Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tom Sarris's Orleans House

Located in Rosslyn, Virginia, just over Key Bridge from Georgetown, at the corner of Lynn Street and Wilson Boulevard is Tom Sarris's Orleans House. This is NOT a buffet restaurant, a smorgasbord, or an all you can eat restaurant but it does have a salad bar that is included with every menu entree and the salad bar is offered as an all you can eat menu choice.

This is considered a "classy" restaurant with "real" restaurant ambiance, a liquor bar, and decor that resembles the balconied streets of New Orleans. At the center of the restaurant is a steamboat which is the two sided salad bar. Around the restaurant are some Washington artifacts such as a large "grandfather" clock from the historic Willard Hotel - a Washington landmark.

I include this restaurant on this site because it is the closest that you will find to a buffet restaurant in Washington, D.C. that is affordable. In a city with menu prices that exceed $50 to $100 per person, the all you can eat salad bar here is $8.00. Entrees start at $10.95 for beef ribs and you get the salad bar. The food is good, portions are adequate, and the salad bar let's you get your fill. The featured entree is Prime Rib in three different sized cuts.

The salad bar is just that - salad - several choices of lettuce, spinach, mixings, cheeses, and toppings. There are also prepared salads and an assortment of breads. The house dressing is a green creamy concoction that reminds me of a commercial dressing that has not been available for years - Green Goddess. It is very good.

We found this restaurant 25 years ago when we could no longer afford to go into the city and eat at the very nice, but extremely expensive assortment of restaurants serving stuffy foods in miniscule portions. At that time the small cut of prime rib was $6.95 - it is now around $15.00. Entrees are served with potatoes and the salad bar = anything more is extra. There are free refills on the ice tea (which seems to be standard everywhere but in the northeast).

You can go up to the salad bar as many times as you like, but the entree is consistently timed out to arrive as you are about to finish your first plate of salad. You still may go back for more, but the servers always seem not to be at ease as you do this when you are getting the salad bar with the entree. Over the years, we have found this to be the case at several restaurants in Virginia that include a salad bar . It is like an unspoken rule - one trip. No one has ever stopped us from going up again - and again. As the server seems to be timing the delivery of your entree by your salad I tend to break my own rule and fill my plate high on the first trip.

So if you are in Washington, DC on a budget and you are hungry - and you like salad - go over to Tom Sarris's Orleans House.


Anonymous said...

It is many years since a long since split and much lamented girlfriend's family took me to the Orleans House, but even then, it was quite good.

NYCGuy12 said...

Computer Desktop Clock

DickJr said...

Tom Sarris's Orleans House will be closing 1/15/2008. It is being demolished for a high rise.

Where else can yo have a full blown meal for 12-13.00?

It will be missed.

Robert A said...

How sad! When we first started visiting Washington, D.C. we could not afford any of the restaurants and then we saw an ad for Tom Sarris with unbelievable low prices for any area much less D.C.!

Despite recent increases in the prices on the menu, it was still a favorite!

Anonymous said...

Tom Sarris's Orleans House sucks - it is about time it closed. In the old days it was great - fantastic portions at a great price but it has succumbed to the pressures of price and quality - I went there a year ago for dinner - parking was impossible, service was terrible if not down right rude, food was poor - it had turned into a feeding trough for the ignorant - AVOID at all costs!!!

bobbi said...

i worked there many many years ago-when it opened-the owner's ex wife and business partner was a fine lady from new orleans-sad it closed

Anonymous said...

Nooooooooo! Say it isn't so. Orleans House was the ONLY thing worthwhile in the DC area... and one of the few things that didn't exist at taxpayer expense.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear about this. It was one of my favorites. Did they move somewhere else? If so, please give us their new address.

Writer said...

They are long gone. They did not move anywhere else.