After hearing rave reviews about BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, we were excited to try it out and see if a couple of vegans could actually make a meal out of it. For the most part, we were beyond impressed. Not only is the drive out there lovely, the place itself and the staff are equally welcoming. We immediately informed the woman behind the counter that we were vegan and asked what we could have. Despite being extremely busy on a gorgeous Sunday, one of the owners came out and spent a couple of minutes with us to ensure we were able to eat according to our wishes.
Our meal for the day: bbq tofu, spicy coleslaw, deep fried pickles, and fried green tomatoes.* Let’s start with the tofu, which can be difficult to do well for many reasons. At home we always go with Twin Oaks due to the super firm consistency and great flavor but I’m not sure it would fare well as a bbq option. Theirs was just right. Perfect firmness for a sandwich and unbelievable BBQ flavor. I do wish we had been given a larger portion. We were tempted to order more.
The sides were equally amazing. We are definitely not afraid of spice so when she warned that the spicy coleslaw was really spicy we were intrigued. In typical fashion, we could have used it even spicier, but understand that not everyone does, and it was delicious as it was. That brings us to the deep fried pickles. Phenomenal. Truly addictive – we would consider the drive out there just to order them. If you are a pickle fan in any way they are a must-order. The least exciting of all the items were the fried green tomatoes. Having grown up on the west coast, I am not at all familiar with these and this was my first experience. The flavor was good (although I was not blown away) but the tomatoes themselves were a bit mushy. We took some home and I will say they were much better cold the next day.
The restaurant was extremely clean, the staff was especially friendly and the setting was quaint. We did have to wait quite a while for our fried pickles and tomatoes but it was worth it. Add in the great beer selection and you have the perfect combination for a Sunday summer afternoon – great drive in the country, wonderful food, cold beer. Makes us wish Sunday wasn’t so far away…
* Important note: We discovered afterwards that the fry batter has milk in it.