The 2020 Charlottesville 29 is coming soon, answering: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville would be the ideal 29? But first up is recognition of our area’s great food trucks and stands. At breweries, vineyards, cideries, and elsewhere around town, Charlottesville’s food trucks continue to serve some of the best food in the area. As do food stands that feed hungry shoppers at farmers’ markets, among other locations.
Tomorrow, February 27, The Charlottesville 29 2020 Best Food Truck/Stand will be awarded. Among a great group, the finalists are:
Fans of the NBA in the ’80s and ’90s may recall writers’ efforts some years to give the league’s MVP award to someone other than Michael Jordan. No one doubted that Jordan was the most valuable player on the planet. And yet, whether out of boredom or just to do something different, pundits would sometimes find a reason to give the award to someone else.
Those pundits might find it uninteresting to give the same food award to the same recipient year after year. And yet, among an excellent crop of food trucks and stands in Charlottesville, one continues to stand out. Talented as they may be, the greatest virtue of Côte-Rôtie’s Peter and Merrill Robertson is not their talent. It’s their passion, which shows in everything that comes off their truck. Côte-Rôtie serves food made by people who love to eat for people who love to eat.
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.