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It’s that time of year, where I’m traveling to towns all over the East Coast, and when I can, I try a local place, and on Saturday, I was in Leesburg, VA and I stopped into the Lightfoot Restaurant.
Named to honor Francis Lightfoot Lee, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, this restaurant is located in the former Peoples National Bank, which opened its doors to Leesburg in 1888. The building has been restored to its Romanesque Revival Style grandeur, complete with doors of safes, safety deposit boxes, an old Victorian Bank. It is a formal yet comfortable space for a business, casual or romantic lunch or dinner. For Saturday lunch, most people were casually dressed (think polos and beige pants) with a semi-formal event happening upstairs.
I was there for lunch, and it was my first visit — So, I had a hard time deciding on going for a special or sticking to the main menu. I decided to stick to the main menu and order the “Lamb French Dip.” It is described on the menu as: Roasted Leg of Lamb thinly sliced and served on Grilled Sourdough with Caramelized Onions, Aged Provolone, Basil Aioli, au Jus on the side, served with Coleslaw and French Fries.
I ordered a Great Lakes Oktoberfest as I waited for the food. I was served a half dollar sized sticky roll (sticky bun) compliments of the house. A delicate cinnamon pastry covered with a drizzle of brown sugar/maple glaze with pecans. It was two or three spoonfuls of sweet heaven. Not too sweet glaze covered the lightly crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy inside pastry, and the pecans added some nutty depth.
When my meal arrived, I sampled the coleslaw and it was creamy, with a mild tang and nice bright crunch. Perfectly done slaw. A small piece of lamb hung from the sandwich so I tasted that, and the roast lamb was perfectly tender and juicy, with the right amount of earthy flavor. So, I dip, and eat, and uttered, “oh my god!” — now, I don’t usually utter aloud when seated alone, in fact, I didn’t realize I uttered aloud, until the couple near me asked if it was a “good or bad ‘OMG'” — it was the good kind. The sour dough, perfectly buttered and crispy grabbed the au jus but remained crunchy, the basil aioli added the right herb to my mouthful of rich, buttery,gamy lamb flavor, and provolone added a hint of salt. The au jus, made from the lamb drippings was deep and brought out both the lamb flavor and the savory caramelized onion. This was the best bite of food I’ve taken in years, and the starting bite quite possibly the best sandwich in my 45 year existence.
They were not stingy on the au jus sauce, so when I eventually finished my sandwich (which I purposefully ate slowly to get maximum enjoyment) I actually took a portion of my fries (which I don’t normally eat) and soaked them in the au jus bowl, because I wasn’t leaving a drop of that behind!!!
Turns out, I have friends in that area, so as I posted my review on my FB page –the recommendations start coming: Groovy meatloaf sandwich, Fried green tomato appetizer, “Better than Maryland” Crab Bisque, etc. As the suggestions rolled in, I knew I chose the correct lunch spot in Leesburg. And a trip I might take again JUST for a another bite of that lamb french dip!