205 Monticello Road . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 244-3226
What a refreshing addition Lampo was to the Charlottesville dining scene when it opened in late 2014. In an era where many young chefs vie to create the next big thing, here were three talented young chefs joining forces to create a traditional food governed by rigid rules: Neapolitan pizza. After much practice, study, and expert tutoring, the three chefs –Mitchell Beerens, Loren Mendosa, and Ian Redshaw — mastered the pizza, which alone may warrant a slot in The Charlottesville 29.
But, there’s much, much, more. Some chefs vow to keep it simple, but then cannot help from trying to show off through contrived cooking. When it comes to keeping it simple, Lampo’s chefs walk the walk, embracing the Campanian approach to food: use outstanding ingredients and get out of the way, allowing the product to shine. The astonishing results can often leave customers wondering how something so simple can taste so good.
A fourth owner, Andrew Cole, former sommelier of Tavola, is one of the town’s most devoted bar managers, whose passions for cocktails and beer rival his passion for wine. Start a meal with one of his barrel-aged cocktails before enjoying a wine or beer paired with your food.
With a tiny, brick Belmont space, there is often a wait, especially for dinner. But, the food, drinks, and cheerful service are always worth it.
What to Order
Daily specials invariably warrant consideration, especially General Tso’s Sweetbreads, the Dish of the Year and the Szechuan Pastrami Panuozzo, the 2016 Dish of the Year. On the regular menu, a standout is the porchetta panuozzo, which three different area chefs named the best thing they ate in all of 2015. Below are our picks, choices by Lampo’s own chefs, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where other area chefs and personalities have named a Lampo dish one of the best in town.
- Antipasti: Pane; Polpettine al Forno
- Insalata: Cavolo Nero; Brussels Sprouts
- Panuozzo: Porchetta; Muffalata, Vegetable
- Pizza: Margherita D.O.C.; Marinara D.O.C.
- Whatever Cocktail Andrew Feels Like Making
- Brussels Sprout Salad (Mendosa)
- Vegetable Panuozzo (Mendosa and Beerens)
- Hot Carl: a warmed Muffaletta Panuozzo (Redshaw)
- Marinara D.O.C. Pizza (Beerens)
- Hellboy Pizza (Redshaw)
- Pasta a la Chittara with Broccolini, Ginger, and Calabrian Chili (Redshaw)
Five Finds on Friday Picks
- Porchetta Panuozzo — JJ Myers (C&O); Jason Tesauro; Brian Geiger (Cville Pie Fest); Dan Frosaker (Feast!)
- Conserva al spada — Kirk Smith (formerly, Commonwealth)
- Margherita Pizza — Hannah Moster (formerly, Hamiltons’), Peter Griesar (Brazos Tacos)
- Hellboy Pizza — Vinnie Falcone (Tavola, formerly Red Pump Kitchen); Eames Coleman (Blue Star JüsBar and Baja Fish Taqueria); Caleb Warr (Tavola); Kelsey Naylor (formerly, Timbercreek Market)
- Carbonara Pizza — Liberty Kalergis (MAS Tapas)
- Margherita D.O.C. Pizza — Kirk Smith (formerly, Commonwealth), Tyler Davis (Caromont Farm)
- Prosciutto Pizza — Thomas Leroy (Kardinal Hall); Amber Cohen (Junction); Yannick Fayolle (Blue Ridge Pizza Co. and Fayolle’s Table); Kathryn Matthews (IRON Paffles & Coffee); Linda Steiner (Duner’s)
- Abruzzo Pizza – Josh Skinner (Champion Brewing Company)
- Funghi Pizza — Charlie Toder (Kardinal Hall); John Hoffman (Keswick Hall); Laura Fonner (Duner’s)
- Polpettine — Gregg Dionne (Public Fish & Oyster); Landon Saul (Vivace); Nick Moon (Brasserie Saison)
- Budino — Sara Miller (Timbercreek Market); Bryan Kelly (Harvest Moon Catering)
- Steak Tartare – Kelley Tripp (The Fitzroy)
- Pizza Dough – Peter Robertson (Cote-Rotie)
- Banh Mi — Rowe Webster (Smoked Kitchen and Tap)
- Cavolo Nero – JR Hadley (Boylan Heights, Cho’s)