The Charlottesville 29

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

Mas y Mas

gambas

Last week, MAS Tapas’ beloved carne asada appeared in Five Finds on Friday for the sixth time. This would have tied it for the most all-time Five Finds appearances if another MAS dish had not also appeared in Five Finds. Gambas al’ parilla made its seventh appearance in Five Finds. Charlottesville chefs cannot get enough of the jumbo shrimp grilled Catalan style with plenty of grey salt and garlic alioili from the gods. This may explain why chef Mike Ketola’s work bio reads: “I cook shrimp good.” Yes you do.

But, there’s a lot more to MAS than steak and shrimp. In total, MAS dishes have made 47 appearances in Five Finds on Friday, “more” than any other restaurant, a tribute to the lasting excellence of Tomas Rahal’s tapas bar fourteen years after first opening its doors to Belmont. Thank you to Tomas and his outstanding staff for being excellent. We are blessed.

Five Finds on Friday: Reggie Calhoun

calhoun

Photo by Derrick Waller.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Reggie Calhoun, chef of Draft Taproom and Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, both of which have donated great items to the Auction for Allie, where local businesses are auctioning off special experiences and services to benefit chef Allie Redshaw. See all the great items and place your bids here. Also, on Monday, March 27, Calhoun is competing against Miso Sweet chef Frank Paris III in a Duel Chef Showdown at Tin Whistle Pub. Details and tickets here. Calhoun’s picks:

1) Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “This is not only a place that sells the best burgers in town but it also holds a lot of memories for me growing up playing soccer. My friends right after practice would go straight here and get the double bacon cheeseburger with fried onions and pickles. These burgers are perfect just as they are – juicy with tons of beef flavor and a tiny bit of crispiness to them. Each bite just melts away. It’s the perfect burger!”

2) Bourbon Fruit Punch at The Alley Light. “The first time I went to this place, I expected it to be over-the-top good, and sure enough it was. I sat at the bar and asked the bartender to select a drink. She asked me which spirit I wanted, and I chose bourbon and said I’d like something very refreshing. She ended up making a drink that not only was the best fruit punch drink I have ever had but still to this day is my favorite drink I’ve ever had, period.”

3) Polyface Chicken Wings at Rapture. “Nothing much to say other then hands down the best chicken wings in Cville. Super clean and clear chicken flavor, juicy, and crispy.”

4) Gambas al’ Parilla at MAS Tapas. “Very simple dish, but that’s just the reason why these shrimp are awesome. Briny and fresh, with the fattiness of the garlic alioli that they make in house, which is key, and huge chunks of sea salt.No lie, I eat these once a week or at least every other week. I love MAS!”

5) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “In my opinion, this is one of the top steaks in Cville because it is always cooked perfectly and seasoned just right so the steak flavor shines through. Served with garlic alioli and tortillas dabbed with duck fat.”