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Joined: 9/7/99 Posts: 11126
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Eating my basketball sorrows away at one of the best restaurants in town.

3 fraternity brothers, basketball fans and food lovers got together at Ivy Inn last night to take our minds off of the loss. We wanted to do something except dwell on the game, and it worked.

We (Ms. Chef and myself) have been to Ivy Inn plenty over the years and it's always very good. Angelo's food is top notch and I love the setting in winter. Like Fleurie, it doesnt have a casual feel of places like Alley Light, Lampo or Oakhart... so I tend to save it for when I'm in a particular mood.

While I've always really liked the food there, last night was something else entirely. Every single thing we had from the kitchen was spot on. From the pimento cheese amuse bouche to the bread, to all of the courses... it was easily one of the best executed meals I've had in town. It was my buddy from Nova's first trip there and he was angry that he hadn't been before. My other local buddy eats there plenty.

I will admit that we go overboard when we get together. We bring 2-3 bottles and eat at least 4-5 courses, and last night was no exception. I hadn't eaten anything since lunch and we had a very late reservation after the game.

First courses... split pea soup, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp and grits. Best version of shrimp and grits I've had... shrimp were charred and crispy outside, moist and tender in the middle. Creamy grits with tomato... just one of those WOW dishes IMO. Other two were excellent... especially the soup.

We all got the pork belly and quail egg for a second course... and again, just perfectly prepared in every way possible. Last time I was there, Ms. Chef claimed it (we never order duplicates) and this time I wouldn't be denied. I eat a lot of pork belly when I go out, and make it myself... and this one was UP there with the best I've had (and depressingly, better than any version I've made myself, by far). Crispy and succulent. The dish was just awesome... their version of bacon and eggs.

Pasta course was fettuccini carbanaro (bacon, parmesan and a quail egg) and ricotta gnocchi bolognese... both very good, but not standouts (gnocchi was better).

Mains were bison (me), filet, and duet of lamb. All excellent... all perfectly cooked (charred and salty on the outside, while perfectly cooked (mr for the steak and bison, mr/m for the rack of lamb) and tender on the inside. Sauces were spot on. Braised lamb with couscous and olives was a great accompaniment to the roasted rack. Potato au gratin with the steak was knock-your-socks-off delicious (I'm a sucker for a good gratin).

Sticky toffee pudding and some crazy crispy, velvety, chocolate cake for desserts rounded out what was almost a perfect meal.

Seriously, it was that impressive. We brought a 2006 Brunello (Ucceliera) and a 2010 Lillian Syrah that were both spot on.

So, now that I have reaped lavish praise on the kitchen for their execution of everything, I would reluctantly add that the service we got was among the worst we've had in town. I won't go into the details, and I'm not one to pay attention to small little things that annoy me (because the food is BY FAR more important for me), but I'll just say that I was really disappointed by the lack of skill and professionalism that we experienced... and leave it at that. It's one of those situations that I almost have to let Angelo know because I would be doing him a disservice if I didn't very tactfully share our experience. I'll put it this way... the food is Michelin-star worthy and if Michelin were to extend to Charlottesville, the wine and food service would keep that from happening... and that's very disappointing considering the food and setting.

As an aside, the old dirty biscuit and hash browns at Ace this morning was fantastic.

And now that I've consumed 4,000 calories in 12 hours, and I'm really hungover, I need a nap.

One more thing... Mg234, we miss you on the board and hope everything is okay. Please come back very soon. (To everyone else, I know absolutely nothing other than I've noticed her absence and want to send positive thoughts and prayers if by chance something bad has happened).

Posted: 02/10/2019 at 11:37AM


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Current Thread:
  Well at least one thing is for sure, -- GtownHoo 02/11/2019 08:17AM
  Shrimp and Grits is such a great dish. -- hokie in cville 02/10/2019 10:31PM
  Sounds like the kitchen performed like duke -- Zhoo 02/10/2019 4:20PM
  Damn I want to eat with you when The Hoos win -- HOOGATORB 02/10/2019 2:50PM
  Noma ** -- Hooddihsm 02/10/2019 4:50PM
  My waistline agrees with this sentiment. ** -- chefhoo 02/10/2019 2:56PM
  But not your brain -- 02/10/2019 3:20PM
  Id love to... just haven't yet ** -- chefhoo 02/10/2019 4:39PM
  Mg made an appearance last night . -- Birddog 02/10/2019 11:44AM

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