Fugosa - At Loudoun Valley Vineyards

Fugosa specializes in small plates



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Tapas Time

Fugosa specializes in small plates

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A little salsa can go a long way.

So it is with Thomas Venable, who launched his career making salsas. Now, Venable has begun hosting a weekends-only bistro in Loudoun Valley Vineyards' tasting room, where the self-taught chef and former graphic designer delivers a tidy list of appealing small plates.

Chilly black-bean-and-cilantro salad ($10) is spruced with the tropical ambrosia of Venable's mild mango-pineapple salsa. Crisp rings of cornmeal-crusted calamari ($12) are served with a rémoulade spiked with Venable's Fugosa salsa, a smoky mix of roasted tomato, jalapeño and garlic.

A trio of beef sliders ($11) layers thinly sliced Angus round roast from Martin's in The Plains on house-made brioche with caramelized onions and horseradish sauce. The chef also nods to Spanish tapas with gambas al ajillo ($14), a generous plate of shrimp splashed with chile oil and finished with rum and butter to mellow the garlicky punch.

Many of the dishes pair fittingly with LVV wines. Try the raspberry-lush Syrah ($26) with the sliders. Floral Chardonnay ($22) stands up to the herbaceous Parmesan- and panko-crusted chicken tenderloin ($11).

Soon Venable's spices will linger even longer: The winery will begin selling the salsas next month.

Fugosa (at Loudoun Valley Vineyards), 38516 Charles Town Pike, Waterford; 540-882-3375 or fugosa.com

Editor's note: Fugosa is closed.


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