100-mile chef: Brookville's lunch a taste of things to come
If you like locally sourced food cooked exquisitely, Dish suggests you wander down to Brookville Restaurant on the Downtown Mall (above Escafe) and check out their lunch menu. Chef/owner Harrison Keevil says he’ll start serving dinner around mid-August, when he hopes to get his ABC license, but a visit for lunch now is a great way to get a taste of what this passionate chef has in store for us.
“Ingredients are everything,” says Keevil. “I buy great local food, and just try not to screw it up.”
Of course, you’ll pay for this lunch–about $13 or $20 per person if you get a starter–but you’ll get what you pay for: a seductive zucchini fritter that's both smooth and lightly-crispy, bold thin-cut house-made potato chips, and a frittata with goat cheese, greens, and grated carrots doing a slow dance on your palate you don't want to end. They also have a tangy house mixed burger blended with hanger steak and bacon. They even bake their own buns for those burger. Dish wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a cow and goat in the kitchen.
Sure, plenty of local restaurants source local food, but none that Dish knows of are going at it like Keevil wants to.
If he can keep up this kind of quality control, locals foodies could be in for a treat. What's more, Keevil appears willing to do what it takes.
“I consider myself a 100-mile chef,” he says, meaning the emphasis is on using ingredients grown or raised within a 100-mile radius of Charlottesville. So don’t expect to see the same thing on the menu every week, as Keevil only plans to cook what he can source.
Indeed, during the winter months, when local farms aren’t producing anything, Keevil says he’ll turn to jamming, pickling, salt-curing, and smoking to create many of his dishes–the same thing folks did in Mr. Jefferson’s day during the winter months. Using more modern technology, Kevil says he plans to work with local producers who use polytunnels, a system used to grow plants in the off-season.
“I’m hoping Cville will accept the fact that they will see new things on the menu they didn’t see the week before,” he says. “It's time to revert our eating habits to the way they used to be, because it’s the right way to do things.”