Eggs-travagant: Caviar gets green light
Until about a month ago, there were few, if any, eateries in town offering diners the most and extravagant of epicurean indulgences: caviar. But thanks to Blue Light Grill's trend-setting chef, Reed Anderson, we can all splurge on beluga ($184/oz.), osetra ($80/oz.) and sevruga ($48/oz) caviar thousands of miles from the Caspian Sea, right on the Downtown Mall.
"It seemed odd to me that caviar was not available at any restaurants in town," says Anderson, who's hoping to create a bit of a caviar craze. To encourage the uninitiated, Blue Light offers the option of adding a dab of caviar to any of their oysters for $8 per half dozen.
Though its scarcity makes the word rare in Charlottesville, the term "caviar" is often misused to describe the salted roe of fish as common as salmon and paddlefish. But, technically, "caviar" refers to the salted roe of the sturgeon. And that's what you get at Blue Light.
There are actually several sturgeon species indigenous to this country. In the 19th century– before over-fishing and pollution nearly eradicated the species– the U.S. was actually one of the largest caviar producers in the world. Now, thanks to sturgeon farms in California and Florida, American caviar is making a comeback. Anderson gets his beluga from the west coast and his osetra from Florida.
Also new at Blue Light are the new wait-staff uniforms: black Chinese caps and jackets. There's even a new summer menu featuring a fried green tomato and ahi tuna "club," house-seasoned potato chips (instead of bread!), and a new root beer float for dessert.
"I've been on a nostalgia kick lately," Anderson says. He also admits to being influenced by a recent trip to New York City, where "pop rocks" candies were a popular dessert accent at several top-notch eateries. A bit more elegant, Anderson's float is served with an edible sugar-dusted nasturtium flower and ginger snaps.
New Grill fills Jarman's Gap
Big changes are under way at Jarman's Gap in Crozet. Just last week, Dish paid a visit to the building owned by Coran Capshaw and found renovations progressing apace. The old kitchen is history, wooden booths are getting a facelift, and formerly dark walls have been painted cheerier shades of yellow.
These aren't just signs of a new Jarman's Gap, but of an entirely new restaurant: Three-Notched Grill.
The chef-owners of what promises to be a (more) family-friendly eatery come from Duner's, a venerable landmark along the 250 West corridor. Cathy and Hayden Berry ran the kitchen at Duner's for an impressive 17 years! (Taking Cathy's place as executive chef at Duner's is Mark Otis, formerly of Palladio Restaurant.)
When I asked about Three-Notched Grill's opening date, Hayden jokingly answered, "Coming soon– just like Bodo's!" But since Corner bagels are now a reality, we can expect Crozet's new grill by early August, if not sooner.
MC2 mystery? Sudden closure in Nellysford
Nellysford just lost an eatery. MC 2, the upscale café located in the Valley Green Shopping Center, closed about a month ago, oddly right after completing a major renovation.
Affiliated with Mossy Creek Café and Catering in Fishersville, MC 2 was owned by chef Craig Nargi. Dish received word of the dining room upgrades and menu changes on May 17.
"It's just been so slow that Craig decided to cut his losses and close, even after the renovation," Nikki Nargi, Craig's wife and marketing director, tells Dish. According to the property manager, who was in the dark about the owner's closing motives, the space has been completely vacated, and he's searching for a new tenant.
Charlottesville's new czar of caviar: Reed Anderson of Blue Light Grill
PHOTO BY CHRISTINA BALL
Coming soon: Three-Notched Grill
PHOTO BY CHRISTINA BALL