Charlottesville Restaurant Week is a foodie’s dream come true: all the top chefs in town are showing off their chops, yet somehow charging less. Whaaa?
According to Chef Curtis Shaver, it’s all about having fun and trying new things. “I look for those unique cuts and proteins that take a little more time and effort to handle properly,” he said. “The cuts are a little less expensive but show more skill.”
Below are a few of Curtis’s favorite cuts for Winter 2017 – including a fabulous vegetarian entree.
Salmon Belly Crudo
Curtis said he’s always wanted to serve a dish with salmon belly – a rich, flavorful and fatty morsel that often gets discarded when cleaning salmon. He finally managed to source an adequate amount from ProFish, a Washington, D.C.-area purveyor of sustainably harvested seafood. You’ll find the salmon belly served sashimi-style, uncooked and thinly sliced.
Grilled Denver Steak
Pastured Angus beef comes to us from Seven Hills Food Company in Lynchburg, VA. The Denver cut is taken from the chuck flap, underneath the blades of the short ribs. It’s well marbled, with excellent flavor, and more tender than other portions of the shoulder.
Escarole and Mushroom Duxelle Cannelloni
This vegetarian dish is built around Utica Greens – a classic Italian-American dish from upstate New York, commonly made of escarole braised with hot cherry peppers and topped with parmesan and bread crumbs. In this version, mushroom duxelle joins spicy greens inside the cannelloni. The whole shebang will be slathered with a bold puttanesca sauce chock full of olives and capers. The finishing touch is Esmontonian cheese, an earthy, aged raw goat cheese from Caromont Farm in Esmont, VA. Cheese maker Gail Hobbes-Page says it’s especially good right now.
Guajillo Braised Pork Cheeks
“Pork cheeks are always fun to work with,” Curtis said. “They’re a really tasty piece of the pig.” He likes to put something braised on the menu at this time of year, so these cheeks will be seared and then simmered with mild guajillo peppers for a rich, slightly smoky flavor. Look for the smoky notes to carry through the dish with house-smoked jalapeño and cheddar grits.
Hamiltons’ will offer a $39 three-course menu for Charlottesville Restaurant Week during dinner service January 20-28, 2017 (we are closed Sunday evenings). We suggest reserving a table in advance. You can book online or call (434) 981-2004.
$1 from each Restaurant Week meal served will be donated to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. With every $1 donation, BRAFB is able to provide 4 meals.