Sunday, February 17, 2008


Valentine's Day (really the day after) seemed like as good a time as any to visit the fanciest and most expensive restaurant in Charlottesville. Oxo is a close second. (The Barboursville restaruant is outside the city.) Tucked into one of the side streets of the downtown mall on 3rd St. NE, Fleurie has been hosting "special occasion" dinners since 2001. In the home of a former pottery shop, it fills a small space split in two by a divider. The north wall is lined with comfy booths. A bar fills the southeast corner. Small tables are neatly spaced along the front window and along the pale yellow walls.

Upon seating we were offered champagne but passed. The wine list is extensive and all the wait staff seem to know it well. We opted for a lower end Burgundy, but lower end is $40. A prix fixe menu included around five choices each for appetizer, main course, and dessert. The meal started with an amuse-bouche (this place is French after all) of a piece of salmon over a parsley puree. The lobster bisque was less creamy than I expected but excellent. The meal never let up after the amuse-bouche. For the main entrees, there were scallops over green couscous, amazing, and flounder over white beans with a caviar garnish, splendid. We opted for the blueberry souffle with homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert. Just thinking about how good it was makes me want to swear. After that came some tiny pastry treats from the pastry chef: truffles, lemon meringue, and some sort of sweet bread. Settling the tab enforced that the price is steep, but the meal was certainly memorable. Dinner for two was $200 so it's not the place to go when your reason for dining out is that you don't want to have to clean up the kitchen after dinner.

Fleurie Restaurant‎
108 3rd St NE, Charlottesville, VA
(434) 971-7800‎

Monday – Thursday 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Friday – Saturday 5:30pm to 10:00pm

Unfortunately, Fleurie is on the street that's been torn up since late summer. The mess and construction machinery in front of the restaurant is amusing to me, but can't be for the people whose businesses are here.

A conspiracist might suggest that someone at city hall is carrying out a vendetta by trying to shut down a business on the street. The likely explanation is an underprepared contractor. Regardless, I doubt that patrons of Fleurie are deterred.

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