The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Timberwood Grill

#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

#17: Pho-rench Dip – Feast!

Photo by Do Me A Flavor.

The Dip

“Soggy” is not often a compliment for food, but sometimes moisture can enhance a sandwich. A dip in a flavorful broth or sauce allows the liquid’s seasoning to seep into every last corner of the sandwich.

Among Charlottesville’s several stellar iterations, there is none better than Feast!’s Pho-rench Dip. It is the creation of Head Chef Dan Frosaker, who once managed the kitchen at Pok Pok, then one of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants for Southeast Asian cuisine. Frosaker draws on that experience to combine roast beef, basil, cilantro, and spicy mayo on Albemarle Baking Co. ciabatta. But, the key is the side of pho broth, the product of a lengthy, but worthwhile process that starts with charred onions and ginger. Then comes toasted star anise, black cardamom, fennel seeds and coriander seeds, with beef stock. The broth reduces for several hours, breaking down the onions, which thicken the stock. To finish, Frosaker adds Sriracha and lime for brightness. It’s a heady, flavorful broth, and may be the reason that popular demand moved this former special to Feast’s regular menu.

#17: Pho-rench Dip – Feast!
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Hot, Wet Beef at Kitchenette (GFA), Torta Ahogada at La Michoacana, The Drip at Peloton Station, Roast Beef Sandwich Au Jus at Kardinal Hall, The Hercules at Timberwood Grill; Vegetarian Alternatives: Grilled Cheese With Tomato Soup at Taste Shack (GFA)

Five Finds on Friday: Cesar Perez


Photo by Tom McGovern.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Cesar Perez, chef of The Bebedero, Will Richey’s Mexican restaurant due to open next month.  Details here.  Perez also cooked at The Alley Light and was sous chef of The Whiskey Jar.  Perez says he really likes the pork chop at The Whiskey Jar, in addition to his five picks:

1) Grilled Salmon at ZoCaLo. “Every time I come in to this place, I crave the delicious salmon. I love the fact the it is always perfect and consistent as the time before.”

2) Cemita de Carne Asada at Al Carbon.  “I come from Puebla, where these sandwiches are created, and I just love the fact that we finally have these cemitas in Charlottesville. When I first saw them on the menu I was I little skeptical, but they really won me over.  They are as good as I remember!”

3) Danny Laruso Burger at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint.  “I love this burger. I love how the cream cheese and jalapeño jelly infuse with the burger. It’s like a party in my mouth!”

4)  Lamb or Goat Masala at Royal Indian.  “I love all the flavors found in this dish – you get creamy, spicy and sweet at the same time, along with a million more flavors infusing in your mouth!”

5)  Honey Fire Sirloin Tips Pasta at Timberwood Grill.  “I really like this pasta.  It’s nice and creamy, hot and sweet, and the sirloin tips are cooked to perfection. It’s an amazing pasta overall!”

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