Plus ca change: Ciboulette still French at heart

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The HooK: FOOD- THE DISH- <I>Plus ca change:</I> Ciboulette still French at heart

 

 

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Holiday 36

Most people can pronounce it, but not everyone knows that "Ciboulette" is French for "chives." One of the first businesses to occupy the Main Street Market, this French cheese, wine, and gourmet foods market that started serving lunch and occasional (elaborate) dinners last year has a new manager and executive chef, Heidi Gresko.

"We're doing everything we can to help Ciboulette succeed," says new financial manager and controller Stephanie Bosserman. And that involves having Heidi run the restaurant, while José uses his strengths in the retail/wholesale division of Ciboulette."

José is José De Brito, a former truffle rep in New York City who developed quite a following for the unpasteurized cheese specimens he regularly acquired for Ciboulette from France.

Since January, De Brito has been devoting his days to bringing more gourmet goods (cheeses, truffles, olive oils) to towns like Richmond, Roanoke, and Lynchburg. Though he's frequently on the road, De Brito is still available by appointment at Ciboulette.

This new arrangement seems to be working just fine for Gresko. A native of Arizona, she moved from the Florida Keys last October after reading Cities Ranked and Rated. (The pesky book that named Charlottesville the best place to live!)

This petite, 34-year-old chef has quite a pedigree. On the west coast, she worked as executive chef at Le Petit Zinc in L.A., at 20th Century Fox, at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix and as pastry chef at Fess Parker's in Santa Barbara.

The east coast side of her résumé includes a recent stint at the luxe Little Palm Island Resort and Spa restaurant. Gresko has been sous-chef to the likes of Christopher Gross and Vincent Guerithault, both James Beard award winners, and she has studied with everyone from Jacques Pépin to Julia Child. She's known for her fusion of French and California (seasonal, organic, inventive) cuisines.

So what can we expect from this nouvelle Ciboulette?

Well, Gresko has already introduced a new lunch menu featuring classic French bistro fare like steak au poivre served with thin, crisp pommes frites; rotisserie chicken crèpes; Nicoise and sautéed chicken liver salads; and sandwiches like the croque monsieur (French ham, Gruyère cheese, and bechamel on a croissant).

A fan of Chris Bianco's Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (considered by most as the best pizza in the U.S.), Gresko says Ciboulette will now offer pizzas with toppings like duck confit, caramelized onions, and pistachios. Customers will soon notice a wider selection of wines as well as a substantial artisanal cheese case.

As soon as she can muster up the staff, Gresko plans to offer Sunday brunch. When will she rest?

 

Lunch on the patios at Vivace

 All of you long-lunch lovin' west-of-towners will be happy to hear that Vivace is now serving lunch Monday-Friday (11:30-2pm).

Owners Beth and Tom Lippmann say the idea came from their customers. "They seemed to really want a full-service lunch, and so that's what we're providing," Beth says.

The new mid-day menu, created by the Lipmmanns and their new chef Landon Saul, offers everything from Rita's slow-cooked beef sandwich (Beth's mom's recipe) to numerous pasta dishes (bolognese, alfredo, pesto), salads, sides and– naturalmente – wines by the glass.

Vivace spreads across its Ivy Road hilltop like a country all its own, offering diners an enticing array of ambiance choices– lower or upper patio? Under the wisteria-draped pergola or the weeping cherry tree? Plush vintage couches by the fire, or candlelit private dining room?

 

Win some, lose some

 Dish is sad to say that Magnolia is no longer serving southern-inspired lunch in Scottsville. Chef/Owner Howie Velie, who makes just about everything from scratch and even hunts his own mushrooms, decided this month to put all of his creative energy into dinner. Lucky for us, his Sunday brunch is still an option.


One of many dining venue choices at Vivace
The indefatigable Heidi Gresko

PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA BALL

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