Nestled away in Arlington are a strip of restaurants called the Village at Shirlington. There is an impressive roster of lucky eateries that snagged this prime real estate, but Copperwood Tavern, in my opinion, happens to be the shining star. From the homey interior with plenty of Southern charm to the carefully curated menu centered around the bounty from local farms, Copperwood Tavern is a solid restaurant through and through…
There are several little quirks that make Copperwood Tavern interesting and fun, but my favorite is the complimentary BBQ popcorn that starts every meal – even brunch. Seasoned with a homemade BBQ spice blend, this popcorn is smoky, salty, and delicious. I secretly wish Copperwood sold this blend, so I could season every bowl I pop at home with the stuff. They also have some adorable mini cornbread muffins, which were almost too cute to eat, but I ate them anyways.
The next aspect that deserves applause before we get to the food are the drinks. Copperwood touts an exciting and impressive cocktail list. I ordered The Sutton, made with Virginia Belle Isle Moonshine, egg white, muddled blackberries, and fresh lemon. Copperwood takes pride in their moonshine selection, and this cocktail displayed the beverage perfectly. My friend opted for the Southern Sparkler with Firefly Peach Moonshine, house-made pear syrup, and sparkling wine. I snagged a few sips of this one, and it was also fantastic. The house-made pear syrup, which was flavorful and not too sweet, was a nice touch.
For an appetizer, I ordered the Deviled Duck Eggs and the Tavern Salad. The Deviled Duck Eggs topped with smoked bacon that is butchered in-house, was absolutely delicious. The filling was creamy and luscious, and the bacon was out of this world. I would like to call myself a bacon connoisseur, and I can say without a shred of doubt that this was some of the best bacon I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. The Tavern Salad with fresh cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, pomegranate seeds, and a citrus vinaigrette was absolutely delightful and the perfect contrast to the deviled eggs.
For the entrée round, I selected the Ossobaw Pork Chop, Duck Breast, and Fried Brussels Sprouts. The Ossobaw Pork Chop, maple-brined with an ancho-chili rub, apricots, and mustard was a beautiful behemoth. The entire chop weighs in at about 14 ounces, and would be a great dish to share. Each bite was extremely juicy and packed with flavor, which is not usually the case with pork chops.
The Duck Breast was plated with cherries, almonds, and balsamic vinegar, and had a very interesting flavor. The sweetness of the cherries provided great contrast to the fatty and luscious duck breast, and the balsamic vinegar did a great job of imposing one last taste of tartness. Each bite was very well-rounded and refined.
The Fried Brussels Sprouts with crispy shallots and more of that saintly bacon was easily one of the highlights of the meal. The sprouts were fried to perfection, and had a beautiful wispy, crunchy texture to them. These were also seasoned with a maple-mustard vinaigrette, which added nice flavor.
The dessert menu has a respectable amount of gluten-free options. I did not try any on this occasion, but for future reference, you can and should opt for the sinful Chocolate Trio, with flourless dark chocolate cake, raspberry, milk chocolate mousse, raspberry couli, and white chocolate ice cream because it sounds too good to be true.
Due to their focus on local produce, and forging relationships with local farmers, Copperwood Tavern has a wide variety of fresh produce and sourced meat, making the place very gluten-free friendly. While I have only dined at Copperwood for dinner, I have my eyes on brunch next.