The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Tavola

Five Finds on Friday: Elaina Mangione

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Elaina Mangione, co-owner of Mangione’s on Main, which just celebrated its first anniversary. Beginning today, Mangione’s is offering a special $39 three course menu for C-VILLE Restaurant Week, benefiting the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Chef Mick Markley’s restaurant week menu includes dishes like Duck Confit on Pappardelle Pasta and Smoked Salmon on Bucatini Pasta. Mangione’s picks:

1) Happy Hour Oysters and Clam Chowder at Public Fish & Oyster. “Bert and I love going here for happy hour and having one each from ‘The List’ and a glass of ‘Oyster Wine.’ I love oysters on the half shell, and they serve up such an amazing variety each week. And, the clam chowder is so delicious and comforting on a cold day. If we are lucky, we get to sit at the end of the bar and chat up the shucker and John all night.”

2) Maiale alla Milanese at Tavola. “Yes! I do go to other Italian restaurants. Tavola was one of the first restaurants I visited when I started coming to Charlottesville before moving here. I love everything about this restaurant – the European feel, the smell of mussels smoking up the joint, and of course the Cicchetti Bar. My go-to there is the Alpha & Omega, which Steve or Rebecca start making as soon as they see me walk through the door.”

3) Pot de Crème at Oakhart Social. “This is hands down my absolute favorite dessert in Charlottesville. The textures of this dish meet all of my requirements for a great dessert.  When I am having a case of the mean reds, the only thing that can fix me is their Pot de Crème. And if they ever remove it from the menu they may as well be Sicilian dead to me.”

4) Prime Rib at Aberdeen Barn. “Who doesn’t love a hometown, old world steakhouse that serves up a delicious prime rib? It is always spot on. We eat at the bar, hang out with our friends, chat up everyone there, and drink good wine. This is definitely our go-to hang out when we just want to go for comfort food and great people.”

5) Dumplings at Duner’s. “Chef Laura Fonner is our current local celeb, and she deserves all the accolades. Not only is she an awesome chef, she also gives back so much to the community. I have had her dumplings every time we have been there, and watching her make them in less than 30 minutes on the game show has put me more in awe of her abilities. The flavors are so bold yet somehow incredibly delicate and composed. Now, if she would only make them as a meal . . you know . . . like 20 dumplings per serving.”

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Tavola’s Secrets Revealed: New book with recipes from Charlottesville’s beloved Italian restaurant

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As many Tavola regulars know, there is history behind the restaurant’s unusual take on carbonara, the popular Roman pasta dish with a sauce of eggs, cheese, and either pancetta or guanciale. While Tavola chef-owner Michael Keaveny includes all of those in his linguine carbonara, he also adds something rarely seen in the dish: sausage. Why? That’s the way Keaveny learned how to make it.

As a teeanger in Hartford, Connecticut, Keaveny lived just around the corner from the legendary Italian-American restaurant Carbone’s. Growing up, Keaveny says, it was “kind of a given” that he would work at Carbone’s as soon as he was old enough. There, where Keaveny started as a dishwasher before working his way up, the carbonara always included sausage.  That was the way Keaveny figured it was supposed to be made. Plus, he says, it was delicious. And so, when, many years later Keaveny opened his own Italian restaurant, his carbonara contained sausage, just like at Carbone’s.

Has it been a hit? Well, yes. Tavola recently marked its tenth anniversary, and in its first decade served 24,593 plates of linguine carbonara.

And now, you can make it yourself.

To celebrate the ten year mark, Tavola has released a book, tavola – 10 greatest hits, music and food, with recipes of some of the restaurant’s most beloved dishes. Because Keaveny’s ingredient-driven approach to food often minimalizes chef intrusion, many of the dishes are not difficult to execute at home. Available online and at New Dominion, among other outlets, the book also includes recommended pairings, both wine and music.

So, what sounds good with Tavola’s linguine carbonara?  Bod Dylan’s When I Paint My Masterpiece.

Five Finds on Friday: Rachel Snogles

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Rachel Snogles, GM of Kama, the new Japanese restaurant at Violet Crown, whose Grand Opening is this weekend. A preview of Kama is here. Snogles’ picks:

1) Linguine Alla Carbonara at Tavola. “The quality of the pasta and attention to flavors in each dish are impeccable. Every pasta I’ve had has been fantastic, but a particular favorite is the linguine alla carbonara. Takes me back to Italy with every bite.”

2) Seven Hills Beef Tartare in The Coat Room at Brasserie Saison. “Whenever my family and I want a special night where we don’t have to think about making decisions, we always go to The Coat Room. They take it out of our hands and send food and drinks that suit our mood, though we always get the steak tartare with grilled oyster aioli when it is on the menu.”

3) Croque Madame at brunch at Commonwealth Restaurant. “I love brunch and rarely get to go, so when I do I want somewhere that does more than just bacon and eggs. At Commonwealth they nail it from classics like Eggs Benedict with Surryano ham to something more unique like the Dutch pancake with citrus chive marscapone with macerated berries. A personal favorite is the croque madame with the runny egg and delicious bechamel. It’s perfect for when I cannot decide between lunch and dinner.”

4) Margherita Pizza at Lampo.  “When it comes to wanting more than just a slice of pizza, Lampo is an obvious choice. A perfect crust makes the margherita pizza a treat every time. Save space for their cheese selection too.”

5) Pastry from MarieBette.  “Whether I am craving a canele, a chocolate almond croissant or simply want some good bread, MarieBette never disappoints.  It takes all my self control to not be there daily.”

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