Delicate Balancing Act at Brookville, Charlottesville VA

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This unassuming entrance lead to a wonderful meal when visiting my baby in college a  few weeks ago. She works there during the week and it was my chance to be in a space she spends a lot of her time and clearly enjoys.  From the moment we were greeted at the door through the entire meal I felt the care that infuses the restaurant. The space itself is comforting with warm lighting, an intimate arrangement of tables, textures of brick and wood, books…oh yes, books…why don’t more restaurants have them?

I was prepared to like anything (in the proud and happy glow of my daughter) that was served.

But.

I REALLY liked the food! I didn’t have to struggle to find good things to sing about. I didn’t have to break into teacher mode, looking for positive comments that hide my disappointment. Thank you, Brookville. I can see why my food-loving baby not only enjoys working there but why she respects the chef and people she works with. They are clearly a talented bunch.

It was such an incredibly thoughtful meal. The website describes the restaurant as “farm to table” comfort food. I would describe Chef Harrison’s style as hearty and refreshing, comforting and elegant. Let me explain through the courses (the images do not do justice) :

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First Course: Soft Scrambled Eggs and Biscuit Toast

The traditional southern dish of eggs and biscuits is a hearty and comforting treat. Chef Harrison’s presentation couples that instant recognition with luxuriously soft scrambled eggs served in the shell (like a soft boiled egg) and lightens the dish. Similarly the biscuit is transformed from hearty to elegant when sliced and toasted. This taste of transformed tradition accompanies the entire meal.

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Second Course: Salad with crisp apples

Thin sliced apples, restrained dressing transforms a hearty apple salad into an elegant combination of creamy and crisp textures.

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Third Course: Fresh pasta with mushrooms

Pasta and mushrooms would be a hearty, earthy, creamy and often heavy dish. In offering a light mushroom sauce with fresh pasta, Chef Harrison created a hearty feel with a light taste.

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Fourth Course: Chicken panzanella salad

The moist and delicately flavored chicken could have easily been lost against the crunch and chew of the salad. Instead, the chicken was complimented and highlighted by the salad. Simple, elegant, hearty and refreshing. Smartly crafted.

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Fifth Course: Champange Cake

A perfect end that combined and continued the simplicity and elegance of the meal.

I learned a hearty meal doesn’t have to be heavy. Traditional flavors can be transformed through presentation. Southern food can be casual, welcoming and thoughtfully elegant, just like Brookville, itself.

Thank you, chef Harrison for a wonderful dinner with my daughter and an elegant taste of Virginia.

http://www.brookvillerestaurant.com/

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