FOOD- THE DISH- Bonnes temps: Zydeco brings Bourbon St. to Corner
On September 20, Elliewood Avenue on The Corner tilted a bit toward Bourbon Street when Zydeco opened at 12 Elliewood right next to Martha's Café. The new Louisiana-themed spot is the brainchild of Shebeen owners Alex and Walter Flawfki. According to head chef Aaron Lamot, the duo has made "extreme" renovations to the building, imbuing it with New Orleans style, and even including a "Ladies Only" upstairs lounge with mirrors, a couch and coffee table, and three mirrors.
Zydeco hasn't done much advertising yet, says Lamot, because "We want to get the kinks out before we get slammed," but it sounds like they've been putting a lot of effort into the menu. For example, Lamot says it takes 12 hours to cook their pulled pork; they slow cook it at 165 degrees before it can be pulled. Add to that the pulled chicken and the bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with herb cream cheese, and who has time to advertise?
Lamont, who spent five years in Memphis learning the secrets of barbeque, says everything is made from scratch– gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys– taste treats to make Naw'lins natives homesick. He also says they use locally available smoking chips with flavors like apple, hickory, cherry, and nectarine. "I'm big on the apple smoked ribs," Lamont says.
In addition to lunch 11am-3pm, and dinner 5-10pm, Zydeco has ambitions to become a hot nightspot. With two bars, authentic barbeque, and a late-night (by Charlottesville standards, anyway) condensed menu until 1am, Zydeco might just light sparks on the Corner.
Au revoir, Ciboulette
When Charles Roumeliotes and Ken Wooten, along with their wives, Kate and Laura, open Orzo on November 1 in the old Ciboulette space in the Main Street Market, they're going to have some big shoes to fill. For five years, chef-owner José De Brito has been wooing Francophiles, first with his (primarily French) prepared food, cheese, and wine emporium, then with his French country bistro, where he served up rarities like escargots with parsley butter and creamy codfish brandade.
However, the Roumeliotes-Wootens seem up to the task. Right now they're busy redecorating the place and building a bar, something Ciboulette never had. And the team isn't short on experience, either. Roumeliotes, who moved here four years ago from California's Napa Valley, has spent 30 years in the restaurant business. He met Wooten while they were managing at Fuel Co., hit it off, and decided to search for a restaurant space. After nine months of searching, Roumeliotes thinks they've found the right spot.
"It's going to be a Mediterranean-style restaurant," says Roumeliotes, "pan-roasted fish, braised meat, homemade sauces. And we're also keeping the market to offer our rotisserie chicken, pastas, and other pre-made dishes."
Roumeliotes wants to keep the price down, from $10 to $16 for an entrée, and offer an extensive wine list.
Dish confesses our mouth began watering when Roumeliotes talked about cooking roasted potatoes in the pan below the rotisserie chicken with the savory juices dripping down. Show me the... table!
Zydeco brings a taste of Bourbon Street to Elliewood Avenue.
PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR