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“A disappointment”
Review of One Block West

One Block West
Ranked #5 of 290 Restaurants in Winchester
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $38
Cuisines: American, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: A seasonal farm-to-table restaurant featuring the best products of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in a la carte and tasting menus that change nightly. Chef Ed Matthews has been named to Best Chefs of America by his peers in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Schenectady, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A disappointment”
Reviewed July 20, 2013

When we arrived at 7:30, it was still 90 in downtown Winchester and the air was a damp sponge. Inside the restaurant was only a bit cooler and dryer. We were seated a room away from a large noisy party of wine tasters with a view of Indian Alley through sheer curtains over dirty windows--both needing a good wash. Peeling wallpaper in the men's room was also not a good omen.

Our server, professional and helpful, brought us a small, crusty loaf of good hot bread and the two glasses of wine recommended for our appetisers--a decent Pinot Noir and a good Chenin Blanc. The scallop, pork and grits and the smoked bluefish potato cakes arrived promptly, both well presented but in quite small portions. I liked the scallop a lot, but my wife was less happy, having assumed from the menu description that the bluefish would be part of the potato cakes rather than just a tiny accompaniment.

Because it was too hot for a heavy meal, we split the squash cake entree, a house specialty, to save room for dessert. It arrived blackened on the bottom and should never have left the kitchen. The unburnt portions with fennel, cheese and dill in the grilled squash puree were tasty. The carrot and cabbage slaw was crunchy, cold and a nice contrast to it. The cucumbers and sour cream garnish added a cool touch. However, as with the appetisers, portion size was on the skimpy side, even if it had been executed properly.

Given the room's temperature near the window, we were ready for a cool dessert, but "panne cotte" turned out to be only Greek yogurt with berries; we skipped it.

Running a good restaurant is a species of performance art. This place needs a better director. Try Violino instead (about two blocks away, where our lunch experience the previous day had been superior).

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank W S J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChefEd, Owner at One Block West, responded to this review, July 22, 2013
Any review that begins with a dissection of the physical plant and décor is an indication that the customers did not find value here, in essence, that our prices are higher than they wanted to pay. This, I don't understand, for our prices are posted on-line and it is very simple to predict, almost down to the penny, how much dinner will cost before you arrive. This is almost always expressed as a complaint about portion size, after the necessary bashing of the property.

Might I be so bold as to suggest that if you hadn't split the entrée, you might have found the 8-ounce portion size adequate? Might I also ask why if the squash cakes were burnt on the bottom that you ate them and didn't send them back? If they were burnt or otherwise not to your liking, we could have repaired the problem right then and there. I'm going to talk to the kitchen crew about this, but without having the allegedly offensive squash cakes in hand, how effective do you think that will be?

We remember well your sarcastic comments about the panna cotta, the panna cotta that you didn't even bother to order before bashing it. I don't understand why you would make such uninformed comments in a public place such as a restaurant dining room or in an on-line review. I could lecture you on the history and origin of panna cotta and tell you about modern derivations from the cream that was set by boiling with fish bones, but this would neither be the correct forum nor would it serve any purpose. Suffice it to say that you missed a great opportunity to taste a wonderful dessert, one that customers rave about to the point where the recipe is one of our most requested.

I'm sorry you didn't find value in our restaurant. I wish you all the best in your travels and I hope you find restaurants in your price range that work for you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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356 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Leonia, New Jersey
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“unexpected delight”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

We recently made a road trip from NJ to NC, and enjoyed our first dinner of the trip here. I so enjoyed my dinner and wine; I had with the beet salad followed by pasta with chanterelle mushrooms. The salad was fresh and tasty, the pasta incredibly delicious. I enjoyed the suggested Pinot Noir. Since I was quite full but interested in tasting a dessert, I took a chance on the panna cotta with fresh berries- not something I usually order, and while it's not for me, the berries were ample and fresh. It was a fine start to our vacation!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank kajema63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChefEd, Owner at One Block West, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
Glad you had a great meal with us! Berries this time of year are a great bet. We have local blackberries, blueberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, wild black raspberries, and wild wineberries! Our berry selection changes each day depending on what has just been harvested.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville MD
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“An excent dinner”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Came in on a Friday night, not very crowded. Pleasant ambiance. Particularly liked the wide selection of virginia wines on the list. Nice selection on menu. Hanger steak and the seafood stew were fantatastic. The mixed grill was excellent except the lamb was slightly overcooked. Desserts are worth saving room for. Wait staff was excellent only minor issue was the waitress poured the entire bottle on the first pour for the four of us. This is an issue because it is really too much wine in the glass and one person actually drinks less wine than the other four. Would definately return if I am in the area and would reccomend to others.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank pedsandsocialworker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChefEd, Owner at One Block West, responded to this review, July 10, 2013
Thanks for your positive and constructive feedback! We're glad you had a good time with us and we look forward to seeing you next time you are in town. We'll go over your comments with both the front of house and back of house staff at our next meeting.

For future guests: if you have expectations about how you want your meat cooked or if a member of your party desires something a little different, such as a small wine pour, a quick comment to your server would go a long way towards helping us get things just as you desire them. We want to please you and if you can help us do that, that would be great!
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Purcellville
Level Contributor
82 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Hidden treasure!”
Reviewed June 23, 2013 via mobile

In the heart of old-town Winchester is a real find in the culinary space: One Block West.

On a tree-shaded outdoor patio, my wife and I enjoyed a good bottle of sparkling wine, and began our meal; me with their signature appetizer of pan-seared scallop on crispy pork belly with new potato and smoked bluefish salad. my wife was thrilled with their beet, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnut Salad with Dried Cranberries and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

For an entree, she chose their pan-seared Atlantic Char with local broccoli and tomato-feta salad.

For me, the Morel Mushrooms Primavera with Strozzapreti Pasta, Spinach, Peas, Sugar Snaps, Cream (vegetarian) was truly memorable (and I am not a vegetarian).

All-in-all, an incredible dining experience; we will DEFINITELY return.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank cfischer41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChefEd, Owner at One Block West, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
It is very heartening to me and my team here that you sat on the same deck as the previous poster and had nearly the same dinner and found it worth returning, whereas the previous poster hated nearly the identical experience.

We are so lucky, after a winter of slim pickings, to be blessed suddenly with local beets, local goat cheese, local cherry tomatoes, local peas, local sugar snaps, and glorious local broccoli. We are glad you appreciate the effort we go to to source these great foods. Thank you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manassas, Virginia, United States
1 review
“A beautiful summer evening spoiled.”
Reviewed June 22, 2013

Came out from northern va. To visit my sister at Blue Ridge Hospice yesterday evening. We wanted to enjoy a nice meal after our visit so my wife suggested One Block West. She had eaten there a few years ago with friends and enjoyed it. Well, it was such a beautiful evening, so we decided to eat on the outdoor deck. While she went to thr restroom I was left to chose a table on my own. Well once I spotted a table for two it was apparent that the patio had not been cleaned in what looked like several seasons. I had to wipe off the cheap plastic chair before sitting down and had to ask the waiter to clean my wife's chair before she returned. Upon returning from the restroom I could see the look of disgust on her face. The bathroom was dirty and had no faucet handle for cold water and scalding hot from the working handle. So hot she could not rinse off the soap. After she sat down we noticed several dried bird droppings on our wire mesh table. The vacant table next to ours was even worse and had a small candle jar stuffed with old cigarette buts. Now trying hard to get past all this lack of cleanliness which completely ruined any ambience the place might have had we still stuck it out and ordered our food which was very delicious . But once again we were disappointed at the lack of anything on the plate other than the entree. No sides of anything and no sides on the menu. I guess we should've ordered the chefs surprise menu for $65 each maybe there were some vegetables with that. We dine out quite often and know a great resturant when we see one and One Block West is mediocre at best. They charge D.C. prices but fall way short. I will never eat there again and would suggest you get your spring cleaning done after all it's summertime!

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JEA1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChefEd, Owner at One Block West, responded to this review, June 24, 2013
My staff and I are very sorry that such terrible circumstances brought you to Winchester. We wish you all the best at this trying and stressful time.

Over the years, I have come to understand that a review beginning with a dissection of the décor and physical plant is a smokescreen. The real complaint is inevitably that the customer did not perceive the value that we provide, but does not want to say that directly. I am sorry that you don’t find value in our restaurant and I hope that you will find restaurants elsewhere that you enjoy.

As for your other issues:

You chose to sit outdoors under a huge tree that is in full pollen swing right now and generates debris faster than we can clean it at this season, though we clean the deck before each shift. Moreover, birds love the tree and bird poop happens. Why on earth, of all the empty tables outside, you chose one that the birds pooped on is beyond me. You could have selected a clean table. You could have sat inside.

You confuse dirty with old. Our restrooms were built in 1984 and they are old. But they are not dirty. They are also next on our slate of renovations. Granted, somebody broke the faucet handle in the women’s room and we are sorry you had to deal with that. We repaired it the very next day as soon as we could get parts. We apologize for your inconvenience.

I pulled your check to see what you ordered: pasta with morel mushrooms, fresh peas, sugar snaps, and spinach for you and for your wife, two jumbo softshell crabs garnished with an arugula salad. You expect sides with a big bowl of pasta that already contains three kinds of vegetables plus mushrooms? An arugula salad is insufficient side for two huge crabs? These dishes are lacking vegetables? Did you ask your server if we could get you some additional vegetables?

Once again, my staff and I are very sorry for the circumstances with your sister and we wish you all the best at this trying time.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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