The Majestic, 911 King St., is housed in an historic and iconic storefront in Old Town. The building has undergone many iterations but reopened in May 2016 under the skillful management of Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP). John Gadonas opened the original Majestic Café at 622 King Street in 1932. He reopened the New Majestic Café at 911 King Street in 1949. Mr. John altered the building to enlarge the interiors, added an Art Deco façade, and outfitted the diner with the latest restaurant equipment and furnishings. The restaurant closed in 1978. A group of local investors refurbished and reopened it as The Majestic Café in 2001. At that time, two 25’ tall exterior neon signs were rebuilt, and third neon sign from the original 1932 Majestic storefront was also refurbished, and remains in perfect working order, hanging in our front window.
Walk into the warm, cozy dining room and bar and check out the restored tin ceiling and period pictures on the walls. It’s a step back in time. The open kitchen in the back gives you a good look at the dishes being served. The kitchen is very much today with its offerings. The menu has something to suit every taste. Don’t miss the bar menu which offers a variety of house cocktails, wines, and several local beers on tap including Port City. Nikki, the Manager, and Sarah, our server, prepared our table for the wealth of food to come.
We settled in with a variety of dishes known as Nibbles. The Deviled Eggs are an intriguing combination of deep fried egg whites filled with a mixture of pickled celery and buffalo sauce, and topped with crispy fried chicken skin. They will make you rethink your opinion on which came first, the deviled egg or buffalo wings. Another Nibble includes the Skillet Baked Brie garnished with spiced tree fruit and served with crostini. There is no better way to eat brie as far as I’m concerned. The fruit adds a touch of sweet and tart to the rich oozing cheese. Order the Fried Manzanilla Olives with pimentón aioli to share. These little breaded and fried olives add a piquant kick to your meal.
We moved to the Starters menu and tried the Escarole Caesar. The salad was tossed with a classic garlic dressing, garnished with anchovy
palmiers, and adorned with florets of teté de moine cheese from Switzerland. If you love Caesar, this is one you should add to your list of must-haves.
The Tuna Poke Bowl is filled with raw Ahi tuna, farro, summer greens, shredded cabbage, almonds, and brought together with a sriracha aioli. Mix it up and enjoy each spicy bite. The bowl is big enough for a light meal. I will always order the Charred Spanish Octopus served with warm chorizo-potato salad on a romesco sauce. The octopus was tender and ‑ rm with the beautiful char. The flavors create a perfect bite with each mouthful.
The Majestic offers daily dinner specials including their famous Sunday Supper. We had the Monday night special, Steak Frites with asparagus, truffle fries, and chimichurri. The steak is a flawlessly cooked tequila marinated skirt steak– tender and medium rare. A dab of the accompanying chimichurri makes it even better. The meaty and flavorful bone-in pork chop is served on a bed of butternut squash puree, green apple fritters, and a cider gastrique. Topping all this lusciousness is a bouquet of crisp fried Brussels sprout leaves. These Brussels sprouts chips are even better than roasted Brussels sprouts. This pork chop truly speaks to the quality of the locally sourced ingredients used in the kitchen. Would I have preferred the chop being cooked 30 seconds less, yes, but that’s me. The fritters were tasty but next time, I would like the apples peeled as the skin was a bit tough.
The Kabocha Squash Ricotta Gnocchi were lovely little pillows in a cream, mead, nutmeg, and honey sauce with buttered pecans. Each delicate bite was robed in this lightly sweet sauce, definitely a vegetarian pleasure. Another star on the menu includes the new Roasted Halibut served on a bed of purple mashed potatoes topped with sautéed spinach and pine nuts, with Cipollini onions on a lemon-caper beurre blanc. This kitchen knows how to cook fish, creating a delectable crisp finish on this flaky and flavorful white fish. Each bite of this dish was a well-thought out combination– a perfect symphony of flavors. The one change I would make is purely esthetic, the color of the tasty purple mash just wasn’t attractive. Don’t miss dessert.
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry would name pastry chef Rosa as Star Baker every week. The Majestic Coconut Cake is back in the best version ever. The lightly orange flavored layers are light and moist and frosted with a most decadent toasted coconut frosting. This is the ultimate in a coconut dessert. But, there are other choices if coconut is not your cup of tea. Try the new-on-the-menu Warm Apple Cobbler made with oatmeal crumble and topped with a salted caramel gelato. The dessert is like a hug from your grandmother. Warm, sweet, tart, and crunchy – just wonderful. And if you must have chocolate, don’t miss the Flourless Chocolate Cake made with Cornelia chocolate and served with a cherry compote and whipped cream. This is a rich, sticky, gooey cake that begs for a glass of port or a Nitro cold brew coffee.
The Majestic will warm your heart and ‑ fill your tummy with its wonderful food and service. Je Turner, the General Manager, is rightfully proud of his staff and kitchen. You can expect a fun atmosphere and a great meal whenever you choose The Majestic.
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