Tom Sietsema, of The Washington Post, is one of the nation’s most influential restaurant critics. The last of a dying breed, Sietsema is one of the few critics who still goes to great lengths to preserve anonymity, including disguises, aliases, and credit cards in ten different names. And, he is not easy to impress – famously stingy in awarding stars to the restaurants he reviews. Many good restaurants have to settle for just one or two stars.
Charlottesville 29 inductee The Alley Light earned two-and-a-half stars. In his review in the Washington Post this week, though Sietsema quibbled with the restaurant’s small table size and service he deemed too casual, he heaped praise on the food. “I was hooked by a number of dishes — haricots vert beneath shavings of frozen foie gras, plump frog legs atop creamy risotto, a seafood board that looked like Poseidon’s pantry,” wrote Sietsema. And, of chef de Brito’s boudin noir, Sietsema said: “Only David Copperfield could have made the dish disappear faster than this fan.”
No stranger to accolades, The Alley Light has received a glowing review from the Washingtonian’s Todd Kliman, made Eater’s Heatmap, won a James Beard semi-finalist nod for best new restaurant in the country, and was named one of Virginia’s twelve best restaurants by Thrillist. Congratulations to The Alley Light. Another feather in the cap for the restaurant and Charlottesville dining.