Amid the perpetual bumper-to-bumper traffic and block-after-block of business parks, an oasis has arisen bringing a heavy dose of flora to the concrete-heavy sprawl commonly known as Tysons Corner.
Greenhouse Bistro, a new restaurant from D.C. club owner Masoud Aboughaddareh, has been open just over a month now, located in the former Hunan Lion space in the “toilet bowl” building on Chain Bridge Road. Featuring a bright, open, window-filled dining room with rows upon rows of living herbs and microgreens on the walls, the concept lives up to its name – the restaurant itself resembles an actual greenhouse, with some extras.
There’s a 62-foot bar equipped with 20 beer taps, chock full of TVs in the center of the dining room, surrounded by high, family-style bar tables on one side and smaller tables for more cozy eating on the other. Behind the bar is a semi-private dining/gathering area with room for 30 plus a custom made farmer’s table that can seat 18. Out front, a patio featuring a floor with a built-in furnace is surrounded by a three-foot high glass wall, just the right height to prevent gusts of winds from blowing napkins and other items off tables. Sliding, folding glass doors can be fully opened to connect the patio to the dining room and future plans include a glass ceiling over diners to fully complete the greenhouse feel. And if that wasn’t enough, they gutted the shuttered mortgage company next door and converted it into a tea lounge featuring 20 types of teas, Illy coffee and small cold plates.
It’s safe to say there’s a lot going on at Greenhouse Bistro, and that includes the food.
The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Dale Schnell who created a menu that includes everything from pasta and pizza to seafood and sandwiches.
“I wanted to focus on healthy cuisine with local, fresh ingredients,” says Schnell whose menu features five types of salads, vegetarian appetizers and three vegan entrees. Traditionally heavier dishes are also evidence of this as an Atlantic cod main course, done with the flavors of paella, comes with stewed lima beans instead of rice. A starter of tempura avocado “fries” is served with a vegan ranch dressing and even the burger is a comparatively light creation. Rather than dressed up with bacon and fat-based sauces, the Akaushi beef (a wagyu breed of cattle Schnell says is the only kind served in the area) patty comes topped with a single slice of aged cheddar and fresh, crisp produce.
Greenhouse’s other popular dishes include a grilled octopus small plate with stewed tomatoes, squid ink bucatini cooked in lobster stock served head-on jumbo shrimp and a half-roasted chicken marinated in harissa for 24 hours. A brick oven pizza oven in the back of the open kitchen churns out a lineup of thin-crust pies that can be dressed up with close to 30 toppings including the restaurant’s hand-stretched mozzarella. For dessert, sugar-dusted ricotta beignets are served fresh out of the fryer with a strawberry-rhubarb dipping sauce.
Director of operations Daniel Hatem says he hopes Greenhouse can appeal to all sorts of diners, not just the typical, Tysons business crowd. “We offer three types of dining here,” he says. “Intimate dining outside on the patio, a bar where you can grab a beer, hang out and watch the game or a place inside to have dinner with the family.” And looking to further appeal beyond the after work, happy hour crowd, earlier this month Greenhouse introduced brunch, now served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.