The Charlottesville 29

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

Jean-Georges to Join Keswick Hall

Keswick Hall

There are not many chefs in the world who we know by just their first names. Jean-Georges is one. And he is coming to the Charlottesville area.

Keswick Hall announced today that world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will oversee the property’s culinary operations when it reopens next year. The restaurant, Keswick Hall says, will be the focal point of the property’s extensive renovation. Best known for the New York restaurant bearing his name, the Alsatian born chef now oversees close to forty restaurants, and has become one of the most decorated chefs alive, with more than a dozen James Beard Foundation awards or nominations.  “I love creating inspiring new restaurant concepts and menus,” says Jean-Georges, “and am excited to be partnering with Keswick Hall to bring my vision for this beautiful luxury hotel to life.”

 

Introducing Modern Nosh

corned beef

Another longtime void in the Charlottesville food scene has been filled: a Jewish deli. Modern Nosh opened this week at 111 Water Street West, most recently home to Kebabish.

Behind Modern Nosh is Stephanie Levin, a UVa alumna who recently returned to Charlottesville after two decades away. “I always knew I would come back to Charlottesville,” says Levin. Though this her first foray into the food industry, Levin is not new to restaurants. She grew up in one, a Norfolk diner owned by her parents.

Food has been a big part of family life ever since, and much of the food at Modern Nosh draws from old family recipes for traditional Jewish foods like latkes, knishes, kugel, and mazto ball soup. Also made in house are corned beef and brisket. Other menu items include classic sandwiches like a Reuben, a Rachel, and a Sailor – hot pastrami and melted Swiss, topped with a split, grilled hot dog. Levin’s favorite is the deli latkes – three house made latkes topped with house made brisket and gravy.

Goyim may kvetch that the prices take real chutzpah – e.g. $14.50 for a sandwich. But, if you’re familiar with traditional Jewish delis, you’ll know that the prices are not atypical for classic over-stuffed sandwiches. Levin puts a half pound of meat on each sandwich, which lends itself well to sharing one or saving half for later, if you just want a bissel. There is also a soup and half sandwich combo for $10.50, which includes a bowl of matzo ball soup and half of an over-stuffed sandwich.

For now, Levin is easing into things by being open just for lunch Tuesday through Saturday. She will expand to evening hours soon, but does not want to rush things. “I am all about the quality of the product,” she says.

Mazel tov!

Five Finds on Friday: Hannah Deal

hannahpic

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Hannah Deal of Hannah’s Homemade, which makes nut and granola butters from sustainably sourced, 100% organic ingredients that are free of most common allergens. Deal hopes her business will draw attention to chronic illnesses, and she donates a portion of proceeds to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). You can meet Deal and sample her products tomorrow, January 26, at Feast! from 12-2 pm. Details here. Deal’s picks:

1) Roasted PEI Mussels at Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar. “I have eaten just about every dish at Orzo and while they are all incredible, their mussels appetizer is one of the best they’ve got. While I can no longer consume dairy as of 2017, I still dream about this dish and used to order it nearly every time I went. As a side note, I studied for a semester in Belgium (a place known for mussels) and couldn’t find any as good as Orzo’s. If that isn’t a testament to how good they are, I don’t know what is.”

2) Crab Soup at The Local. “Crab is a favorite food of mine, and since my family frequents the beach for vacations, I have had more than my fair share of crab soup over the years. I still remember where I sat when I took my first bite of The Local’s crab soup. It manages to be rich and creamy while not taking attention away from the most important ingredient; crab. As a bonus, you don’t feel like you’ve gained ten pounds after eating it. Similarly to the last dish, I can’t eat this one anymore, but I will still recommend it to anyone.”

3) Green Curry at Thai 99. “You can’t really go wrong when ordering green curry, but you can end up with a mediocre curry that you’ll forget about the next day. Thai 99’s is anything but mediocre and contains a blast of flavor and spice in each spoonful. As a bonus, this one works for all of the gluten-free and dairy-free folks out there! I could eat this every day during the winter, and then some.”

4) The Mayweather at Roots. “Roots is my go-to lunch place if I’m out working all day. I have eaten their Mayweather bowl so many times that the total is probably embarrassing, but their food is delicious and leaves me satisfied each time I go. I do make a few substitutions to create a dairy-free and gluten-free dish, but this is easy to do, and the staff are always so friendly. If you’re reading this and work at Roots, thanks for feeding me!”

5) Adam’s Apple at Revolutionary Soup. “This is the best sandwich I have ever had, period. Rev Soup takes some of the best, classic ingredients such as bacon, goat cheese, and apple, and puts them in between two slices of locally made bread slathered with homemade garlic aioli and local apple butter. You really can’t get better that! And while this sandwich is not allergen-friendly, most of their options are, which makes it a great place for just about anyone.”