on Virginia’s best wine from the well-respected winegrower Jim Law at Linden Vineyards (need a reservation).
- Stop in for a whisky tasting or a well-made whisky cocktail at Copper Fox Distillery.
- Go chasing waterfalls at Whiteout Canyon.
- Stroll through the charming town of Sperryville for a cup of coffee or a to-go sandwich for your hike at The Corner Store.
- Order some fancy food truck food at Sumac.
- Make it a blowout foodie weekend and have lunch on the outdoor patio at three Michelin-starred Chef Patrick O’Connell’s casual sister restaurant, Patty O’s Cafe. Yes, I have tried their Crock of Pimento Cheese too!
Looking for more inspiration on romantic country getaways that combine great food experiences PLUS the great outdoors?
My ultimate idea of fun is eating amazing food and getting out in nature all at the same destination. That’s why we fly to places like Peru where we can experience the incredible Nikkei cuisine at Maido and then go hike Machu Picchu.
As a local Virginian, I love the Shenandoah Valley for that reason. It offers the ultimate combo of culinary and outdoor adventure in its quaint little towns.
Best part? I don’t have to book a flight.
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Questions about our Blue Rock Restaurant dining experience?
Let me know in the comments below!