Charlottesville’s food truck scene has become so prolific that all of the 2017 finalists for Best Food Truck warrant recognition, whether for a legit po’boy, spot-on lumpia, an unctuous taco de cabeza, destination-worthy barbecue, or down-home sweet potato fritters. Yet, even among that great group, one stands out.
Graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, the husband-and-wife team of Peter and Merrill Robertson came to Charlottesville in 2015 from the Hamptons, where they had run an acclaimed and ambitious restaurant. The Hamptons’ loss has been our gain, as the truck they launched here, Côte-Rôtie, is now the best in town.
More than anyone in the area, the Robertsons revel in the freedom that the food truck format gives them. They cook what they want, when they want. True lovers of food, their tastes range from sophisticated to down-and-dirty comfort food, and span a wide range of cultures, too. Depending on their mood, a Japanese hand roll of eel and avocado or Chatterly oysters with sweetbread pork belly farce might share menu space with a good-old-fashioned sausage-egg-and-cheese biscuit or a guajillo-chile pork stew. On your next visit, you might find no Japanese, Southern, or Mexican food at all, and instead linguini alla bolognese, chicken ballotine cooked in foie gras fat, or a version of steak frites that rivals any bistro. The Robertsons’ truck is even decked out with a yakitori grill shipped from Japan (try the sweetbreads!) and a rotisserie for roasting ducks, chickens, pork shoulders, and more.
Côte-Rôtie has a regular Sunday gig at Champion Brewing Co. and is often there Tuesday as well. To catch their latest location, follow along here.
Check back tomorrow for 2017’s winner of Best New Restaurant.