April 19, 2010

Traveling Foodie in Charlottesville: Boar's Head Inn

This post is mostly for the non-Southern portion of my readers, as the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville is pretty well known down here. Specifically, The Old Mill Room at the Boar's Head is one of those classic, well done restaurants that just makes you feel good.


The Boar's Head is in a perfect spot--close to downtown Charlottesville, but out in the "country" enough that you don't feel stressed out. Our table looked out on these beautiful rolling green hills, and was conveniently located right next to a giant party of senior citizens, because we had a 6:00 p.m. reservation. That's just how we roll.

T and I each had three courses. I had the Sweet Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi, the Butter Lettuce and Citrus Salad, and the Scallop Special, served over a sweet potato-polenta cake and sautéed leeks. T had the Open Face Seafood Ravioli, the Lobster Cappuccino, and the Veal Loin and Porcini Rolantini.

All in all, the dinner was a treat. There were a few places where the execution could have been better, but the majority of the dishes were fantastic--indulgent and really well done. My Sweet Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi was kind of sloppily presented, arriving in a soup bowl filled with corn, edamame, mushrooms, and a sage cream sauce (haha, elimination diet). The gnocchi itself tasted amazing, but the other veggies just cluttered up the dish when the real stars were the gnocchi and the sage cream sauce.

And while we both loved the taste of our first and last dishes, we felt that the second course offerings could have been stronger. I'm pretty sure I could have made a better salad than the Butter Lettuce and Citrus situation I was served, which featured some pretty clearly canned mandarin oranges, deep-fried onion ring-style shallots, and far too light of a vinaigrette. T's Lobster Cappuccino tasted good, but was too thin for his taste.

The best part of the meal for both of us was the main course--the scallops and the veal were fantastic (I did not try the veal), and the sweet potato polenta cake had a hint of nutmeg in it that made me really happy (even if the fall flavor felt out of place on a Spring evening).

I learned a good rule of thumb during the dinner, though: if I can make it well, why order it? Going out to eat at a place like the Boar's Head is a treat, and it makes no sense to order something I could do better myself (Butter Lettuce salad, I'm talking to you).

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