Dispatch from Arlington: Binghamton Boys Bring the Bounty

Last year, I gave a mini-review of Liberty Tavern, the Arlington, VA flagship restaurant of two brothers who hail from Binghamton - the Fedorchaks.

Last week, I was back in Arlington for work, and took some colleagues with me for dinner at Lyon Hall, the brothers' French brasserie/German beer hall. I had an exciting conversation about the meal prior to leaving town with my buddy Dan, from Food and Fire, and was pumped to sample this menu, which features food not found on your typical Upstate NY slate.

Lyon Hall, you notice right away, is a very cool spot. It's a fairly cozy space, but very chic - a dark interior with marble floors, close-set tables, and subway tile. Because the tables are so close together, you can smell everything your neighbors are eating, which is a blessing and a curse. The food here smells divine, you guys. No joke. We ordered enough for probably seven or eight people for our four-top, but the mussels and macaroni and cheese on the table next to me where so intoxicating, I briefly flirted with stealing them.

One member of our party had scouted the menu prior to arrival, and was jazzed about the butcher's block, so that was our first order of business. The foie gras torchon was my favorite thing on this board, followed closely by a dollop of truffle mustard that was luxurious but not overpowering. The pate was silky and rich, processed just as the gods intended and absolutely wonderful.

The pile of prosciutto over in the corner was aged 18 months, and was almost as buttery as duck prosciutto - savory and sweet in almost equal measure, and very tender. Thin slices of salami were not only sweet from plenty of fennel, but also just a bit spicy, like a very refined pepperoni. A small dish of wild boar rillettes caused the most consternation at our table. Less challenging than it sounds, this was basically pork pot roast covered in a layer of fat. Smear that combo on a crostini and just let the pork fat sing, man.

Next up? Pork belly, of course! A lot of times, a pork belly appetizer will employ small chunks of meat either braised or fried, but Lyon Hall is not afraid to plunk down a fat cube of the good stuff.  E crispy pork was served over a bell pepper relish with chorizo and basil, the sweetness countering the unctuous richness of the meat. My colleague is a pretty reticent guy, but he actually giggled a tiny bit when he tasted this dish. That's a resounding recommendation, in my book. 

The Alsatian taste was pure comfort food: onions, bacon, and creamy cheese and herbs on flatbread. It was the most simple dish to hit our table all night, but a welcome flavor break from the richness of all the meat we had just plowed through. That may sound boring, but this flatbread was far from that. Its familiar flavors, bit of crunch, and herbal cleanness were just a nice break from the meats.

On the entree list, the schnitzel called my name. The short rib flirted with me. The sausage platter asked for my number. But I went home with duck cassoulet. The promise of confit duck leg AND smoked trotter sauce with creamy white beans was just too much to bear. I was impressed when I read that the executive chef of all the Fedorchak brothers' establishments is a Voltaggio alum, and if the skill illustrated in the charcuterie platter hadn't already proven his skill, this dish sealed the deal. The sauce enrobing the crispy breast, tender leg, and beans was incredibly complex, sweet from aromatic vegetables and acidic from long-cooked wine, garlicky and rich and so good I wanted to lick the plate long after I was completely full.

The root vegetables still retained some toothsomeness, and the texture of the confit leg was tender and juicy. The wonderful sausage was coarsely ground and intensely flavored with garlic, which could have overpowered the duck, but actually worked really well with the beans and vegetables. The breast was just a hair overlooked, unfortunately, but every other component of this was a masterpiece.

A shared side of barely sautéed Savoy cabbage with herbs and shallots was bright and just barely acidic - a perfect foil for the loads of rich, fatty meats we were luxuriating in.

Desserts were less spectacular. My s'mores napolean was so overpoweringly sweet and rich, I couldn't take more than a couple bites, although the cinnamon ice cream was yummy. The graham cookie component, in particular, seemed tough and too thick for the composition.

Overall, though, our feast at Lyon Hall was pretty exhilarating. You don't get a lot of brasserie-style food here in the states, and a lot of what we had here reminded me of the better meals I've had in Germany and France, so it's hitting the notes intended. Best of all, knowing this terrific food is being created, in part, by two hometown guys gives me hope that we could support a restaurant like Lyon Hall here in the Soutern Tier someday. I give Lyon Hall a nine on the BHS scale, because after a less pig-out meal, that dessert may not have struck me as so supremely sugary, and while the duck was overlooked, my main dish was aces anyway. My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!

Lyon Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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