Restaurant: Clarity

Carol, Debbie, and I went to Clarity for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon.

It was about a 30-minute ride from our home (Carol, Debbie, and I all live in the same condominium.) Carol drove. Whatever system Carol used to find the restaurant it did not seem that complicated.

We had a 12:30 p.m. reservation, at least at this time of year and on this day, there was plenty of room for walk-ins. Here are the hours:

Monday 5-10 pm

Tuesday – Thursday 11:30 am – 2 pm /3-10 pm

Friday 11:30 am – 2 pm / 5 -11 pm

Saturday – Sunday 5-11 pm

During this time of year, there is a covered outdoor area that holds 4 four-tops and 2 tall two-tops. It appears that the area has some walls and heaters for those times when it is cool. We had a reservation for this outdoor area but there were maybe another dozen people eating inside.

The interior of the restaurant is long and narrow. Starting from the front, there is on right hand side a long banquette with a series of 4 tops divided by half walls and curtains or only curtains. The same configuration exists on the other side of the restaurant and in the middle of the restaurant there are a series of tables with seating from four to six people at round tables.

Continuing to the back of the restaurant there is an L-shaped bar with high-chair seating and then a smaller bar which runs on the side of the open kitchen. In the far back there are two private dining rooms, one with a long table that seats about 10 people and doubles as a wine room; the second room looks like it may seat up to 30 people. It also has a large TV and a bar.

Various estimates of the number of people that can be seated at the restaurant at one time range from 90-100. But even without the outdoor space, one could see the limit raised to something closer to 120 people assuming the kitchen could accommodate that many diners.

Our server Nolan has been working at Clarity since it opened some six years ago by Chef Owner Jon Krinn.

The breadbasket delivered to our table contained 4 rolls, 2 onion sage and 2 French bread.

Debbie and Carol shared Sea Salt Cured Spanish Mangalica Jamon de Segovia – pea shoots/watermelon/Antietam goat chevre/sherry vinaigrette.

Carol selected Cast Iron Roasted Pennsylvania Free Bird Chicken Breast – la ratte fingerling potatoes/filet beans/earth n east okra/sherry jus.

Debbie chose her main course from the Starter group. Pennsylvania Organic Chicken Wings – fermented jalapeno hot sauce/roasted garlic/ old bay/ ash goat cheese dressing.

For my starter I picked an Earth N East Baby Chioggia Beet Salad – apple & pear butter/ pistachios/ mizuna/goat feta/purple sweet potato chips. (For those of you who, like WW, had never heard of mizuna, they’re Japanese mustard greens) The size of the salad was ample, especially the number of beets that were included.

For my main course I chose Emilia Romagna Style Orecchiette Pasta – meatloaf Bolognese/San Marzano tomatoes/24-month aged parmesan. (WW rarely comments on a particular dish but this pasta was so good I actually took my unfinished portion home which is very rare.)

None of us selected a dessert.

The restaurant seems to have a substantial liquor and wine selection.
Carol said the glass of Chablis she ordered was very good.

One of the things from the menu that drew all of our attention was in a section called “Clarity Crafted Cocktails.” The item is called a Jailbreak Old Fashioned – Clarity’s own whistle pig, 30325, 17-year rye, 111p gin barrel aged bitters/organic raw sugar. Cost, $34.

Our server told us that the menu changes every day and so WW decided to find out whether that is true. WW found the menu from October 1st online and received the menu for the 5th when we had lunch at the restaurant on that date.

The Clarity menu has three sections – Firsts, Mains, Desserts.

The bottom line – in comparing the menus for the 1st and 5th, WW finds that two-thirds of the items in each section are the same in the two menus. And the selections that are different in each menu are different than the same items when comparing the two.

For example, in the menu for October 1st, the two items that are different in the First section are Roaster Squash Soup and Cove Main Mussels. On the menu for October 5th the two items that are in the First section are Parsnip Potage and Florida Pompano.

There are separately identified restrooms for men and women.

The men’s room is standard. The wall has a painted red stripe several inches wide around the entire room just above waist height. Above the stripe the wall is painted grey and below the stripe the wall is covered with very large grey tiles. There is also a painted yellow stripe around the whole room close to the ceiling.

Directly to the right of the door is a rectangular white ceramic wash basin intended to be used by one person at a time. There is a mirror above the wash basin. The floor is covered with rectangular wood tiles.

There is a separate hanging white ceramic urinal with a small wall separating it from the wash basis area.

A separate commode area has a separate door and partial metal walls. Within the commode room there is a white ceramic floor-based commode with appropriate silver metal wall hangers.

Interestingly, Italian language classes were being piped into the speakers in the rest rooms.

442 Maple Ave E
Vienna VA 22180