Posts Tagged Rating: 3 stars

Blue Ridge Pig 

Hard to see but massive ribs and excellent pork and beans and slaw at Blue Ridge Pig in Nellysford, VASometimes a restaurant just calls to you. It whispers sweet oinks in your ear while you’re sleeping and sculpts pig shapes in the clouds overhead. “Come, my child,” it says. “Come and sit for a spell. Take a load off. Let us fatten you up with some tender morsels of hearty saltpork.” After reading that a carefully judged BBQ competition resulted in a tie between BBQ Exchange and Blue Ridge Pig, a friend asked us what we thought about going to the latter for a small birthday party. After the oinks and clouds, it was the last sign. Just the… Read More

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Mykonos Cafe 

Spanakopita "Spinach Pie" at Mykonos Café in Charlottesville, VAIt’s curious that the only reason I knew Mykonos Cafe existed was from walking past it from time to time. Regardless of their advertising shortcomings, the Greek-born owners know how to make tasty Greek food. This is not a restaurant with any conspicuously trendy leanings towards organic or local food, and the chefs certainly have no formal training in texture, contrast, or artful arrangement. However, I’d like to imagine that if I had a Greek family, this is exactly the food they would make for me. Just don’t tell Michael Pollan.

The spanakopita “spinach pie” was crispy, flavorful, and huge, while my gyro… Read More

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Buttz BBQ 

Three meats, two sides platter: (clockwise from top left) pulled pork, ribs, baked beans, white slaw and pulled chicken.When considering the range of late-night food options on the Corner, one could wonder what more they could ask for. Between pizza, sandwiches, and burritos, it seemed that any eater could get their fill after midnight. Now, Buttz BBQ has stumbled onto the scene, and is serving delicious barbeque from 11:30 pm – 3 am. What’s even better than barbeque that tastes great at  2 am? Barbeque that tastes just as good at 7 pm. That’s exactly what Buttz delivers.

Buttz offers several types of meat and many different accompanying sides. After hearing rumors that this joint was serving up worthwhile barbeque on… Read More

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Fry’s Spring Station 

Good-looking and average-tasting pizza at Fry's Spring StationIt’s hard to screw up pizza. We can debate the virtues of thick vs. thin, doughy vs. crispy, but the baseline pizza experience is almost always positive. Many a restaurant has ridden on the greasetrails of crappy baseline pies to mild success, whether by virtue of their proximity to drunken people, good delivery options, or a location free from better food options. But if you’re a start-up in the saturated (fat) Charlottesville pizza market, you’ve got to aim above the baseline to make it work, and Fry’s Spring Station isn’t doing that.

The restaurant space itself is fun. Charlottesville loves its gourmet and converted service… Read More

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The Downtown Hotdog Company 

The Downtown Hot Dog CompanyAh, the hot dog. Baseball and barbecue staple, street minute-meal for the suddenly starved. Proud poster child of American no-nonsense-ness, butt of mystery meat and wiener jokes.

Or so it was. The arrival of The Downtown Hotdog Company, along with such international crazes as Japadog, heralds a new era of thinking about and eating hot dogs. No longer content to be monopolized by Oscar Meyer or confined to white buns, Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, and maybe some diced onions or pickle relish, the noble wiener is going gourmet.

At the Downtown Hotdog Company, you can pick from a dozen arrangements – including such stand-outs as “The Dragon” with… Read More

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Camino 

Camino on Market Street by Vinegar Hill TheaterI remember when Erin and I discovered Il Cane Pazzo. It was a cold autumn night, and we had decided to see a movie at Vinegar Hill. In the ticket line, Erin craned her neck to take in the warm glow of the restaurant next door. “Why have we never noticed this place?” she said. I shrugged and went over to look at the menu. Just a few items, classic Italian with a twist here and there, not cheap. As it turns out, it was also fantastically delicious. Some of the best Italian either of us had ever had. When it went away and Camino took… Read More

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The Local 

Tuna Steak Frites with wakame salad – good flavor but too thickThe local food movement has come a long way in two years. When we heard, in February of 2008, that there would soon be a restaurant in Belmont serving dishes made from Virginia farm ingredients, we thought it was a novel and brilliant idea. The Local opened a month later, and we were one of the first in line. That first meal was everything we hoped it would be – rustic and fresh, simple but whimsical. Unfortunately, all of the meals we’ve had there since have failed to live up to the promise of that first one, and… Read More

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Milan 

Ho-Hum Chicken Tikka MasalaIf you read cVillain or spend time on Charlottesville-Dining.com, you have witnessed the absurd mudslinging battles between two of Charlottesville’s three or four Indian restaurants. I won’t go into detail now — I’ll save it for the curry cage match coming later — but suffice to say that Milan considers itself the premier Indian restaurant in town, and many people I know would agree. I personally find it the least good of all of them.

We were with a big group on our most recent visit, so we ordered a dozen different dishes. We had the Samosas, Chicken Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer, Chili Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, and Shrimp Masala… Read More

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St. Maarten Café 

Get your own stein at the bar or enjoy a beer under a marlin.Before there was Cheeseburger in Paradise there was St. Maarten Café. Tucked away on the dark side of the Corner, backed up against the railroad tracks, St. Maarten’s has been inconspicuously serving up juicy burgers, solid wings, and beachy cocktails for almost twenty-five years. It won’t win any prizes for popularity, but it’s not for lack of things to like.

The entrance is as drab and non-descript as a speak-easy, but the interior is festive, draped with enough ocean-faring paraphernalia to make Captain Quint feel at home. There are fish tanks, giant marlins on… Read More

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Tokyo Rose 

Tokyo Rose - 5I’m perhaps the least qualified person ever to review a sushi restaurant. I avoid raw fish and hate the taste of seaweed. Yet I’m a big fan of Tokyo Rose, so consider this a heartfelt yet unqualified restaurant review.

Apparently back in the day this Ivy Road spot was a hot destination spot with great live music. Now, not so much. Since Tokyo Rose’s reopening in 2005, every time we visit there’s always a sprinkling of patrons but it doesn’t exactly scream nightlife. The setting is nice enough with a sushi bar that I’ve never seen anyone sit at and a private room with traditional Japanese floor seating. Supposedly there’s a downstairs karaoke bar but we have… Read More

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