The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Kitchen(ette)

#7: Notorious P.I.G. – Ivy Provisions

Photo by Do Me A Flavor.

The Italian

For many sandwich lovers, it is the ultimate sandwich. When a chef launched a podcast to dive deep into what makes a great sandwich, she devoted an entire episode to The Italian, which she called “everyone’s favorite sandwich.” At its best, it harmonizes elements as well as any other: salt, sweetness, fat, umami, creaminess, richness, crunch, acid, and more. It’s a sandwich where one bite just makes you want several more.

In recognition of the sandwich’s notoriety, when sandwich masters Ivy Provisions opened in 2013, they chose The Italian as their starting point, giving theirs the name Notorious P.I.G. With a team as committed to sandwich excellence as Ivy Provisions, there was purpose behind every decision that went into creating the anchor of their menu. Sure, the elements are typical: Italian cold cuts like salami, prosciutto, and capicola, along with provolone, pickled peppers, onion, lettuce, and a house Italian dressing. But, it is Ivy Provisions’ careful sourcing, portioning, and assembly that makes this the most irresistible Italian sub in town. Grab it by two fists, chomp, and enjoy.

#7: Notorious P.I.G. – Ivy Provisions
(GFA)
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Italian Job at Kitchen(ette), My Italian at Belle, The Pelosi at Rapture, Italian Stallion at Hunt Country Market, AJ Soprano at Chickadee, Italian Hoagie at Anna’s Pizza #5, Da Vinci at Mona Lisa, Italian Sub at Tubby’s, Belmont at The Market at Bellair (GFA), Authentic Italian at Foods of All Nations. Vegetarian Alternatives: Vegeletta at Belle, Roasted Vegetable Sandwich at Mona Lisa, The Local at Feast! (GFA), Roasted Vegetable Sandwich at Market Street Market (GFA)

#8: Cheesesteak – Belle

The Cheesesteak 

Usually you have to choose. Do you want an original cheesesteak? Or do you want one prepared by a great chef? As delicious as the original rendition is, it doesn’t exactly require a culinary degree to make. And so, when a great chef takes a stab at a cheesesteak, while the result is often delicious in its own right, the experience can differ from the sandwich made famous by former hot dog stand owners in Philadelphia.

Belle chef John Shanesy somehow does both. The cheffy tweaks he makes to one of America’s favorite sandwiches manage to enhance it while also yielding a result faithful to the original. No, he doesn’t use Amoroso rolls. He has access to hoagie rolls baked fresh every day by a world class baker: his brother Scott, with whom he co-owns Belle. As for the cheese sauce, Shanesy makes an upgraded version of “whiz” by combining Tillamook cheddar and American cheese, which he steeps at 180 degrees in Mt Crawford milk and heavy cream with dried chilies and herbs, fresh thyme, black pepper, and salt. For the sandwich, he griddles sliced steak, mushroom duxelles, bell pepper, and white onion, and chops them all together.  For assembly, he smears mayo on the top bun and adds iceberg lettuce. On the bottom bun, he adds the steak mixture and cheese sauce. The result is a sandwich that may differ from the original, but still tastes faithful to the style. A classic made even better.

#8: Cheesesteak – Belle
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Steak and Cheese at Taste Shack (GFA), Villy at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue,  Beef Cheesesteak at Farmacy, Cheesesteak at Fabio’s, The Whiz at Lucky Blue’s, Philly Steak/Cheese at Tubby’s, Cheesesteak Hoagie at Revolutionary Soup, Philly Cheesesteak at Timberwood Grill. Vegetarian Alternatives: Philly Cheeseshroom at Kitchen(ette), The Godfather with Shrooms at Lucky Blue’s, Vegan Cheesesteak/Vegetarian Cheesesteak at Champion Brewing Company

#11: Pig Mac – Little Star

The Pork Sandwich

Some chefs love food unconditionally.

Take Ryan Collins of Little Star. Collins’ taste for refined cooking is not surprising, given his eight years working for one of the most famous chefs in the world. But, his love for food does not stop there, as his heart is open to deliciousness in any form — and from any source, whether a Michelin starred restaurant, the taco trucks he chases around town, or anywhere really.

And so, on his restaurant’s menu, alongside fancy fare like beef tartare and seared tuna with foie gras, you will find a sandwich inspired by the plebeian pleasures of fast food. McDonald’s Big Mac famously combines (sing it) two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. Replace the beef patties with a pork cutlet and you have Little Star’s Pig Mac.

Collins pounds the cutlet thin, breads it, and fries it, just as is done with the tenderloin sandwiches of the Midwest, one of America’s most beloved pork sandwiches. Then come all of the Big Mac toppings, yet, unlike at a fast food franchise, Little Star’s has the attention detail of a chef whose love of food runs deep. Collins is a sandwich fiend, and once he gets fixated on a sandwich, he cannot relent until he feels he has gotten it right. His passion and talent drive him to obsess over every aspect of its preparation, as he has done in the past with deli-style subs. And, now he has done it again. The Pig Mac captures what people love about the fast food icon, and takes it to even greater heights.

#11: Pig Mac – Little Star
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Dave’s Roast Pork at Chickadee, The Squeal at Kitchen(ette). Vegetarian Alternative: Grilled Broccolini and Mozz at The Fitzroy

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