Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Virginia is not a hop, skip, and a jump from where I live in Silver Spring. It has been nearly three years since I dined here last and I’m itching for a return visit, particularly since Austin Fausett is now Executive Chef. Fausett has an impressive resume that includes stints as sous chef at both The Inn at Little Washington and Central. My husband and I set out for Clifton with two other couples late one Saturday afternoon, blissfully unaware of some bumps in the road that lie ahead. Fortunately, I am not referring to the food.
Clifton is a cute little – actually very little- town, with a population of less than 300 people. There are a couple of shops, a lovely wine store, some historic buildings, and Trummer’s on Main. Fun fact: “Sleepless in Seattle” was written in a house on Main Street in Clifton. We learn this from a self-guided walking tour before dinner. Who knew?
As I wrote in my first blog post about Trummer’s, I find the breezy main dining room to have great appeal. I am lulled into vacation mode just by the atmosphere (and the one hour drive).
Our server charms me with a description of Trummer’s signature drink, The Titanic. Its got muddled green grapes, elderflower, champagne, and an actual sorbet iceberg floating in the center. The good news is that the ending to the drink isn’t tragic.
My husband and I share housemade burrata with heirloom tomato, watermelon, and avocado ice cream. These are tomatoes at their peak of flavor, paired to perfection with sweet watermelon, and a silky burrata. It’s a summery treat that is fulfills my heightened expectations for the return visit here.
I sneak in a spoonful of a my friend’s chilled yellow tomato gazpacho with kalamata olives and feta cheese. For a brief moment, I covet my neighbor’s dish. Fortunately, going back to the burrata is not a bad thing at all.
Chesapeake Bay rockfish with corn risotto, achiote pickled garlic, and oyster and chanterelle mushrooms is a popular choice for our group, with half of us choosing it for an entree. On my first bite I tackle the fish, perfectly cooked with a crispy exterior. The sweet risotto, meaty mushrooms, and savory sauce balance the delicately flavored fish.
One dish at the table disappoints based on portion size. I am assured that Cornish game hen with arugula pesto, corn pancake, and bruleéd mission fig is far from lacking in taste. But the serving of two small legs is a mystery. This is not the dish for a someone looking for a hearty meal.
The dessert menu has a number of items with great appeal, but I am unwavering in my desire for popcorn ice cream with butter sable, peanut butter powder, and caramel corn. Caramel corn and I have a special relationship, and this dessert jumps out at me as soon as I see it on the menu. It doesn’t disappoint.
We voice concern that cinnamon sugar beignets are run-of-the-mill compared to some of the other options. We end up eating our words, and all of the beignets.
Our server is exceptional, showing up at just the right moments, offering us a touch of humor and a good bit of expertise. While the food at Trummer’s doesn’t knock my socks off, its still quite good.
We head home happy and full. About a mile out of Clifton we hear an excruciatingly loud bump. We’ve hit something in the road and my friend’s car now has a flat tire. Three men struggle to change the tire but the tools at hand are ill-suited to the task. It’s not easy or quick getting late night road service in the wilds of Northern Virginia. It’s over an hour before help arrives and then another hour before we’re home. A lesser meal would have had me vowing never to return to Clifton. It’s a good sign when I realize that the ride to Trummer’s can be fraught with bumps, but its still worth the road trip.
Trummer’s on Main, 7134 Main St, Clifton, VA