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“High/Low marks for food; excellent service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Columbia Firehouse

Columbia Firehouse
109 S. Saint Asaph St., Alexandria, VA 22314 (Old Town)
(703) 683-1776
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Ranked #76 of 673 Restaurants in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $31 - $60
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Doing business
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Old Town
Cross street: King St.
Manassas, Virginia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“High/Low marks for food; excellent service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

We had a good Saturday dinner out with friends here. My wife had the fried oysters which were excellent but few (6) and smallish. I had the mussels with green curry sauce, large, spicy and a little undercooked (not fully open). Our friends shared a "raw bar--an assortment of oysters and a raw tuna salad they were happy with.
The wine list is fine and the beer list impressive in length and variety. I had a three-glass flight and liked it.
Dinner I was not as happy with. Overall, it's a good menu with a nice variety. My wife had the buffalo short-rib strogonoff with papperdelle pasta and loved it. The meat was tender and very tasty. Very good sauce, too. The other guy and I had the aged beef prime rib. Our waiter told us that it was cooked "blue-rare," then sliced, then poached in jus. The other guy and I ordered this in the 16 oz size. I was disappointed in the flavor. This type of roasting, I learned, does not fully develop the full flavor that the traditional roasting to medium-rare and rare shows. Essentially, the meat is steamed in a flavorful broth. It was the daily special that night. I would go back to the restaurant, but I wouldn't order the roast beef again.
The fourth person had the scallops and risotto, which she was happy with.
An interesting issue came up with the wine. My friend saw and recommended a New Zealand sauvignon blanc he had enjoyed the night before from a liquor store at $9 a bottle. The price here was $36. I spoke to the manager, who was passing by and told him that a 400%
mark-up was "criminal." He said "I'm sorry about that" and no more. But at the end of the dinner, after we had received our bill, the waiter told us that the chef was fixing us something special because the manager didn't want us to go away unhappy about the wine. We got a nice little assortment of dessert samples and thanked them for their kindness.
A good restaurant, nice atmosphere, but not the best in Old Town Alexandria.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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253 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    90
    99
    52
    10
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Tulsa
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Great meal and atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

We visited Columbia Firehouse on July 2, 2013 with a group of 5. I had shrimp for an appetizer and the bison stroganoff for my entrée. Both were outstanding as was our service. The Bison was around $22 and a couple in our group had the filet which was around $25. One of the best meals on our trip and will diffidently return in back in the DC area.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Extremely Dissapointing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

I have been looking forward to eating at Columbia Firehouse for about two years and we finally ended up giving it a try. I LOVE barbecue and I had heard great things about the food. My boyfriend and I walked in and were standing in the doorway for about five minutes without any help. It was pretty clear that we were not supposed to seat ourselves but nobody came and helped us. After ten minutes we finally flagged down an employee who had passed by us at least three times. Once he came over he looked around and informed us that we would have to sit in the bar section because all the booths and tables available were booked. He then pointed us to a four person table and said we would have to either share with the couple next to us (who had also been waiting), or separate the tables ourselves and pretty much deal with it. He then walked away and didn't help at all. At that point we were shocked at how we had waited so long for someone in the restaurant to even notice us, and then to have the nerve to tell us to figure it out so we ended up leaving. We didn't get a chance to try the food and will not return to give them another chance. Thank you Columbia Firehouse for treating us so poorly and losing two local potential customers.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Eat Here - You Won't Be Disappointed!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

King Street in Alexandria has a multitude of restaurants, but this one is exceptional! Located 1/2 block off King Street on St. Asaph, the restaurant is located in a beautiful old building with dark wood and stained glass.

The menu has plenty of choices in a mid-price range. The sweet potato chicken and dumplings was good. The bison stroganoff was even better. But the best of all was the buttermilk onion rings, possibly the best I've ever had.

The waiter was great, the hostess was friendly.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great mussels”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

Food was very good - Chicken and dumplings - excellent. Found gristle in chicken and oyster sand but other than that good place. Mussels in curry were the best!

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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