“Best Thing I Ate All Year” 2015

by Charlottesville29


Looking back at 2015, what stands out as the best thing you ate all year?  Here, fourteen top area chefs answer that question.  According to C-VILLE Weekly’s Best Chef of 2015, it was the year of the bronut!  As for our own pick for dish of the year, see here.

Dylan Allwood (ROCKSALT)

Pulpo at MAS Tapas.  “Bucatini, Pork belly, octopus and ‘sauce of insanity.’ This is the dish I crave when I start thinking about going out to dinner. It’s spicy, savory, smokey, and a touch of sweet. Between the service, food, and atmosphere at Mas, I’m never disappointed.”

Melissa Close-Hart (The Local catering, Junction), Jose de Brito (The Alley Light), and Ivan Rekosh (ZoCaLo)

Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo

Close-Hart: “The most memorable meal I had in 2015 was actually on New Year’s Day at Lampo. I had tried several times to get in to no avail. Finally got a seat for lunch on NYD. It was flawless. We had the Diavola Pizza & The Porchetta Sandwich. We washed it down with some perfectly made spritz and finished the meal with zeppole. The guys over there do a fantastic job and I’m happy to share the neighborhood with them. I only wish they’d open on Sundays, because that’s the only time I’m guaranteed to have the day off!”

De Brito: “The best dish of the year in C-ville for me in 2015 was the porchetta sandwich at Lampo. In ratio of yumminess to its cost, it has not had any match.”

Rekosh: “I don’t think this needs explanation . . .  When they take that dough and stuff it with porchetta and provolone and aioli and broccoli rabe, it becomes something special.”

Mitchell Beerens (Lampo)

Spicy Roasted Tofu with Basil at Monsoon Siam.  “It’s simple soulful flavors with amazing texture, and the ladies that run the place do an amazing job. They just renovated the space and it looks great. I love my fish sauce and this dish certainly brings that yummy funk. “

Tim Burgess (The Space, Bizou, Bang!)

Bellissima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “The country ham comes from Fulks Run Grocery, a place on my drive to my hometown in West Virginia that I have been frequenting since I was 20.”

Donnie Glass (Public Fish & Oyster)

Tuna Carpaccio at The Alley Light. “The best things I ate all year came consistently from two restaurants: The Alley Light and Lampo. At The Alley Light, the tuna carpaccio was particularly memorable. Very simple, but every flavor complemented the tuna perfectly, especially the sheep’s cheese. That dish is perfect.”

Craig Hartman (The BBQ Exchange)

Jowl Bacon Gyros by Angelo Vangelopoulos of The Ivy Inn at The Cured Fest.  “The best thing that I ate in Charlottesville all year! It was a triumph of pancetta genius and I want more!”

Harrison Keevil (Brookville)

Cavolo Nero Salad at Lampo.  “It’s the perfect salad.”

Christian Kelly (Maya)

Pork Belly at Parallel 38.  “It’s money, and that place has become my guilty pleasure. I feel like I’m not in Charlottesville when I sit under the huge fiber optic chandelier. “

Loren Mendosa (Lampo)

Brioche Feuilletee with Pumpkin Mousse at MarieBette (pictured). “I ordered one to-go with the intention of eating it at home like a civilized adult.  Instead, I had a bite in the car and ended up completely covered in delicious crumbs and pumpkin mousse in my driveway, feeling a mixture of shame and complete satisfaction. Hands down best thing I ate all year.”

Tomas Rahal (MAS Tapas)

Pig Heads from Autumn Olive Farms and Lamb from Double H Farm.  “The Berkabaw pig heads from Autumn Olive Farms have been succulent, as are Ara’s Double H Farm lambs we cook over wood coals on our rotisserie.  Of course, home-grown tomatoes and strawberries are hard to beat.”

Andrew Silver (ZoCaLo)

Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “Mostly because I was so impressed that I loved a dish that’s main ingredient was carrots.  It’s a fine line between charred and burnt and they execute this very well.  Very surprising and thoughtful dish.”

Tristan Wraight (Oakhart Social)

Linguini alla carbonara at Tavola.  “Peppery, hammy and creamy. And perfectly al dente. Love it.”