Saturday, July 21, 2007

C & O

At the east end of water street across from the tracks lies C & O. Its website proudly proclaims that it is the "least prepossessing fine dining restaurant in America", at least that is what a writer at the Washington Post thinks. If prepossessing is taken to mean "that impresses favorably; engaging or attractive", I strongly disagree. If it means not pretentious, which it doesn't, I would agree.

The path to the bar takes you past the gas torches into the wooden upstairs, and down the narrow (revolutionary era?) steps. Underneath the stairs hides the W.C., the coziest washroom in C-ville, and at the foot of the steps lies the stewing kitchen. The thick wooden bar dominates the room while small tables fill the rest. When it is at capacity, it feels like a rowdy saloon, except that everyone is well behaved enough to hold down the jobs necessary to pay the prices on the menu.

As it stands now, this is my favorite restaurant in C-ville, but I have yet to experience Fleurie and Oxo, so perhaps I should withhold judgement. Unpretentious does not apply to the the other two places. At C&O the updated appetizers include ceviche, beef pate, and a crabcake with tarragon and lobster sauce. These were amazing. For an entree, the steak chinoise is the most conservative choice. Being a more adventerous eater pays off in the duck breast, rainbow trout, and vegetarian pave, all excellent. Creme brulee is harder to come by in Charlottesville than in Paris. C&O delivers, while somehow Zinc does not.

C&O is known for their wine list. There is a price for every wallet. I have nothing critical to say about this restaurant. Dinner for two: $90.

515 E Water St
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 971-7044

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