Five Finds on Friday: Christian Johnston


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities. Today’s picks come from Christian Johnston, the Micah LeMon protegé who is now managing the bar at Tavola’s brand new cicchetti bar.  Check back here Monday for a full preview of the bar, which will serve small plates, cocktails, and more.  Meanwhile, Johnston’s picks:

1)  Carrots at The Alley Light.  “Never before in Charlottesville have I seen a vegetable as a standout dish on a menu. Chef Jose de Brito’s ability to bring bright flavors to a dish without overwhelming the main component is truly impressive. Pair that with a cocktail from Micah LeMon and it’s no wonder why these guys got a James Beard nod.”

2)  Cocktails at Parallel 38. “Definitely worth the hike from the downtown mall, this place has some great talent which can be seen in their cocktail program. Often putting spins on classics, Justin Ross and Jesse Fellows use ingredients and techniques you aren’t likely to find in any other establishment.”

3)  Gyoza at Now & Zen.  “Chef Toshi knows his craft and the Nagasaki variant of this dish is great. The sauce that is paired with this is savory as it is flavorful and really ties the whole thing together.”

4)  Infused Margarita at Yearbook Taco.  “You know things are going good in Charlottesville when the local taco joint is stepping up their cocktail game. With infusions made fresh every week, it showcases how a quality product can elevate a simple drink. Tegan Peterson and Acacia Schepps work nights there, so if you see them behind the bar, you know you’re in good hands.”

5)  Greg Brady at Jack Brown’s.  “Getting out of work late usually means there is a struggle to find good late night food. This ridiculous creation (a burger topped with bbq potato chips and mac and cheese) always satisfies and with former Beer Run beer guru Steve Yang behind their drink selection, you’ll never go home thirsty.”