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“Uneven service but getting there” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Choices By Shawn

Choices By Shawn
3950 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030-3935
703-385-5433
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Ranked #79 of 324 Restaurants in Fairfax
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch
Description: Just opened a couple years ago. Their web address is http://choicesbyshawn.com.
Washington DC
Top Contributor
330 reviews 330 reviews
196 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
190 helpful votes 190 helpful votes
“Uneven service but getting there”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

This restaurant/wine bar is set in a charming older home with a generous wrap around porch in the heart of Fairfax City. First, the pros. The setting is nice and provides a unique ambience and nice break from chain restaurant decor. The menu is ambitious and offers gluten free as well as vegan choices. Dining is available on the porch or in one of several cozy rooms inside, some of which have fireplaces. Prices are about average for this area but some serving sizes at the stated price may disappoint some diners. The soup and half-sandwhich at $9.00 seems a bit pricey when the soup is served in a cup and the sandwhich is truly half of a regular sized sandwhich. Looks a bit lonely on the plate. This serving size was fine for me, but at this price, one expects a little bit more -- perhaps some chips or a scoop of salad. The soup -- French Onion -- was very good and served with slender sticks of cheese baked over the bread -- a lighter touch that produces cheesy goodness without the too chewy lid-o-cheese you tend to get in most restaurants. I had this with Maureen's Chicken Salad instead of the BLT I wanted, because they were out of bacon. The chicken salad was also very good, made with a mustardy base that produced a savory tang. You also get your choice of bread with sandwhich selections. I chose the house wine, a nice, tart, grapefruity Chardonnay. there is an extensive wine list with offerings by the glass and bottle. I passed on the desserts which looked wonderful, as I found the lunch filling enough for me. All desserts are priced at $6.00 and come with a scoop of ice cream (your choice of flavor). I finished with coffee, which tasted fresh and was a nice way to round out my meal. So now, the cons or perhaps I should say, room for improvement. The porch seating faces on a busy intersection so expect to have the occasional rumble of trucks as an accompaniment to your meal (this may perhaps be less of an issue in the evening, when commercial traffic dies down). Can't do anything about that and the porch is otherwise pleasant. Service is unven, fluctating between too little and too much. I first wondered if my server (who clearly was nervous and probably new) had forgotten me, and then I had two servers, but with all that attention, I still had to ask for cutlery and a napkin. So they are trying hard here and perhaps need a bit more experience to smoothly seat and serve diners and circle back around from time to time. The menu is ambitious with lots of choices (just like the name of the restaurant.). However, they were out of bacon on a Tuesday afternoon, pointing to inventory and or supplier issues in the kitchen. You can get gluten free (when available) but there is an upcharge for that and I am still mulling over whether that is a good idea. Seems unfriendly. Parking near the restaurant is tight, but there is free parking in the lot just across the street. There is a handicapped spot front and center, but no clear way to see how someone in a wheelchair could get up the steps to the steps leading to the porch. Choices also offers carry out dinners for four. The listed dinners look good, complete, and well priced. A nice option for busy families who want a good home-cooked meal at home. From time to time, they offer wine tastings. This restaurant is a good choice for a business lunch, a girls (or guys) meal out, a romantic spot for couples. While I think older kids would like this interesting spot, it does not strike me as a kid-centered place. My take: In spite of a few blips in service, I enjoyed my outdoor lunch surrounded by old growth trees and will visit this charming spot again -- perhaps for dinner. I am definitely going to save room for one of those desserts!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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41 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Vienna, VA
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Terrific neighborhood dining.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

A surprise in Old Town Fairfax. Well prepared American food at reasonable prices. Lots of gluten free choices. Entrees include soup or salad. Old house charm with porch dining as well.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia
Top Contributor
363 reviews 363 reviews
231 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 111 cities Reviews in 111 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
“High Hopes”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

We have high hopes for this neighborhood restaurant but our initial brunch was just a shade above average. They were busy and we had read the reservations policy incorrectly (make one) - but we were early and everything worked out. The restaurant is in a beautiful old house in downtown Fairfax - it is easy to find and parking is a breeze. The food is fairly standard, starting with your choice of pancakes, waffles or french toast. My waffle was okay, but I was told that the pancakes weren't very good. Beyond that they had an omelet station with a few choices, biscuits with sausage gravy, fruit, bacon and sausage. We've heard raves about other meals at Choices, but may not make the brunch scene again anytime soon.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Scotch Plains, NJ
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“pretty setting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

Interesting menu, pretty setting. The serving staff could be friendlier. I enjoyed the curry chicken and like the option of eating in or outside.

Visited July 2012
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Fairfax, Virginia
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“A quaint little pllace in Fairfax City”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

We just moved to Fairfax City and are trying out some of the local restaurants. This will be a place we return to over and over again, I think. The food was delicious and the service very prompt. The portions aren't huge, but they are most certainly adequate. They do have a gluten-free menu. We didn't try any of those items, but the option is available for those who need it. They also do an afternoon tea which we are looking forward to sampling.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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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