Coming home for the summer has been great for many reasons, but particularly this one: getting to try new restaurants with my parents, who happen to pay for everything. Awesome. Last week I went with my family to Barrel and Bushel in Tyson's Corner Center, Virginia.

My brother is probably the pickiest eater I have ever met, with very few things pleasing him on a menu. My parents and I, on the other hand, happen to be huge foodies who will try anything. Often, marrying our tastes into a restaurant is pretty hard, so we typically go for American food with lots of variety if my brother at home.

Barrel and Bushel delivered options that please my brother, my parents, and I so much, we couldn't believe we had never found this place before. I told my colleagues at work the next day that I would describe Barrel and Bushel as American tapas, with an emphasis on seafood, and I think thats a pretty apt description. 

For those unfamiliar with Tyson's as you come off the metro, there's a grassy area surrounded by restaurants, and even a playground. Barrel and Bushel is right there, with outdoor seating, a great bar, and a great menu. 

Though I wish my family could have tried everything on the menu, I'll give you the highlights of what we did try, and what you should try as well.

72 Hour Pork Belly

As far as appetizers go, this one was a winner. Simply blocks of pork belly, they were finished with a maple glaze - it's a theme - and smoked until they fell apart at the touch of a knife. My brother even liked this, so it can definitely please the pickiest of eaters. 

Crab and Avocado Toasts

My first adventure into the land of avocado toast, this was a perfect first time. Crusty bread was topped with the perfect amount of avocado, as they don't skip at Barrel and Bushel. The avocado was topped with both lump crab meat and mango, the perfect summer twist on a classic toast.

Hot Chicken 

I certainly had order envy when our waiter brought this out for my dad. Instead of the traditional chicken and waffles, this plate was two pieces of bourbon French toast, two pieces of fried chicken, with a sweet kick and a syrupy amber-maple glaze to finish it off. Talk about winner winner chicken dinner.

Smoked Crab Cheese Soup

Lucky for me, I wasn't feeling very hungry, so I went with this soup. Chunks of ripe avocado, crispy bacon, and lump crab meat are piled into the bottom of the bowl. Then, a cheese-y, smoky, slightly spiced thick broth is poured over top, and at the end, this soup resembles more of a stew that can make you feel like its summer even on the coldest winter nights.


If a restaurant has a cheeseburger on the menu, no matter how fancy it is, we know it's fair game to bring my brother too. This cheeseburger didn't disappoint him, and as a fanatic, that's hard to do. The fries were cooked to a crisp, and were the perfect thickness to match the burger - just one step away from steak fries.

Grilled Romaine Salad

Madi Johnson

Every family has a salad eater, and in my family, that's my mom. The grilled romaine salad was topped with avocado, farmer's cheese, grilled tomatillo, and steak, and it was gone in about two minutes. Evidenced by the menu and the food around us, even the salads at Barrel and Bushel have their own spin to them.


milk, sorbet, dairy product, sweet, ice, chocolate, cream
Madi Johnson

We definitely did not want to skip dessert when the rest of the meal had been so delicious. Strawberry Rhubarb Panna Cotta, a Cheesecake Cone, and Salted Caramel Peanut Butter fudge bites - I don't think I could pick my favorite.

Madi Johnson

The strawberry rhubarb was the perfect mix of creamy and fruity, and was perfect for the hot summer night it was, and the perfect size, fitting into a small mason char. The cheesecake cone was the perfect spin on a classic dessert. Whipped into almost an ice cream texture and put in a waffle cone, it almost seemed like ice cream itself. The fudge is made in house at the restaurant, and the sea salt on top perfectly balanced all of the flavors.

And in case dinner doesn't seem like enough, Barrel and Bushel also offers brunch. I think that's next on my list of food adventures.