Charlie and I have a lot to celebrate! Charlie has been working tirelessly for the past almost 6 years on his PhD in Economics and was just offered and accepted a position on the faculty at Penn State University. It has been a whirlwind few months preparing for interviews, traveling from school to school, and making a pretty big decision. Now that things have slowed down, we wanted to take a breather and celebrate with a nice dinner. We know Clifton Inn, Zynodoa, and Mas, but we wanted to try something new. Parallel 38 recently opened in the new Stonefield shops and the menu looked great, so we made a reservation.
The restaurant is right next to the movie theater on Bond St. We lucked out and found parking right on the street across from the restaurant. Inside, the restaurant is somewhat dark, but inviting, with high unfinished ceilings. The lighting fixtures are very industrial and simple. Charlie and I sat at a small 2 seat table right across from the kitchen window. Ben, our server, explained the concept of the restaurant and recommended we take a look at the extensive wine list. They do have a sommelier who helped Charlie decide between a couple of whites.
We ordered the spread sampler and the 2 meat and cheese platter and let Ben choose the remaining dishes. We had such a great experience in Asheville letting our waiter pick our menu so we wanted to try the method at Parallel 38. First, the labneh (a yogurt spread with pita) was delicious. We also got hummus and htipiti with the spread sampler, but I pretty much devoured the labneh. We tasted JAMÓN SERRANO (similar to prosciutto) and SALCHICHÓN IBERICO (a salami from iberico pigs) as well as GARROTXA (goat’s milk cheese) and IDIAZABEL (cow’s milk cheese). It worked perfectly! I preferred the salchichon and Charlie preferred the jamon. I preferred the idiazabel and Charlie the garrotxa.
Next up, our surprise plates. Ben sent out SAMFAINA (vegetable dish with zucchini and tomatoes), CHOIRINI PANSETA (pork belly), and GAMBAS AL MARATHO (shrimp with chorizo, fennel, and feta). Each dish was very good and well done. The pork belly was very well cooked and had an excellent crust on the outside. It was a little sweet but had a good balance of meat and fat. The shrimp combination was delicious. Charlie isn’t the biggest fan of shrimp but he really enjoyed the chorizo and fennel mix. The shrimp was well cooked and I really enjoyed the dish. The vegetable dish came with a roasted tomato sauce and some labneh on the plate. The combination was very simple and well done. We finished our evening with some almond cookies (home-made) served with chocolate ice cream and pomegranate mousse. The cookies had a great flavor, the texture was a little off.
We had a great time. The service was solid and our meal was very good. I’m so glad we have such an awesome selection of restaurants in Charlottesville and Parallel 38 is certainly a great addition.