Charlottesville started hosting Restaurant Week last year. Charlie and I were fans of restaurant week while we lived in DC and unfortunately missed out on Charlottesville’s inaugural year last year. We’ve been meaning to check out C&O for a while now and figured this was a perfect chance to go. We met up with friends, Joe and Patten, on a super cold Thursday the other week. The restaurant apparently used to be a stopover for the train passengers and the wooden beams and bricks and crackling fire when you walk in are so comforting.
After sitting down, each of us chose our three courses off of the preselected menu.
First Course: Charlie was the brave one and tried the pate. Patten and I had the mushroom risotto (I can’t turn down risotto especially with mushrooms) and Joe had a beautiful salad. 4 stars all the way around
Second Course: I was the loaner on this round. Charlie, Patten, and Joe all selected the well-known Steak Chinoise (we have heard great things about this C&O classic) and I braved the trout. Let me tell you that the potatoes that accompanied the steak were to die for! So rich and creamy and could warm even a hypothermia victim. Really awesome! I was not so impressed with my trout. In fact, I barely ate it. The first bite I took had me crunching on some serious bones that were big enough that I needed to think whether they could belong to a trout. The starch was a mixture of black eyed peas and some grains. It was definitely a home cooked taste, but not my style. Bummer. 4.5 stars out of 5 for the steak – Charlie adds this to the top five list of things he has tasted in C’ville (along with an zucchini amuse bouche from Clifton, duck from Zocalo, halibut from Clifton, and ribs from Maya). No star rating for the trout.
Third Course: Joe and Charlie finished off the evening with a chocolate espresso pot de crème (“good…real good”). Patten had gingerbread with apples – smelled divine, and I had some vanilla ice cream with a chocolate dish and raspberry sauce. I think I struck out again. The chocolate dish was not flavorful and the ice cream just wasn’t very delicious.
I understand the appeal of C&O and how many people claim it is one of the best restaurants in C’ville. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and saying that because they were swamped and it was restaurant week – maybe not the best showing. We’ll have to try it again.