Charlottesville dinner: L’etoile

Ah, Charlottesville. You continue to surprise me, even after I thought I had experienced it all. Superbly professional at the C&O? Check. Deep beer list and occasionally funny, regularly reliable bistro fare at Michael’s? Check. Surprisingly regionally wonderful at the late lamented Southern Culture (ah, the sweet potato fries!)? Check. Late night emergency room visit after the mushroom soup at the late unlamented Northern Exposure the night of my graduation? Uh, check.

But nothing prepared us for dinner at L’etoile tonight. Well, appetizers at Michael’s helped. But seriously: duck confit amuse-bouche was a tiny morsel of duck perfection. Sweetbreads: large yet delicate and just browned, with bacon and mushroom demi-glace lending depth beneath. Trout, superbly prepared with a turnip puree holding together just enough Virginia ham and peas still toothsome…. and that’s just what I had. Turns out they’ve been around for more than ten years and we never had found them—until tonight, when sitting over beers at Michael’s, Lisa gave my iPhone a shake, and Urbanspoon came up with the name.

Alas, Charlottesville! As various cleverer people than I have said, I would go back there tomorrow, but for the work I’ve taken on.

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