The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Charlottesville best restaurants

The Alley Light

 

alley-light-black

108 2nd St. SW . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 296-5003
http://alleylight.com/

Why The Alley Light?

In every respect — food, drinks, and experience — The Alley Light is a sensation. In 2015, the James Beard Foundation named it one of 25 semifinalists for best restaurant in the country. And, it has received praise from the award-winning critics of The Washington Post and The Washingtonian, as well as one of the leading culinary educators of our time. While some of that came during the tenure of James Beard semifinalist chef Jose de Brito, in the kitchen now is his protege, Robin McDaniel, who had already run the kitchen at last two nights a week, even before de Brito left in May 2016 for The Inn at Little Washington. Behind the bar, meanwhile, is devoted mixologist Micah LeMon, whose ever-changing cocktail menu combines carefully chosen liquors with his own tinctures, infusions, tonics, and more. And, helping with the wine is Will Richey, not only one of the most knowledgeable oenophiles in town but also a top restaurateur, with The Whiskey Jar, Revolutionary Soup, The Pie Chest, and The Bebedero.

The Alley Light is not just excellent. It is one-of-a-kind. Before it opened in February 2014, it was hard to realize how much Charlottesville could benefit from this grown-up lounge with serious food, perched in an intimate second-story space off the downtown mall. Now, it’s hard to think of Charlottesville without it.

What to Order

Our favorite way to eat at The Alley Light is to ask the kitchen to send out whatever it likes. It’s never failed to yield a wonderful meal. For specific suggestions, below are our picks, the chef’s picks, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named an item from The Alley Light as one of the best in town. Because the specials menu changes weekly, not all of the dishes below will always be available.

The bone marrow warrants special mention. It was our 2014 Dish of the Year.

Our Picks

  • Roasted Bone Marrow parsley crust, braised escargot
  • Roasted Chorizo chickpea puree, toast
  • French Green Beans grated foie gras, almond-shallot vinaigrette
  • Carrots herbs, yogurt, cumin-lemon-orange vinaigrette
  • Charcuterie
  • Pork Belly braised and roasted, apple, celery
  • Scallops (in any form)
  • Stuffed Quail porcini mushrooms, brioche, red wine sauce, turnips

Chef’s Picks

  • Rabbit Wrapped in Prosciutto, sweetbread, chestnut, mushroom, mustard sauce
  • Cod, Mussels, Lobster, Scallop Boudin, saffron-vanilla broth
  • Guinea Hen, celery root, leek, foie sauce
  • Seafood Charcuterie Board
  • Mr. Rech hazelnut macaron, praline parfait, hot chocolate sauce

Five Finds on Friday Picks

Petit Pois

Pois

201 Main Street . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 979-7647
http://www.petitpoisrestaurant.com/

Why Petit Pois?

Many Charlottesville restaurants have seasonal menus. In a town so committed to local sourcing, Mother Nature demands it. But, few restaurants transform themselves with the seasons as much as Petit Pois, the casual and affordable sibling of Fleurie located in the center of the Downtown Mall. It’s like several restaurants in one.  In the winter, it’s the closest thing in Charlottesville to a French bistro, serving hearty French classics, faithfully prepared, in a cozy 25-seat dining room. In warmer months, a 65-seat patio draws crowds for optimal people-watching, epic lunches, and breezy dinners of lighter takes on locally-sourced French fare.  Any time of year, there are few more reliable spots in town for a great meal than Petit Pois.

What to Order

Below are our favorite items, the chef’s picks, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a chef or personality has named a Petit Pois dish one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Soupe à l’Oignon
  • Mousse de Foie de Volaille
  • Skate Wing
  • Steak Frites
  • Panisse

Chef’s Picks

  • Soupe à l’Oignon
  • Chilled Pea Soup with creme fraiche and shaved radish
  • Moules Marinieres (Prince Edward Island Mussels with beurre blanc, mirepoix and grilled bread)
  • Tuna Nicoise Salad (hard boiled Polyface egg, tomato, green beans, potatoes, Nicoise olives, mustard vinaigrette)
  • Bourride (aromatic shellfish broth with fennel, saffron, clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp and scallops, grilled bread and rouille)
  • Profiteroles (Pate au choux with house made vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce)

Five Finds on Friday Picks

 

Revolutionary Soup

Rev Soup

108 2nd St SW . Charlottesville VA . (434) 296-7687
104 14th Street Northwest . Charlottesville, VA.  (434) 979-9988
http://revolutionarysoup.com/

Why Revolutionary Soup?

Revolutionary Soup is deceptively named. Sure, you can find great soups at the popular counter-service joint with locations on The Corner and The Downtown Mall. But, there is so much more. In fact, we’ve long thought it might just as appropriately be called Revolutionary Sandwiches.

Owner Will Richey lives on a farm, and sources many of his ingredients there as well as from other local outlets, which are great building blocks for the huge menu of sandwiches, salads, and soups. As co-founder of The Wine Guild, Richey is also one of our area’s biggest oenophiles, which means there are always a well-chosen red and white by the glass to wash down the meal. Or, select from a refrigerator stocked full of aritsan brews.

While Rev Soup is most popular at lunch, it is a sneaky-good dinner option as well.  Healthy, affordable, and delicious. After work, why go home and cook, when you can pick up a thoughtfully conceived and prepared soup, salad, or sandwich?  We score big points at home when we walk in the door with a couple of creative salads or a few pints of Lamb Curry.

What to Order

The rotating selection of ten soups changes often, but a few staples are always available, including the signature Senegalese Peanut Tofu, Lamb Curry, Tomato Basil, and Miso. All come with a fresh roll from Albemarle Baking Company. There is also a long list of sandwiches and salads. Below are our favorite items, Richey’s picks,  and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a chef or personality has named a Rev Soup dish one of the best in town.  It seems the lamb curry is a hit.

Our Picks

  • Lamb Curry
  • 90’s Club (Roasted chicken breast, bacon, cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onions & house sauce on a kaiser roll)
  • Gulf Coast Wrap  (House spiced shrimp, avocado, roasted red peppers, hard-boiled egg, spring greens and a zesty dressing)
  • Wild Mushroom Wrap (Wild mushrooms sautéed with Gruyère bechamel and spring greens)
  • Shrimp and Grits (Shrimp marinated in a smoked paprika and garlic sauce served in local grits)
  • Daily Specials, especially the Red Row Sandwich and Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

Richey’s Picks

  • Lamb Curry
  • 90’s Club
  • Garlic Garden Club  (Sautéed red onions, roasted red peppers, and cheddar, with fresh avocado, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli on griddled sunflower wheat bread)
  • Quesadillas (pro tip: Richey recommends eating these in-house rather than to-go)

Five Finds on Friday Picks