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!
If you own or manage Choices By Shawn, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.