Give Us a Break

Kitbar thinks big but plates small

Conventional wisdom holds that too many cooks spoil the broth. But restaurateur B.J. Stone is an unconventional guy.

Instead of a traditional kitchen, the corporate dining alum democratized his new, independent venture, Stone's Cove Kitbar (shorthand for "Kitchen and Bar").

The most obvious change at the Herndon spot is the layout. The entire restaurant now features one contiguous counter separating diners from the ultimate open kitchen. All the cooking is done by an army of centrally located, fedora-clad "chef-tenders" who do everything, including food prep and assembly.

Like the mechanics of the restaurant, the menu deliberately blurs the distinction between food and drink.

"Edibations," Stone's edible libations, summon oyster-shooter-style mixtures. There are four per order, and each is served in a ceramic wonton spoon for easy slurping. The liquor-spiked proteins include tequila-splashed tuna ceviche ($7), and gorgonzola- and bacon-topped bites of caramelized beef ($10) bathed in bourbon.

Larger pates include cones filled with lobster salad, tangy salsa and guacamole ($9), and flatiron steak ($13) served over smoky grilled vegetables. We recommend adding a touch of house-made peri-peri sauce for acute heat.

Save room for dessert: Chocolate-peanut butter-cheesecake lollipops ($2) are a silky, one-bite treat.

Stone's Cove Kitbar, 2403 Centreville Road, Herndon; 703-434-3615 or stonescove.com