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“Very Good But Disappointingly Short of Excellent”
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: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, 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.
Great Falls, Virginia
1 review
“Very Good But Disappointingly Short of Excellent”
Reviewed November 10, 2013

After a day of meandering from Norther Virginia to Middleburg and then to Winchester on Saturday, my wife and I googled various restaurants in Winchester to have dinner at. One Block West immediately caught our attention based on both it's very interesting menu and it's relatively strong ratings and we stopped by to make early dinner reservations. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were promptly greeted by a very friendly and welcoming staff. Our waiter, Kenny, promptly came to our table and kindly offered to give us samples of the two wines that we were considering between which was very helpful. The wine was excellent as was the bread which was also promptly served with both olive oil and, at our request, minced garlic. My wife had the beet and goat cheese salad appetizer which was outstanding. I had the Prince Edward Island Mussels which were very plump and moist and, quite frankly, amongst the best that I have ever had. For our main courses, my wife had the beef and black truffle risotto which was also excellent and I had the elk osobussco. Unfortunately, however, the elk while quite flavorful was definitely overcooked and a significant portion of it was very tough and dry instead of moist. When I mentioned this to our waiter, he took my comment seriously and he offered to replace it with another entree. Although I probably should have taken him up on his offer, the flavor was good and, given that my wife had already been served, I didn't want to have to wait for another entree to be prepared and served. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have taken him up on his offer. Our waiter did discuss this with the chef/owner and reported back to us that he said that this is just the nature of elk. That comment was both disappointing and untrue having had elk on a number of previous occassions at different restaurants that was both tender and moist. Simply put, it was just overcooked. For dessert, my wife had the chocolate bread pudding which also was excellent and I had a double espresso that appeared to be the size of a single espresso. I asked the server serving the espresso if it was a double or a single and he assured me it was a double. Being a regular espresso drinker, I know the difference but chose not to press the point. The check was served with two chocolate truffles that also were excellent and a very nice finishing touch. With respect to the check ($144 including tip), It would have been a nice touch had the chef/owner instructed our waiter to comp the dessert or coffees as a recognition for my concerns with the elk and the fact that I didn't take them up on their offer to replace my entree. In my opinion that gesture would have been both smart and appropriate under the circumstances and just plain good old customer service. Finally, they have a musician who comes on Saturday nights and plays the guitar and sings folk/soft rock music which was very enjoyable as well. Based on my experience detailed above, I would rate One Block West as very good but disappointingly short of excellent .

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank fmlaxer80
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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for your largely great comments. I am truly sorry for your bad experience with the elk.

We must have miscommunicated about the elk. What your server was trying to tell you is that you were served wild Canadian elk and as a wild product, consistency and texture do vary tremendously. It is not the same product as farmed elk where we can almost guarantee each piece to be meltingly tender. As a professional chef, I guarantee that your elk was not overcooked and that your objection was due to the nature of the product itself.

Each time I run wild game, I am faced with this risk. Some people relish the chance to taste truly wild game, a thing not often encountered in the US because of our food code restrictions. But some other people object to the variable texture of wild game, expecting every morsel to be as tender as farm-raised game. Sometimes I get taken to task for it, as in this case, a risk I am willing to take to put wild game on the table.

When the server delivered this message to you, he offered at my request to replace the meal with anything else you might desire. You did not take him up on this, though now you wish you had. Had you sent it back and refused it, we most certainly would have comped you. Even if you hadn't sent it back, but didn't eat any more of the dish, we would have taken the dish off the bill. But once you refused our efforts to cure the problem and you ate the dish, this was a signal to me and your server that you understood the situation with wild game, you accepted the situation, and decided to go with it. I am sorry that we misunderstood each other on this point and I hope you understand that it was just that, a misunderstanding on both parts. And I certainly hope that you will give us another try next time you come out our way.

For the benefit of future customers, we want you to try wild game on those rare times that we have it on the menu, but we want you to know that it is a wild product and it may not be as you expect. We also stand behind our food 100%: if you have a problem with any of our food for any reason, we will be happy to replace it for you with anything else on the menu. Or if you do not want a replacement and want to send the dish back, we will certainly take it off your bill. Bottom line, if you have a problem, let us take care of it then and there. Much better for all of us to go away satisfied. We do not want you to go away dissatisfied like this customer was.
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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
washington dc
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A pleasant Saturday night”
Reviewed November 7, 2013

I had read about the restaurant and the owner of the B & B deemed it her favorite. The place was nice and busy enough that you didn't feel isolated. The service was attentive and good and our server was extremely nice. We ordered vegetarian meals which were well flavored which is not always the case. Everything was carefully prepared. A very nice wine selection as well. We had the wines recommended with the dish and were very satisfied. I found the prices to be moderate and the wine list had selections at all price ranges. All in all, we had no complaints.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MartyDL
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, November 9, 2013
My crew and I thank you for dining with us. We always strive to have creative vegetarian dishes on our menu and we are glad you appreciated the care that we put into them.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, PA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“fell short”
Reviewed November 4, 2013

Let me just start off by saying that we really wanted to like this place. It came highly recommended from 2 wineries we visited and the bed and breakfast we were staying at, not to mention the great reviews on trip advisor. My husband and I visited this past Saturday to do the "chefs whim" they advertise on their website and the first flag that went up was that the place was not crowded. Upon entering, it was apparent that the owner had bought out an old chinese restaurant and used just about everything they acquired from the deal. Since its all about the food for us, their decor didn't really bother me. The service however was very different. In one word I would say it was bizarre. There were no friendly greetings, no questions about whether or not we were familiar with the restaurant or what we were about to do, nothing you would expect from your average run of the mill restaurant, let alone an upscale one such as this. They pushed the wine menu to the point of discomfort and when we declined there was almost a hint of attitude. My husband had told them when making reservations that we would be doing the 7 course chefs tasting but there was never a mention of it while we were there. They just started bringing food out. The chefs whim is advertised as exciting creations by the chef that are not typically on the menu. When the first course came, it was the same exact offering on the regular menu. I noticed that everyone around us had gotten bread and we hadn't so I asked for some. I wasn't quite sure who to ask since we had 4 different servers tending our table, but the one I did ask denied us any. He said " I'm not supposed to bring you any since you're going to get a lot of food." So I bit my tongue and went along with it thinking I would be too full to care. 2 of the next 6 courses were again the exact same thing being offered on the regular menu and 3 more were so similar that it required no creativity or effort whatsoever. All of the dishes were very small "small plates" and at the end of 7 courses I was actually still hungry and feeling like I was just given everyone elses leftovers. Where was the excitement we were promised? I finally summoned up some courage and firmly but politely asked for my bread now. It ended up being the best part about our night. The food was not bad which is why I give it 2 stars instead of 1 but we could have just ordered one dish for $40 less a person. Everything about this place felt lazy and no one really seemed to care about their job. This place fell very short of our expectations. I don't think we would go back just based upon the service alone.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank moritz888
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, November 5, 2013
I'm very, very sorry you had a bad experience, but I'm not sure that our busting our collective butts on your behalf deserves this level of venom.

I take solace in the fact that in my table visits with all our customers doing tastings on Saturday, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. In that context, your review is discordant in the utmost. Clearly you left before I could visit with you.

As for the incident with the bread, I know who said this and I have no idea why he was so stupid, but that is the last time this happens in my restaurant. I apologize for this; consider it dealt with.

I don't know what you were expecting, but we gave you our best, the bread goof excepted. If you feel like coming out from behind the anonymity of your computer and calling me directly with some constructive feedback, I will be happy to talk with you. I can be reached at 540-662-1455.
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New Jersey
Level Contributor
68 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“out of the way find!”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

This restaurant was down an alley off a main street and a pedestrian mall. What a find!
The menu was quite different...my husband ordered rabbit and was quite pleased. I stayed more traditional with pork. The entrees are small but we both were pleased with that. Dessert was good as well. Quite an extensive wine offerings. The service was very hospitable and attentive.
Would definitely return the next time we are in Winchester.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank NJHomeRN
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, October 29, 2013
Thank you for coming out of your way to find us! We pride ourselves on having a menu that is different from any other restaurant. We look forward to seeing you next time you are in town.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edgewater, Maryland
Level Contributor
184 reviews
108 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“We had a nice dinner but based on prior reviews I was expecting more”
Reviewed October 21, 2013

During a recent Saturday night stay in Winchester, we made reservations at One Block West based on tripadvisor reviews. The restaurant is quaint inside with interesting decor and was busy but alas I was disappointed - no guitarist as other reviewers had noted. After enjoying enough VA wine for a while, we were glad to be able to order a pre-dinner cocktail while we perused the eclectic menu. Our waitress was knowledgeable and helped us with our choices. The bread, which I presume is made onsite was just ok and not worthy of the calories IMO.
We started with the mussels and a mache salad - which were both very good. I really enjoyed the "fall" flavors in the salad. For entrees my husband loved the Elk ossobuco...he had never tried elk before and I thoroughly enjoyed continuing my "fall meal theme" with the mushroom pasta dish. Dessert was the chocolate bread pudding (definitely the better of the two) and the pumpkin interpretation of cheesecake- but honestly I didn't think the flavors or texture was that great. We never saw the chef come out to the dining room during our visit. Overall, it was a good meal and I would give it another try if we are in the area again.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank lsnyder
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, October 22, 2013
Thank you for dining with us and your largely great comments. The crew and I appreciate it and I am especially happy to hear that your server was knowledgeable. We all work hard to ensure that.

I admit I am non-plussed by your comment on our bread. If you look through our reviews, you will see nothing but praise for it. I judge a restaurant by its bread and I think we have awesome bread; I don't know how to put a better product on the table. I am sorry that it wasn't to your taste, but we're just going to have to disagree on this point.

I'm also sorry we didn't get to meet as clearly you were expecting me to come visit at your table. You nailed it earlier in your comments when you said we were "busy." I'm a working chef, not a glamour chef, so that if there is food that needs to be prepared, I'm in the kitchen. Alas, it isn't very realistic to expect to see me on weekends; I get done about the time most tables have already departed. But, had you asked your server if I could visit your table, I would have tried my best to come say hello. Next time you're in the restaurant, let your server know you'd like to say hello and we'll try to make it happen.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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