In January and July, many restaurants in Charlottesville participate in a charity event called “Restaurant Week”. For one week, the menu changes from the normal and is a limited prix fixe selection (that’s a preset meal with a fixed price).
I took my husband to C&O restaurant on the downtown mall. He has never been, and my last time was over 10 years ago. The price was $36/person for a 3-course dinner.
The C&O is a lovely place to go as a couple. It is very quiet and private. Although my children are well-behaved, I would not bring them here. This is a place for grown-ups. The lower level eating area is dark with interior brick walls (no windows). The upper level is bright and sunny with windows. If you have a preference, you should let the restaurant know when you call for reservations.
Again, this review is for food from the special Restaurant Week menu, so you may not find the first course or main course on the menu. The desserts are regular. However, these should give you a good sense of what type of food you will get: Fancy, Beautiful, Tasty.
I ordered the tuna, and this was my favorite dish of the night. My husband let me taste all his dishes, and the tuna with fois gras still won.
The crostini on top was so thin and delicate. It was perfect with the tender tuna. Then, a great surprise: a thin slice of fois gras underneath the tuna that was so rich and buttery, I could finally understand why people love it so much. Fois gras is duck or goose liver. I did not want to like it, but it was impossible.
My husband ordered the pork loin salad, and he thought the manchego cheese was fantastic. This is big! My husband eats one kind of cheese: Sharp Cheddar. He’s maturing!
He actually ate this so quickly, I am remembering now that I did not taste the pork. Oh well! We were both enjoying our first courses.
My husband chose the better dish for our main course: Scallops!
Here is the full description of this dish: Roasted Scallops with Zucchini Carpaccio, Lobster-Basil Vinaigrette & Whipped Cauliflower. This is such an odd combination, but it was really good!
I ordered the steak, because I am a mushroom-lover. These oyster mushrooms were as big as the steak and just as meaty. The crispy topping is made from potatoes. I am not sure what the greens are…maybe radish greens. They were slightly bitter but paired well with the sweet red wine bearnaise sauce.
I shared half my steak with my husband; he’s not used to eating only 3 scallops for dinner. We are so used to eating large amounts of food in America, that it’s hard to actually savor every small bite (sad, but true!). We will have to train ourselves before we visit Paris next spring.
I am not a big sweets person, so if there is a cheese plate available for dessert, I will always pick it. I think a cheese plate is a perfect ending to dinner, and it is excellent with the wine I am still drinking.
Do you see that red block of jelly? It’s called membrillo, a jelly made from Quince fruit. Wikipedia says it’s a confection from Portugal, Italy & Spain. Like other preserves, the membrillo is sweet and tart but with a hard gritty texture. It is OK.
My husband enjoyed the peanut butter and chocolate mousse dessert. I am not a big peanut fan, so I did not care for it.
In all, I would visit C&O again with my husband. The food is so visually appealing and every taste was a nice surpise. I would love to take more photos. I get hungry just looking back at these pictures.
515 E Water St