Bizou

by Charlottesville29

Bizou

119 W. Main Street . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 977-1818
http://www.bizoudowntown.com/home

Why Bizou?

In March 1991, in a small space on a then-desolate downtown mall, two young chefs, one from France and one from West Virginia, opened a restaurant that would shape Charlottesville dining for decades. The French chef was Vincent Derquenne, the West Virginian Tim Burgess, and their restaurant was called Metropolitain.  In 1995, it moved to a larger space on Water Street before closing in 2002.

But, its original location lives on in Bizou, which, though not as ambitious as its parent restaurant, shares both the appearance and spirit of the eatery the New York Times once called reason to move to Charlottesville. The ethos behind both — “what if it’s all about the food?” — came to dominate Charlottesville dining.  Meanwhile, Bizou, an American bistro celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, has continued to deliver gussied-up comfort food in an diner-like setting from knowledgeable, well-trained servers.  Lunch is a great value and has a huge daily following.  Dinner is even better.  And, Derquenne is a hard-core oenophile, so the wines can be great, too.

What to Order

Sophisticated daily dinner specials are the options most reminiscent of Metropolitain’s great dishes, but several regular menu staples are standouts as well.  Below are our picks, those of Derquenne and Burgess, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a Bizou dish as one of the best in town. (Tip: while Derquenne and Burgess have turned over some of the cooking duties to a skilled group of chefs, one meal where Derquenne is almost always in the kitchen is Sunday brunch, which is one of the best in town.)

Our Picks

  • Patisserie Assortment (brunch)
  • Brioche French Toast (brunch)
  • Homemade Classic Meatloaf
  • Caesar Salad with Herbes de Provence Fried Chicken
  • Dinner Specials
  • Grilled Banana Bread (Charlottesville’s signature dessert?)

Owners’ Picks

  • Chocolate Croissant (brunch) (Burgess)
  • Fried Catfish (Burgess)
  • Smoked Salmon w/ Fried Green Tomatoes (Derquenne)
  • Steak Salad (Derquenne)
  • Grilled Banana Bread (Burgess)

Five Finds on Friday Picks

  • Homemade Classic MeatloafEames Coleman (Blue Star JüsBar and Baja Fish Taqueria)