The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

The 2019 Charlottesville 29

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The 2019 Charlottesville 29 is here, answering: if there were just 29 restaurants in the Charlottesville area, what would be the ideal 29?

For each restaurant entered, a guide explains why it was selected, and includes ordering tips from the restaurant’s chef/owner and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where other chefs or personalities have named a dish from that restaurant as one of the best in town. Where and what to eat in Charlottesville: The 2019 Charlottesville 29.

Five Finds on Friday: Cheley Napoli

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Cheley Napoli of The Bebedero, which is among the participants in this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Downtown. During Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl, a green wristband earns you discounts and specials throughout the day at downtown restaurants and shops, including The Bebedero. Free with a suggested donation to PB&J Fund, wristbands are available at Citizen Burger Bar, Spring Street Boutique, and The Hip Joint. For Sunday’s Paint the Town Green, there will be more specials and discounts, decked out shops and restaurants, and children’s fun like balloons, chalk, and activity stations. Event details here. Napoli’s picks:

1) Wasabi Roll at TEN. “I love seafood, especially when it comes to sushi. The wasabi roll is always my go-to because I love tuna and spicy/hot foods. It’s the perfect amount of heat, especially when you pair it with a great cocktail to cool you off. This is one of my favorite places to visit regularly as the staff, ambiance, and food are always great.”

2) Pepper and Garlic Shrimp at Peter Chang’s. “Is my absolute favorite! The steamed snow peas, hot peppers, leeks, red bell peppers, and asparagus make it spicy, light, and earthy. I always feel good after that particular dish. I love the Nigori Cold Sake with it. Perfect combination.”

3) Vegetarian Omelette at Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar. “Commonwealth is one of the best places to go to brunch. I love Chef Shanesy’s new brunch menu. The vegetarian omelette (with a side of bacon) is one of my favorite brunch dishes. I like vegetables, but I am by no means a vegetarian, so it’s a great balance. Pair that with a Bloody Mary and you have a well-balanced meal.”

4) Smoked Chicken Wings at The Whiskey Jar. “I love The Whiskey Jar because I am a hard-core bourbon fan. I love trying the different varieties and being able to get flights. They also just started barreling their own bourbons with Elijah Craig, which is super cool. Their wings are the best wings in Charlottesville hands down. It’s great place to just chill and feel comfort.”

5) Braised Lamb Shank at The Bebedero. “I am not trying to be biased but The Bebedero is the most beautiful, and passionately driven restaurant I have ever been a part of. From River’s art, incredible bartending, and beautifully crafted cocktails, to Chef Kelvino’s gorgeous and delicious plates it is a place unlike any other. My favorite things from here are the mezcals, one of my favorites being the Del Maguey Pechuga, and chef’s Lamb Shank. I love lamb, and he knocks it out of the park. So tender, it falls right off the bone. Yum. I also enjoy a scorpion shot every now and then. Feels like vacation whenever I am there.”

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St. Paddy's Day

Five Finds on Friday: Whitney Foster

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Whitney Foster, co-GM of Brasserie Saison, which this week became the newest entry into The Charlottesville 29, answering: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29? Foster’s picks:

1) The Hungry Norman at The Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “Unless you arrive when they unlock the door, you’re probably going to have to wait for a seat at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. It is worth it. The Hungry Norman is such a treat. It combines blackberry jam, sausage links, eggs, and goat cheese to create this mouthwatering dish that just melts in your mouth.”

2) Branzino at Brasserie Saison. “The Fish of the Day on Brasserie’s dinner menu always hits the spot. More specifically, the branzino. They open up the branzino and lay it skin side down on the grill so the skin gets crispy but the meat stays tender.  If that wasn’t enough, they pair it with seasonal vegetables and purees, such as a cauliflower or beet puree, combined with grilled veggies, sometimes pistachio butter, sometimes a fennel/arugula salad.  The combinations they come up with are unique and always take your mouth on an adventure.”

3) Late Night Burger at C&O. “There are only a select few restaurants that serve late night food, let alone amazing late night food. The C&O burger is a sigh of relief after a long day at work, and it’s affordable. Bless them.”

4) Iced Almond Milk Latte at Lone Light Coffee. “Lone Light recently started roasting their own beans, which is badass. They’ve always made their own almond milk. Their creamy nutty espresso paired with their almond milk is the best way to get each morning started, no sweetener required.”

5) Anything Pork at Brasserie Saison. “I recently experienced the best pork I’ve ever had. Followed immediately by the best pork I’ve ever had. Straight off the pig’s head and into my hand, Chef Devin knows what he’s doing. Try any pork on the menu. I dare you.”

Brasserie Saison

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111 East Main Street . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 202-7027
https://brasseriesaison.net/

Why Brasserie Saison?

Originally conceived to fill a Charlottesville void with Benelux-style food designed to pair with beer, Brasserie Saison has evolved into a restaurant that stands out less for its style of cuisine than its overall excellence. From food, to drinks, to service, Brasserie Saison – a European-style brasserie touched by Charlottesville – may be the most polished restaurant in town.

Owner Hunter Smith also runs Champion Brewing Company, which makes Belgian-style beers specifically for the restaurant. Also stellar are wines and cocktails, with one of the best bars in town. For a heightened experience, head downstairs to the tiny restaurant-within-a-restaurant The Coat Room, where you’ll enjoy your own dedicated server and bartender, among other perks.

What to Order

Below is a list of our suggestions, recommendations from the owner, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a Brasserie Saison dish as one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Endive Salad
  • Seven Hills Beef Tartare
  • Crispy Scallops
  • Pork Cut
  • Raclette Sandwich 
  • Buttered Popcorn Pudding

Owner’s Picks

  • Pork Schnitzel Sandwich and Simple Greens Salad
  • Spicy Thai Curry Mussels
  • Gravlax
  • Country Paté
  • Epoisses Cheese and Dubbel bread plate with pickled apples
  • Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Five Finds on Friday Picks