King Street Tavern; a fancy restaurant inside a Hilton Hotel


King Street Tavern is one of the many restaurants that participates in Alexandria’s Restaurant Week. This high end restaurant located on King Street inside of a Hilton Hotel offers a three-course dinner meal for only $35 and lunch for only $22 per person.

The food served is hearty American comfort food that reflects its elegant atmosphere through both the menu choices and the presentation of the food. The actual taste, however is only average.

For $22 lunch include a main course, drink (iced tea or soda), and dessert. For the main course, the options are a pub angus beef burger, a pretzel reuben, a tavern chicken sandwich, or – for a slightly healthier option – a chopped cobb salad. All meals except for the chopped cobb salad come with a side of either french fries, onion rings, or a small market salad.

For lunch dessert, choose between bread pudding with a homemade bourbon sauce or a chocolate lava cake.

Included in the $35 three-course dinner menu is a starter of a philly cheesesteak egg roll, brew fondue, caesar salad, or market salad.

My table ordered the brew fondue and the caesar salad.

With the fondue came a delicious sweet sourdough beer bread, a pretzel, and vegetables (carrots and celery) on a rustic wooden slab with a newspaper decoration. The texture of the cheese was creamy and the bread and pretzel were perfectly baked with a very satisfying flavor.

However, the cheddar cheese beer fondue was thinner than expected and it was runny,. It just dripped off of the bread, pretzel, and vegetables. The bread and pretzel paired with the cheese quite nicely, but the vegetables certainly did not belong. The crunch and bitter taste of the carrots and celery dipped in a smooth and savory fondue clashed.

The caesar salad was nothing to sneeze at, but really there isn’t much that can be done with a salad to make it exceptional. King Street Tavern made the salad with butter lettuce rather than traditional romaine lettuce and a decent dressing. What made it slightly better than normal caesar salads was the garlicky, crunchy croutons.

Next out came the fried chicken and grilled rib eye off of the dinner special menu, and the Tavern Chicken Sandwich from the regular menu, but is also offered on the special lunch menu.

Probably in attempt to enhance the fried chicken, it tasted abnormal and the textures were not what is expected in fried chicken. It was very lightly fried, decreasing the crispness and oily, greasy flavor, but covered in spices and strange seasonings. The actual chicken, though, was cooked well and was tender. The fried chicken came with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Fortunately, the mashed potatoes palatable and the vegetables were drenched in a finger-licking sauce.

The rib-eye was quite juicy and appealing with adequate flavor. Overall the steak was average, nothing too fancy but also not bland. On the side was the same vegetable mix that came with the fried chicken, as well as fried onions. These onions were certainly not traditional, but it in an enticing and enjoyable way. They were lightly fried strips of onions rather than rings, kind of like a garnish, but extremely tasty.

Lastly for our main course was the Tavern Chicken Sandwich on ciabatta bread with grilled queso fresco, tomato, arugula, and a dill pickle on the side. It came as three mini sandwiches with a side of beer batter fried onion rings. The flavors were pleasant, but the ratio of bread to chicken to arugula was poor.

First off, bread tasted good, but there was definitely too much of it. Secondly, the chicken was pretty dry and the spread on the bread was uneven and inconsistent. Finally, there was way too much arugula on each sandwich and the provolone cheese did not add much.

Onto dessert, we ordered the cheesecake and bread pudding. For the cheesecake, it was traditional New York style with a strawberry drizzle. We were quite excited to taste it, but to our disappointment it tasted similar to a boxed cheesecake from Giant. The drizzle wasn’t anything exceptional either, in fact it tasted like preservatives from a jar. The cheesecake factory definitely makes better cheesecakes.

Last, but not least we dove into the bread pudding which was warm and comforting. It was luscious and sweet, but it resembled the taste of a pleasing french toast. Fortunately, it wasn’t eggy and there were pecans which added flavor and a nice crunch.

Despite the subpar food, the decoration was elegant and sleek. This is not the type of restaurant to go to in sweats and a t-shirt, even though it is located in a hotel. King Street Tavern has a modern vibe to it with yellow undertone lights and lots of black and silver and dimmed decor, like the comfortable chairs. Even the bathrooms were elaborate and modern with automated toilets, paper dispensers, sinks, and soap dispensers.

The service matched the decoration and atmosphere of the restaurant; it was elegant and convenient, but a little bit boring. Our server barely talked, but they did their job quickly and efficiently. Our food came out as soon as we were ready for it, and the waiter was quiet, but pleasant.

Overall, I would not recommend this restaurant because the food lacked in flavor and uniqueness, but it’s still worth a shot. It might appeal more to those who are used to higher end foods and a fancy setting.

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