I started One Block West Restaurant in 2002, mainly because there were no restaurants in the Winchester, Virginia area that cooked food that I wanted to eat on a regular basis.
I grew up eating from the garden and so naturally our meals were of the season; they couldn't be any other way by definition. Before the restaurant, what I didn't grow for my own table, I got from the local farmers market. Given this background, when I went out to eat at local restaurants, the quality of the raw ingredients was just not up to snuff.
So, I set out to build a restaurant whose menus embodied my garden-to-table dining philosophy and this was long before the current farm-to-table movement became trendy. We buy in small quantities and we change our menu each day and this forces our ingredients to be both seasonal and as fresh as we can get them. It also keeps the cook staff fresh and on our toes, so that we never become complacent and you never get served food that we don't care about.
Over the years, we've built up a terrific network of local suppliers who bring us all manner of wonderful ingredients. It is these ingredients that define our cooking and set our restaurant apart from others. We go to market to find the best available ingredients and then we form a menu from them.
With all these great ingredients comes no need to hide them; in fact, we celebrate them with preparations that are generally very simple. We borrow liberally from all the food traditions to which we have been exposed, so it should not shock you to see a Cajun-inflected dish alongside a Moroccan lamb tagine alongside a fish dish from Nice on the Mediterranean.
And we are serious wine lovers here at the restaurant. Although wines come and go with the seasons, there are always at least 70 by the glass, freeing everyone at the table to select different wines with each course. In addition, we've got a great list (and very fairly priced too) by the bottle, especially our collection of Pinot Noirs from all over the world.
Simple food, the best ingredients, excellent wine. That's One Block West in a nutshell.
For more information about the restaurant, see our web page at http://www.oneblockwest.com/.