The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Brasserie Saison

Five Finds on Friday: Alicia Simmons

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Simmons, sous chef of Tavola, which has just enhanced its already-stellar pasta dishes by switching to house-made linguine, bucatini, and pappardelle. Check it out at their Eat Well, Do Good fundraisers, each month in Tavola’s Cicchetti bar, where you can enjoy platters of bucatini and meatballs with proceeds going to charity. Follow along on Tavola’s Facebook page for details and dates. Simmons’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken Sandwich at The Fitzroy. “Charlottesville has no shortage of good fried chicken, but this sandwich is a stand-out. The chicken is always perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but the lemon cayenne aioli really takes this sandwich to the next level. It has the perfect amount of kick to it without being overbearing.”

2) Salted Dark Chocolate Sorbet at Brasserie Saison. “If I’m on the downtown mall, I always try to stop into Brasserie to try whatever flavor of gelato or sorbet is on special. There is always a new and inventive flavor I want to try. That being said, I love the salted dark chocolate sorbet in particular. As a chocolate lover, I really appreciate when a kitchen can take what seems to be a simple concept but then perfectly executes it—in this case, chocolate sorbet that is silky, rich, and balanced with the hint of salt at the end.”

3) Fried Catfish at Oakhart Social. “I love Nashville, and the Nashville hot sauce on this dish brings me straight back to one of my favorite cities. There’s nothing like perfectly fried catfish that melts in your mouth. This dish has a great amount of heat that is balanced with the napa cabbage and apple salad—not to mention the addition of pimento cheese, one of my favorite Southern classics.”

4) Wings at Doma. “I can’t choose just one flavor. I usually go for both the Korean Hot and the Sweet Chili. One of the things I love about these wings is that they’re just as good on the go as they are when you’re dining in. They’re definitely one of my cravings on a busy work day when I don’t have time to cook (for myself!).”

5) House Gin and Tonic at Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar. “I always look forward to the Cicchetti Bar’s Gin and Tonic at the end of a long shift. The house made tonic is packed with citrus, so it almost feels like I’m drinking something healthy. The way they add a little vermouth to the mix really smooths out the bite that’s usually associated with gin. This drink is a must have for summer nights.”

Five Finds on Friday: Eric Breckoff

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Eric Breckoff, Culinary Arts Director at Piedmont Virginia Community College, where he helps to develop skilled chefs to put into Charlottesville restaurant kitchens. Breckoff enrolled his first students in 2013, and since then graduates have gone on to kitchens like The Alley Light, MarieBette, and Red Pump Kitchen. More information on the program is here. Breckoff’s picks:

1) Carne Asada Gorditas at La Michoacana. “Tragically, only three gorditas come to an order, and my wife and I have to share one and supplement with our second choice tacos: also carne asada, Mexican style. Frankly, you can’t go wrong with anything here.  Simple, down to earth, family-run restaurant that takes pride in their food.  Did I mention the margaritas?”

2) Kofta Kabob with Chick Peas at Afghan Kabob Palace. “My wife and I both love Middle-Eastern food, and Afghan Kabob Palace never fails to please. When it’s cool outside, the aush soup is comforting and warm. For starters, we love the samosas and the bolanee gandana. Crispy, delicious turnover packets of love. My go-to entrée is the kofta kabob and my wife loves the vegetarian plate (make sure you get the pumpkin and the chickpeas).”

3) Moules Frites at Brasserie Saison. “I could eat this every day the rest of my life. Perfectly cooked. Perfectly seasoned. Just the perfect food made with love and care.”

4) Piggie Smalls Pizza at Fry’s Spring Station. “A perfect restaurant to sit outside on a Friday after work and enjoy well crafted, delicious food made with love. A Piggie Smalls  pizza and a beer with the crispy gnocchi & beet salad makes a perfect meal.”

5) Sausage, Egg, & Cheddar on an Everything at Bodo’s. “Ok, I know everyone puts Bodo’s on their list. Why? It’s that good. An everything with egg, cheese, sausage is my morning go-to. Some might say I have a problem. I say I can stop anytime I want to, but why would I want to?”

2018 Best New Restaurant: Brasserie Saison

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With The Bebedero, Commonwealth, Draft, The Pie Chest, Revolutionary Soup, and The Whiskey Jar, all to its name, Ten Course Hospitality has earned a reputation as the top restaurant management group in town. Launched last February, Brasserie Saison may be the group’s best restaurant yet.

Originally conceived to fill a Charlottesville void with Benelux-style food designed to pair with beer, the restaurant has evolved into one that stands out less for its style of cuisine than its overall excellence. In food, drinks, service, and ambiance, Brasserie Saison distinguishes itself with a clear, defining virtue: polish.

The food excels thanks to perfectionists Mike Perry and Devin Murray, who jointly took over the kitchen after founding chef Tyler Teass left. Some of the most memorable dishes of 2017 were at Brasserie Saison, like endive salad with smoked garlic dressing, almonds, and cherries; farro “risotto” with roasted vegetables and kale; crispy scallops a la meuniere with celery root and benne; and seared trout with lentils, spinach, and mustard vinaigrette.

Meanwhile, the front of the house shines under Will Curley and Alicia Walsh-Noel, who oversee one of the most professional staffs in town. Beers, with a Belgian tilt, are the bailiwick of Champion Brewing Company’s Hunter Smith and Josh Skinner, two of our area’s best brewers. And, the bar features excellent wines and expertly-crafted cocktails, thanks to Reid Dougherty.

With Ten Course Hospitality pulling it all together, the result is the year’s best new restaurant. While many good ones opened last year, the 2018 Best New Restaurant is Brasserie Saison.