The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Mican

“Best Thing I Ate All Year” 2016

Looking back at 2016, what stands out as the best thing you ate all year?  Top area chefs provide their answer. (Here are last year’s picks.) A tribute to Charlottesville’s bounty:

Mitchell Beerens (Lampo)

Agedashi Tofu at Now & Zen. “The silken tofu is made crispy by dusting it in potato starch and frying it. Then, it’s set in a spa of tentsuyu broth made smoky from the katsuobushi and a little sweet from mirin. Perfect balance of big flavors.”


Craig Hartman (BBQ Exchange)

Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana at Parallel 38. “When restaurants around the world jumped to support the town of Amatrice in Italy after it was devastated by an earthquake, we were fortunate enough to experience a version of Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana at Parallel 38. Their version was almost exactly the same as what we experienced in Italy. It was also so delicious that we went back the next night to have it again.”


Brian Jones (The Alley Light)

Brebirousse from Flora Artisanal Cheese in Timbercreek Market with Seeded Roll from Albemarle Baking Company.  “The seeded roll is a beautiful roll, made from baguette dough,  crusted in fennel seeds, poppy seeds and white sesame seeds. What a yummy combination of flavors. Brebirousse is a soft, smooth, creamy, buttery sheep’s milk cheese from the Rhone-Alpes region of France. Not to take anything away from these two ingredients, but food memories often have more to do with the eater’s condition at the time of the meal than the actual meal itself.  Food always tastes better when you are hungry!  I have eaten at some amazing restaurants in my life but I the best meal I ever had in my life was on a backpacking trip when our rations were low and our calorie output far exceeded our calorie intake. We savored every last morsel, scraped our cooking vessel clean, so clean that there was nothing left to wash. Possibly food is at its best  when the aromas or tastes remind you of a forgotten memory lost somewhere in the back of your mind. Think Ratatouille the movie when the food critic Anton Ego bites into Chef Remy’s ratatouille.”

cheese seeded

Christian Kelly (Maya)

Duck Liver Terrine at The Ivy Inn.  “This pâté en terrine is a slice of art. The perfect suspension of fat in meat wrapped in what appeared to be paper-thin cured duck breast slices and served with traditional pommery mustard and pickled vegetables. Angelo’s food is truly inspiring. The work of his kitchen is a delight to the taste buds. Well done.”


Tommy Lasley (Fry’s Spring Station, Ivy Provisions)

Live Scallop with Uni Broth at Mican (now closed). “The best thing I ate this past year was way too much amazing sashimi at Mican Japanese Restaurant, which unfortunately is no longer open! Everything I had was the best example I have tried in years, Charlottesville or otherwise. If I had to pick one bite it was the live scallop with uni broth.” [Note: Mican’s owners are now serving sushi at Lemongrass.]

Thomas Leroy (Kardinal Hall)

Pork Belly at BBQ Exchange. “I went there and ordered  the meat combo plate of course. The ribs were outstanding, but that pork belly with a fried crispy finish to balance the smoking flavor was amazing. I topped it with their bacon bbq sauce of course. Next time I go, that’s all I’m ordering.”


Michael McCarthy (Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie)

Salt Honey Pie from Greenwood Gourmet by Polina Chesnakova. “Nuff said.”

Loren Mendosa (Lampo)

Olive Oil Gelato from Splendora’s. “I don’t know if PK’s running it regularly, but it was truly fantastic. She used our Mosto olive oil from Liguria and we topped it with sea salt and a drizzle of the Galardo olive oil that Hodges and Jill Myers are importing. It was the perfect combination!”


Jenny Peterson (Paradox Pastry)

Roasted Chicken and Street Corn Off the Cob at The Fitzroy. “Holy moly! Food tends to be an ‘in the moment’ experience for me, and that chicken and corn just hit the spot at the right time, and it was so comfy and cozy in there.”

chicken corn

Ian Redshaw (Lampo)

Sunchokes from Wayside Produce. “Any vegetable from Wayside Produce, especially the sunchokes. These are the best vegetables I have been able to find thus far in my career.”


Ivan Rekosh (ZoCaLo)

Flank and Brisket Pho at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House. “This time of year I’m loving the pho from Thai Cuisine. I usually opt for the flank and brisket but sometimes add the tendon. The broth is amazing. I love to stick my whole face in the bowl and breathe in the steam while I’m slurping the noodles. Really warms you up from the inside out on these cold days. Also a great family runs it.” 


Wilson Richey (co-owner, The Alley Light, The Bebedero, The Pie Chest, Revolutionary Soup, The Whiskey Jar)

Chicken Liver Mousse Tart at Timbercreek Market. “Just redefined what can be done with chicken liver, so smooth and elegant. I would eat the whole tart if it were not frowned upon to do things like that.”


John Shanesy (Petit Pois)

Black Bean and Corn Relleno at ZoCaLo. “It hits on every texture, and all the flavors are very well pronounced but at the same time all working in unison to be a joy to eat. They’ve been great new neighbors to get to meet and have greeted me so warmly as well.”


Andrew Silver (ZoCaLo)

Polpettine Panuozzo at Lampo. “Meatball parm sub was my go-to late night, altered state, munchie meal.  Lampo’s is the refined, grown up version.  Plus the fact that the bread is baked ‘a la minute’ seals the deal.”


Angelo Vangelopoulos (The Ivy Inn)

Petit Kouign-amann from MarieBette. “I found this gem at the city market. Will Darsie filled my request for a mixed bag of goodies while I picked up my veggies from Susan and Wally Parks at Broadhead Mountain Farm. It’s an over the top decadent croissant dough masterpiece with apples and a metric ton of butter and sugar. My market visit is no longer complete without one of them.”


Tristan Wraight (Oakhart Social)

170 Dry Aged NY Strip at Lampo. “Ridiculously delicious. Cast iron crispy and served with a head of roasted garlic. Not even fair.”


Tucker Yoder (Timbercreek Market)

I Don’t Even Own a Gun by Twenty Paces.  “I Don’t Even Own a Gun and Noah’s Arcade are some of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. Could easily rival European cheeses. Great funky cheeses. All their cheeses have been a revelation this year but the soft gooey ones are a Yoder family favorite.”



Five Finds on Friday: Kelley Tripp


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kelley Tripp, chef and co-owner of The Fitzroy, which has just launched a Sunday brunch that is a throwback: a buffet. Check out the array of items here. Tripp’s picks focus on foods that inspired the culinary direction of The Fitzroy. “I love all the well-deserved praise that amazing restaurants like MAS, C&O, Oakhart Social have garnered,” says Tripp. “Here is a nod to dishes that helped guide us into the comfort food realm of our menu at The Fitzroy.”

1) Pastrami Reuben at Smoked BBQ Co. “I have been a fan of Justin since his days of crushing lunch at The Carving Board with his wife, Candice. Needless to say I was pretty excited to hear about his new venture a couple of years ago with the food cart on the mall and the driven attentiveness he gives his food. He never skips corners, and makes miracles happen with his smoker and cart. My favorite is the house cured pastrami with homemade 1000 island and sauerkraut. The meat is perfectly cooked and the smoke seems really to stand out in this perfectly balanced sandwich.”

2) Maiale Milanesa at Tavola. “Nothing quite brings me back to my mother’s cooking faster than a perfectly breaded thin cut of pork. The fact that I can then head to the back and experience the wizardry of Christian Johnston and his Cicchetti Bar is something that will always get me in the door. I have had the pleasure of watching and working alongside Christian, and seeing the fruits of his labor couldn’t make me more proud of his accomplishments and subsequent amazing reviews.”

3) Nachos at The Bebedero. “I think most of us hold a special place in our heart for the perfect plate of nachos, and I can’t say that I have had better than the one they serve at The Bebedero. Paired with one of the house margaritas, the combination of the longaniza, house pickled peppers, and rich cheese sauce make this truly as comforting a dish as I can recall.”

4) Tonkotsu at Mican. “Living downtown means I’m always just a short walk away from some rewarding ramen. I have tried most of the ramen at Mican, and each is fantastic but this one stands out to me as their finest. Both chicken and pork in a perfectly seasoned broth really makes any day a little bit better.”

5) Sherwood Farm 150 Day Dry Aged Tartare at Lampo. “Cutting out after work and enjoying some food and drinks at Lampo is one of my weekly mainstays. The four-headed monster of Loren, Mitch, Andrew, and Ian are seemingly always pushing the envelope on their specials and I love to get a hold of them when I can. This particular dish, prepared in a ‘classic’ approach, is one of the finest small plates I have had the pleasure of tasting. Perfectly balanced, with sea salt, capers, and the other usual suspects, it makes for an exceptional experience. Their extended hours of dinner service allow for a late meal, perfect cocktail, and an unsolicited Cubs score.”


Mican Auction



Here is your chance to experience Mican like you never have experienced it before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry. It’s The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions, presented by McGuireWoods. Along with all of the other restaurants in The Charlottesville 29, Mican has created a signature experience available to whoever pledges the highest donation to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.  Thanks to the generosity of Mican, the winning bid goes directly to the food bank, and each dollar donated is enough to provide four meals to the area’s hungry. So, a winning bid of, say, $1,000 means not just a wonderful meal for the winner and their guests, but also 4,000 more meals for the area’s hungry.

The Mican signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auction:

Omakase at Mican

“Omakase,” which has come to mean a meal of the chef’s choice, has its roots in the Japanese word for “entrust,” and it does require a great deal of trust of the sushi chef. Yoshihiro Tauchi, chef-owner of Mican, warrants that trust. The auction winner and three guests will be treated to an omakase meal of some of Tauchi’s favorite dishes, both raw and cooked, with sake and wine to go with them. An array of “exquisite, traditional Japanese dishes.” Tauchi will also visit with guests to describe the dishes and their preparation. Expect a few menu highlights and off-menu surprises. The ultimate Mican experience.

Note: The winner will schedule the meal at a mutually convenient time for Mican.


Bidding for the Mican auction closed on June 28, 2016.

Winning Bid: $700

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