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Charlottesville, VA

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#101 porcupine

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

Shenandoah Joe Coffee is not a bad place to stop when passing through the area.  Pleased to see that they do pour-overs; more pleased when the barista asked which roast I want.  The choices were dark or darker.  Total geek that I am, I asked if I could smell some beans.  He had no problem with that.  They were oily and almost black and smelled that way so I asked for (and got) something lighter.  Great cup.  Meanwhile, I asked who roasts the beans, expecting an answer like Counter Culture or Lexington or whatever.  The answer was "uh, his name's Dave; he's sitting at that table over there."

 

Gotta love small independent shops.


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#102 Joe H

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:43 PM

That was really good!



#103 ktmoomau

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 08:27 PM

Yum, yum, yum!  Had a really good meal at Public Fish and Oyster.  The space it open and really cute.  Nice selection of oysters.  They had four sauces for the oysters: horseradish, rose mignonette, apple mignonette, cocktail.  I really liked the apple mignonette.  They also had a nice bread selection.  For entree I had the olive oil poached halibut with mussel pan sauce, leek, mushroom and Anson Mill grits that were so sinful.  The dish was really good.  Matt had the Thai mussles which were also really good, and their fries were tasty.  


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#104 Seanchai

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:10 AM

Really looking forward to trying Public Fish and Oyster with my wife without the kids if I can finagle a babysitter.  My older son has an expensive taste for fresh seafood and high sense of entitlement;  I blame his mother of course.


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#105 Joe H

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 11:27 PM

The single best restaurant in the Charlottesville area right now is the Ivy whose chef/owner was nominated for a Mid Atlantic James Beard award this year.  We had a 12 course tasting menu that was extraordinary.  On Monday eve ning every single one of the 50-60 seats was filled-the restaurant is known and has a very real loyal following.

 

At this point I believe I have been to every Charlottesville area winery and my absolute favorite is Grace Estates which also has the most spectacular setting and view of any of them.  This may seem difficult to believe given the views and settings of King Family, Veritas, Pollak and Afton but Grace, a 20,000 square foot Georgian mansion on the plateau top of a 1100' mountain with 30+ mile views is spectacular.  Their '12 PV and '12 Tannat are among the best '12's in the state and bothv ery reasonably priced in the mid to high '20's.  '13 from the barrel will challenge for the Governor's Cup next year as VA's best wine.  Jake, the winemaker, was at Pollak until a couple of years ago.  He had several wines in VA's Governor's Case.  He'll win it at Grace.

 

Grace Estates is virtually unknown but a true destination, I think the primary destination of a any Charlottesville area winery followed by Barboursville and Keswick, possibly Pollak also.  



#106 plarkins

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:24 PM

My wife and I visited Charlottesville over this past holiday weekend. It was our first prolonged visit and really enjoyed it. I wish I had gone to Grace Estates. Ended up going to Keswick, Barboursville, Pollack, and Afton. Nothing really stood out. Reinforces my opinion Linden, Glen Manor, and Delaplane are the best all-around vineyards/wineries in the state (RDV too but I haven't been). I know Barboursville makes great wine not available for tasting, so I'll give them a pass...considering they set up their tasting room for quanity over quality (zoo over zen). I did like their pinot gris and Italian reds (I regret not buying some since they turned out to be the better wines of the trip). After doing their tasting, I had terrible palette fatigue so I didn't enjoy Pollack and Afton's wine as much as I would have probably. It is a beautiful area, the whole region. I guess I'm just biased to Jim Law and his apprentice's wines.

 

We did do Ivy Inn and enjoyed the food a lot. However, dining out on the patio was awkward. Its a rectangular brick patio that is obviously shaped well for larger events. For normal dining, it was a bit too spacious and we were sat at a table with leaves extended. It could have sat 6 people, so it also was awkwardly spacious. The meal started with a tasty amuse bouche of pimento cheese on a cracker. We split an app (crispy fried holloumi cheese), salad (local heirloom greens), one pasta (gnocchi with Polyface chicken and Rock Barn andouilli), and a dessert (peach crisp w/ ice cream). Everything was very good. Just wish we could have tried more dishes, but we were still carrying lunch in our stomachs from the destination worthy BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. An easy stop if going to Barboursville, Keswick, or other nearby wineries.

 

Other places we ate at were:

Petit Pois - wife raved about the trout amandine and I had a very good pork loin not listed on the website menu. Portions were fairly large.

Blue Mountain Brewery - really nice but large, busy setting. Beer was alright. I had the kolsch but have enjoyed better ones locally (Mad Fox). Food was more than adequate for a brewery.

Shenandoah Joe - wife enjoyed her pour-over. nice, spacious interior. I don't drink coffee so can't add much.

Carpe Donut - all organic doughnuts with originally one flavor (cider cake donut rolled in cinnamon sugar); initially sold from a food truck or catering now with a tiny storefront in an interesting refurbished (faux?) low density industrial park. They had two new flavors in the store (maple glazed and bourbon), but preferred the original. The donuts were a bit spongy for my taste. One donut was cooked longer/hotter and had a crispier exterior than the others, so that one was the best.

Bizou - nice setting on the mall, but no tables with shade so we ate inside. Perhaps a bit outdated of an interior, but the food was surprisingly very good. I hadn't reviewed this place prior to our visit. It was brunch so had an excellent vegetable frittata. really fresh and little dots of roasted red pepper sauce made it stand out.

 

one more note on wine. I was surprised how cheap bottles of VA wine were at the restaurants. Generally not more than 50% additional cost from retail..most seemed less. Lots to choose from too. Cville really does take local to the next step.



#107 Joe H

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 12:35 AM

I believe that there is a different model in Charlottesville wineries:  going to the winery and having a view of the mountains with either a tasting or buying the cheapest bottle available.  Most wineries have a good bottle but on three visits in the last four months it is a rarity when someone buys anything more than the cheapest to drink.  Overall, I totally agree with plarkins above:  Jim Law has passed on different standards for Linden/Delaplane/Glen manor and RDV.  I believe the finest wine in the entire state (fine by any definition-not just VA) is being made fifty miles west of the beltway off of I 66.  Certainly, one of the most beautiful places on earth, too.  I'd also add Hillsboroughs and their Onyx to this list.  I was at Delaplane several days ago and he has two of the best wines in VA:  his 2012 Williams Gap red and his 2013 Petit Manseng.  Linden's 2010 Hardscrabble Red is the best he has ever made ('10 Boisseau, too) and Jeff White at Glen Manor is quietly setting the standard for everyone else in the state.  '10 Hodder Hill, '10 Petit Verdot, '12 Petit manseng.  Both linden and Glen Manor have superb late harvest dessert wines well worth trying a bottle of.

 

The Washington Post's recent major attention to the above wineries is more than warranted.  We are extremely fortunate that they are so close to us.  And so serious about what they make.


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#108 plarkins

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 05:31 PM

drifting off target, but I'm glad you mentioned petit manseng. The '13 at Delaplane is awesome. And recently tried Glen Manor's '13 petit manseng too. Jeff's wife, Kelly, paired it excellently with candied ginger in the tasting room. Currently, I much prefer the pm's over Virginia's viognier.


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#109 ktmoomau

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 01:12 PM

We didn't do a lot of eating out this trip, but I wanted to point out a couple fun places if you are up near Barboursville winery.  First Grelen Farm Market is a really nice greenhouse/orchard/market.  They have a small selection of food.  I just had a cookie, but the menu didn't look bad.  We ended up eating lunch at Stonefire Kitchen.  It was a great lunch stop and would be well worth a stop for picnic provisions to take to a winery if you didn't want to eat in.  It was pretty busy on Saturday, so you may want to call in your order if you are taking out.  They had a great selection of sandwiches, salads and they had a couple seasonal soups.  They also had a large selection of beer, wine, other beverages and small baked goods.  I had a turkey and dill havarti sandwich with homemade apple chutney and spinach.  It was really good.  MIL's turkey and rice soup looked really good too.  FIL had corned beef that was obviously homemade and looked really good.  


But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
www.rrbmdk.com
www.katelintaylor.com


#110 LauraB

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 01:04 PM

This past Saturday afternoon, on our back roads trip to Staunton, we were looking for lunch while passing by the northern edge of Charlottesville, after a visit to Barboursville Vineyards.  I pulled up DR.com on my iPhone and determined that we were very near Sedona Taphouse (thanks to ktmoomau for posting about this upthread).  This turned out to be a perfect choice.  This restaurant is way better than you'd expect from a venue located in a strip mall.  The restaurant is very sleek and has a nice patio, and since it was an absolutely gorgeous day, we chose to eat on the patio.  Even though the patio is right next to the parking lot, we didn't feel like we were dining next to a parking lot.  The service was friendly and efficient.  We both ordered tacos -- fish for me and pork for him. I also had a beer from their amazingly long beers on tap list; they also have an even longer list of bottled beers.  The food was quite good.  This is not a destination, but should you find yourself in the vicinity, this is a good choice.  



#111 Seanchai

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 09:07 PM

Pizza in Charlottesville has long been problematic.  Before Christian's became a local chain it had decent gourmet pizza by the slice, but most of the Charlottesville pizza places seemed to aim at the low-hanging fruit of the UVA student who needed to either to soak up the booze or grab a quick study break.  Being from NYC I am of course an expert on pizza (if you don't believe me, just ask me), and so was forced to go on two hour field trips to Two Amys, Pupatella, Pizzeria Orso, Ghibellina, etc. for excellent Neapolitan/ Neapolitan-style pizza (if not my mythical NYC ideal which is actually located in the pizza ovens of Apizza Scholls in Portland, OR, but I digress).

 

Now, when I get a craving for this style of pizza, I have an excellent option right here in Charlottesville:  Lampo (http://www.lampopizza.com) ,  Located in a tiny 22 seat building just over the Belmont bridge from the Downtown Mall, it's run by a bunch of cooks formerly from excellent local restaurants that are executing at a pretty high level right out of the chute with the authentic high heat oven imported from Italy.  I'm not saying it's better than those listed above (especially being a little more than a week old), buit I think it would certainly hold its own in a blind taste-off.   Open Monday — Saturday, Lunch 11 - 3    Dinner 5 - 12

 

The crust has spotted charring and the light, chewy texture you would hope for.  It's a small menu with a lot of cross-polination between antipasti, sandwiches, pizzas and charcuterie.  The polpettine was amazing as an antipasti (about 6 small meatballs served with marinara and pecorino) and so look forward to trying it on the panuozzi and pizza.  We had the Diavola, Margharita and Prosciutto pizzas, which were all excellent with my favorite being the Diavola.

 

Charlottesville has already discovered it;  get here early or late to grab one of the few seats.


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#112 astrid

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 12:01 PM

Had good meals at The Local and Parallel 38.  The Local is in my mind farm-to-table done really well, neither too austere nor too sloppy, both possible pitfalls of lesser restaurants. It's also considerably cheaper than its competitors in Charlottesville.  Latitude 38 offered somewhat more exotic fare, mostly in small plates but also had a number of larger plates at similar to small plate prices.  All the offerings were quite good and the larger plates (only available at brunch) were good deals.

 

I would rank both well above a rather unsatisfactory meal at Ivy Inn.


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#113 Seanchai

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 12:30 PM

Had good meals at The Local and Latitude 38.  The Local is in my mind farm-to-table done really well, neither too austere nor too sloppy, both possible pitfalls of lesser restaurants. It's also considerably cheaper than its competitors in Charlottesville.  Latitude 38 offered somewhat more exotic fare, mostly in small plates but also had a number of larger plates at similar to small plate prices.  All the offerings were quite good and the larger plates were good deals.

 

 

Ate recently at the Local for the first time in a while and you're exactly right.  Nothing fancy but great ingredients very well executed.



#114 johnl

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:03 PM

There's a lot to like in Charlottesville. I'm just going to start a little list and tag it as "Charlottesville" as I go. Can I accomplish that by simply putting the word "Charlottesville" in the body?

 

So, I made notes about Italian over here. I'll start Asian here.

 

(1) Peter Chang landed here for a while, unannounced, as many readers know because folks on this board have documented  his moves and popular media folks such Calvin Trillin's New Yorker articles noted them, too. Although we personally learned of his arrival at Taste of China not because of the chatter on DR (before my time), nor Trillin's article (though I've been reading the NYer since the '60s), nor because of Chang's name, but because our daughter said she'd gone to a local Chinese place and had extraordinary food ("Dad, you'll like it, 'cause there's hot things that have flavor, presentation, and all that"); so we went and waited to get a table and it was great...then we got the Trillin article about a week later and realized we'd seen the medals on the wall...went back repeatedly with longer and longer waits and wait staff coming from 90 minutes away. Now there's one of his storefronts here (Barracks Rd Shopping Center North: http://www.peterchan...lottesville.com). Some of our friends fret about the quality assurance across Mr. Chang's multiple locations. Is it as good as when he oversees the kitchen himself? I dunno, but it's still the best Chinese in this little college town, as far as I'm concerned. 

 

(2) My and Hip Fam have a wonderful Viet-Thai place near the U.Va. "Corner" on 14th St. It's called Lemon Grass and one can find it by wandering around the interface between the U.Va. grounds and the neighboring shopping area until one finds a railroad underpass; walk one block east and it's under the parking garage. It's another typically tiny C'ville spot. It's very busy during lunch, because it's popular with the medical school folks. Not expensive, no great wine selection, but very tasty. Lunch and dinner. Closed during typical U.Va. vacations-long holidays. No reservations. The owners are almost always on site and very helpful. 

 

(3) Don't miss Now and Zen, just off the Down Town Mall, across from the McGuffy Art Center on 2nd St. NW. or venerable Tokyo Rose in the Ivy Square Shopping Center just west of the University of Virginia area on Ivy Rd.



#115 johnl

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 07:51 PM

To the Moderators: I think that Charlottesville deserves its own thread.  A lot of us in DC spend a fair amount of time there and it's just not all that far away.  And, some of us may be moving there in the not-too-distant-future.... :ph34r:

 

LauraB, thanks. There are lots of good opportunities for dining here in Charlottesville. Many folx visit C'ville for special events (e.g., U.Va. graduation) and just for a quick get-a-way. 

 

I'd be happy to contribute what I know from having eaten at many of what I consider to be the best places many times. It'd be great to get DR.com folks' comments about these places in an organized part of the board.  

 

In addition, C'ville has garnered recognition from 

And a whole batch of others

 

Now I'm not a travel promoter or any such (just an eater who works at the local industry giant (U.Va.), but I am an advocate for this little 'ville. I'd guess we have as high a ratio of good restaurants per capita as just about anywhere. Sure, it's because we're a little place—only a coupla-100 thousand. 



#116 lizzie

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 08:58 AM

The Local is a favorite of ours in C-ville. We had several pasta dishes recently that were perfect comfort food on a very cold Saturday (and eased a bit the pain of the loss to Duke.)  It also has a great beer selection.  We like Feast (416 W. Main) for sandwiches.  My UVA daughter gets take out from Lemon Grass (mentioned above) a lot. I appreciate the recent postings - gives us many more places to try over the next few years.


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#117 johnl

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 07:28 AM

Yep, we like The Local a lot. One can have a lot of fun right there in that little section of Belmont with Tavola, Tomas Rahol's Mas, and The Local all scrunched together within a few steps of each other. 



#118 johnl

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 08:02 AM

Really looking forward to trying Public Fish and Oyster with my wife without the kids if I can finagle a babysitter.  My older son has an expensive taste for fresh seafood and high sense of entitlement;  I blame his mother of course.

We had a nice dinner there a few weeks ago. After a few dozen oysters—most went down friend John's and my gullets', though a few were had by our fabulous dates—we had quite good plates and really good desserts. 



#119 johnl

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 10:10 AM

I had lunch for the third time at the Oakhurst Inn yesterday. It's right where Emmett dumps into JPA as JPA, coming north turns toward the hospital, so it's just a brief walk from my office. Jeanette Peabody (back to cheffery after a stint making cheese that followed her fabulous run at Billy and Kate Hamiltons' place) and her partner built a new building and converted several houses in the neighborhood into a for-real inn with nice rooms.

 

They converted the first floor of one of the houses into a lovely little eating space. The menu is not extensive, as you can see on the part of the site devoted to dining, but the things I've had (Garden Wheat sandwich and Arugula Salad sans chicken) were flavorful and satisfying. Pleasant wait staff. I think it merits a breakfast test. 

 

For folks visiting U.Va. who are not particularly interested in the nightlife of The Corner area, it might be a great choice as a place to stay. There's not much to do for entertainment in the immediate neighborhood, so it would be a car trip for dining—or use the free trolley that stops across the street and go to the downtown mall. For access to U.Va., one would be within a few 100 meters of the south lawn (much of arts and sciences), engineering, and education.



#120 johnl

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Posted Yesterday, 11:28 PM

I don't think that I mentioned that Pat and I had dinner with four friends at the C&O here in Hookville in late February 2015. We were seated in the mezzanine, near the large stove at the entrance and, because it was a chilly night, that was nice. I don't know if there was a seating upstairs in the "formal" dining area, but there were things happening in the bistro space downstairs (a long-time favorite space). In the spring, summer, and fall, the outside space is nice, but it was not a good choice in the 25-degree weather when we dined there.

 

When we moved to C'ville in the late '70s, the C&O was one of the two only reasonably good places to dine. Other than steak-and-chops places, you would go to diners and dives or the C&O or the Gas Light. The Gas Light is gone. The C&O has been through many variations since then, but it has maintained standards for pretty good quality. Sure, there's been variation. Recently, though, Dean Maupin took it over from Dave Simpson (Dave died a couple of years ago) and it's taking on a new menu and style. Dean Maupin has an extraordinary history in the local food scene, as documented by The Hook

 

And the food we had on our recent visit merits high regard. Mr. Maupin has maintained the old C&0 veg soup and it still seems to have the mystery ingredients (soy or tamari?). We had some Yukon Gold potato ravioli that had wonderful flavors and textures as another app (I had the French Onion Soup sauce held, because the helpful waitron said, "Oh...there's stock in that, John. Skip it. The kitchen can work with you."--but I bet the flavors would have been even more interesting with it included). The Brussels Sprouts app was wonderful, too, as was the warmed Artichoke Hearts. 

 

We did have entrées, too. I had a filet of salmon with shrimp that had a mixed spicy and tart sauce. (I see that the current menu is Roasted Arctic Char and Grilled Shrimp with a tamarind-ginger relish,‏ avocado salad; sounds very similar). Very good, though I asked that the kitchen send it out as rare as the health department would allow, and it came out pretty much medium well. Stuff keeps cooking, you know. (Though I didn't say anything, I can predict the subtle notes: Kitchen blames the wait staff. Wait staff blames the kitchen. Most folks have heard it before.) It still was good. 

 

Our friend Elaine, who is no longer there, built a wonderful wine list. Don't be afraid to ask for the premium list, just for a look. It's fun. We stuck with a couple of bottles of good Sancere.

 

Great deserts! 

 

Sheesh, we were there  for more than 3.5-4 hours. 







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