The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Bashir’s

Sandwich Lab, August Edition


Charlottesville is upping its sandwich game.  Sure, we’ve long had counter-service stalwarts like Feast!, Revolutionary Soup, and Bashir’s.  But, a crop of young, talented chefs seem determined to take Charlottesville sandwiches to another level.  At Brookville, chef Harrison Keevil, who calls sandwiches his desert island food, offers a lunch menu of serious sandwiches.  JM Stock Provisions makes a new sandwich every Saturday, and we often plan our day around it.

And, chef Curtis Shaver and his team at Hamiltons’ have dreamt up Sandwich Lab.  “Sandwich Lab promotes better living through better sandwiches,” says their Facebook Page.  One Wednesday each month, the chefs offer a new concoction, available for pick-up at the Hamiltons’ bar.  Utilizing the talents and resources of a high-end restaurant kitchen, their aim is “to share the kind of sandwiches that you can’t buy at the corner deli.”  “Sandwich Lab is all about taking an idea for a sandwich and thinking out of the box, “said Shaver. “It’s fun trying to marry different flavors and ideas while balancing spicy, sweet, salty, sour, and the texture of soft and crunchy as well.”

That all sounds good.  But, how do they taste?

Extraordinary.  Last month’s was duck confit with a poblano-citrus sauce, local beet relish, fresh arugula, Caromont Plank Road Round, and crispy wasabi onions on a kaiser roll, all served with truffle popcorn.  Delicious.

This month’s, available next Wednesday August 6, is a creative riff on chicken and waffles, Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken and Waffles: harissa marinated fried chicken breast, dill pickled cucumbers, brown shugga bacon, pomegranate syrup, hot pepper raita, on a falafel waffle. It sounds great, but you have to reserve yours in advance by calling (434) 295-6649. Here’s how Shaver describes it:

It all started with wanting to do a chicken and waffles sandwich, but we wanted it to be different while staying true to what chicken and waffles is, which is a waffle with fried chicken, maple syrup, and hot sauce. So we thought Middle Eastern would be a fun realm to play in.

The place we started was the waffle. Somehow we came up with falafel being the main flavoring of the waffle and it just sounds fun “Falafel-waffle!” Then we wanted to do a traditional Middle Eastern flavored chicken but fry it so I thought we’d play with the idea of a spicy fried chicken breast like a Hotlanta or Nashville’s Hot chicken sandwiches, and that’s where the harissa marinade comes in.

All great Southern fried chicken sandwiches come with pickles, in my opinion, and dill plays well with Middle Eastern cuisine. Bacon had to be a part of the equation too, so we are just gonna add a little more sweetness to some local, Double H Farm’s bacon for balance.  My Sous Chef, Hannah Moster, came up with the idea of the pomegranate syrup, again balancing the Middle East and Southern comfort.

Lastly I felt it needed some sort of savory creaminess to tie it all together. So raita came to mind. It’s a traditional Indian condiment made with yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, and for a little more of that “hot sauce” feel I added some local hot peppers.


Five Finds on Friday: Vincent Derquenne


On Fridays, we feature five finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Vincent Derquenne, chef and co-owner of Bang, Bizou, and The Space.  Be on the lookout for pop-up dinners at The Space starting this fall, with food by the dynamic duo: Derquenne and co-owner Tim Burgess.  Derquenne’s picks:

1)  Ham and Brie Sandwich with Cucumber Salad at Bashir’s.  “Get a coke and the sports section and disappear for a half hour.”

2)  Glazed Donut at Spudnut’s on Saturday morning.  “Way better than the sugar-coated that my son likes.  (He’ll grow out of it and realize his father was right all along).”

3)  Pistachio Burma with Yogurt at Aromas Cafe.  “This is it one of the best balanced desserts I know, especially after Moroccan cuisine.”

4)  Pastrami on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s .  “I change options every time so I don’t seem boring, but always on an everything bagel.  And of course the cream cheese on a plain bagel that saved me so many times on the way to school. Or back from it! Thanks Bodo’s.

5)  An Afternoon at Veritas Vineyard and King Family Vineyards.  “You go with friends, get a glass, and enjoy the time together.  I easily forget to do it, but when I’m there I always think I should do it more often.”

Two for Tuesday: Brookville and Bashir’s

1)  Lamb Bolognese at Brookville.  Not many people look at a rib-sticking dish like bolognese and think: “You know what this needs more of?  Richness.”  But, then again,  Brookville has always marched to the beat of its own drum, and has never held back.  In a recent addition to the “Munchies” menu, Brookville replaces the ragu’s traditional beef plate or veal with an even richer cut:  ground leg of lamb.  The preparation reveres the dish’s roots, as the lamb is cooked for six hours with carrots, onions, rosemary, white wine and cream.  It’s then served over grits and topped with smoked Piedmont cheese and a few leafs of micro basil.   In typical Brookville fashion, it’s all local:  lamb sourced from Autumn Olive Farms, carrots from City Market, onions from Local Food Hub, wine from Veritas, herbs from Manakintowne, cheese from Everona Dairy, and grits from Woodson’s Mill.  The result is astounding.  The lamb seems a natural fit.  Created by sous chef Dylan Allwood, this is one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.

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2)  Algerian Spiced Chicken at Bashir’s Taverna.  Bashir’s has been dishing out good sandwiches on the downtown mall for so long that it is easy to take it for granted.  We can remember Bashir’s in its original hole-in-the wall digs on the mall, what seems like ages ago.  While we go through phases as to our sandwich of choice, one of our current favorites is the Algerian Spiced Chicken, an occasional special.  Moist, heavily spiced, slices of chicken breast are served on crusty house bread.  Say yes when they ask if you’d like tzatziki.  It is house-made, delicious, and helps mellow the zesty spices.

Food 249