Cameron Quick Wrote:
> I worked at the Season's Restaurant in Fairfax
> City (which is the old Barbour House) and I
> personally experienced what I truly believe was a
> ghost encounter.
> It was about 2pm and I was cleaning the table in a
> room called the Library. I was alone in the room.
> I reached across the table to move the salt and
> pepper shakers over so that I could wipe the table
> down...and as I moved them...I pulled my hand away
> and they moved back about 6 inches by themselves!!
> I then...astonished...immediately grabbed them
> and moved them again...and they moved again 6
> inches across the table!!! I dropped the towel
> and ran!
> There are several other encounters from the people
> that worked there over the years. I once heard
> the door open and shut and and nobody was around
> to do it..near closing time. That happened about
> a week before the other incident. I have thought
> I've seen things, thought I've heard things...but
> never have I seen an object move by itself right
> in front of me...not once...but twice! I will
> always surely believe what I saw that day!
I found this old article about the place in the Fairfax Times today...
Seasons Reflects its Haunted Past
The presence of Seasons Restaurant at the Barbour House on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax City is magnificent from the street. Lights flood the soft yellow exterior, casting a regal glow to the entrance. Inside it's a step into history in a house that was once a home to injured Union soldiers hiding from the confederate forces.
Oh yes, the place is also haunted with ghosts; good-ghost tales are dinner conversation with the staff. Unfortunately an apparition took over the kitchen the night I visited.
We learned from our first server all about a ghost named William who roams about the upstairs. Then he pointed to the seat that my guest was seated in, and said that was Ms. Barbour's chair in the library. Ms. Barbour has been known to visit downstairs and throw the books off the shelves that she didn't like. (That's calmed down since they took those out and replaced them with books she gave her silent approval to.) Our favorite was the collected work of Gilbert and Sullivan.
On this Thursday evening, it was not easy for the person answering the phone to add a party of two at 7:30 p.m. After some thought and a sigh, we got a reservation. When we arrived we were taken to the library to a table of four in the corner by the bookshelf--Ms. Barbour's table. In the room were a table of seven for a birthday celebration, a party of six and two businessmen. What we didn't notice were the other tables leaving after complaining bitterly about the noise level of the seven. The party of seven even apologized to us about their clamor when they finally left. It was noticeable to us--and a problem for my guest, but halfway through dinner we had been able to tune them out.
My appetizer was a Brazilian shrimp dish--shrimp wrapped in bacon and served in a citrus sauce. It looked pretty, but the taste failed to match the image coming from the plate. The plate itself was cool to the touch and the shrimp were barely heated past warm. The shrimp were tough, as if they had been pre-cooked and warmed again for service.
The calamari was the star of the evening. The promised light breading came just as advertised--light, pleasant and not greasy. The circles of squid are cut open and cooked as a straight piece--stick-like in appearance. Each bite was amazingly tender and the dish came to the table hot and ready to enjoy. It's the best calamari I've had in quite some time.
For dinner I ordered the crab cakes, a test for a Southern-style restaurant with a sister establishment in Williamsburg, Va. The crab cake is listed as lump and back fin crab meat--what I got was minced crabmeat and filler formed into a cake--it reminded me of the texture of a salmon croquette from school days. Most places leave their lump crab meat in tact for the blending with the recipe's ingredients. The plate was cool to the touch and the crab cakes warm. They had a fishy taste and I ate one of three. My guest had the scallops with Gruyere and bacon and the server graciously honored her request to leave out the bacon. This dish arrived hot to the touch as it should--right from the kitchen (following the restaurant maxim: Hot food, Hot plate). But, the cheese so completely covered the scallops that as the temperature cooled, the plate became a blob of cheese with scallops hidden underneath. The scallops had turned to a rubbery texture and had a slightly metallic taste. It is difficult to measure the taste with the large amount of cheese and the fact that they were overcooked beyond being able to eat. My guest ate the vegetables and one-third of the scallops.
The server returned some time later and asked if we were done. With a yes from the two of us, she took away our plates into the kitchen. Many chefs inspect the plates coming back into the kitchen-- demanding to know why food is not eaten. Sometimes when a portion of a good meal is too large for me to finish and taking it home is not convenient, I will make sure the server knows that I am full and that the food left is not a reflection on the kitchen.
For dessert we tried the apple crisp with ice cream-- and it followed the course of the rest of the meal. We ate the ice cream and left the crisp with its stale topping alone. The server did make us a pot of fresh coffee--that was much appreciated.
The dinner with tip was $100 and would have been a disappointment at any price---ghosts or no ghosts. The server mentioned that the dessert menu was being overhauled and would change soon. That was obvious from the difference in pricing from the dinner menu, which had higher prices for two of the same wines offered on both menus. Maybe the kitchen is going through a transition as well. I am not sure, since I went in as a regular dining customer without warning. I'll go back in a few weeks for another look at Seasons. That's fair--and I'll do it on my dime and report on these pages the changes found. Let's hope they can keep the ghosts away from the kitchen.
Seasons Restaurant at the Barbour House
4069 Chain Bridge Road, City of Fairfax
Parking: Tight and limited in side lots--not an easy turn around.
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive: appetizers, $6 to $9 and entrees, $15 to $20 and above
Smoking: The restaurant does offer a smoking section.
Note: The house is haunted