Culinary work-out: Restaurant Week 'widens circle of friends'

Once again, it looks like Restaurant Week has resuscitated the dining scene in the dead of winter, drawing thousands out to our area's favorite restaurants.While the Hook is still waiting for the numbers to come in from the 18 restaurants that participated, right now we know that the C&O, Orzo, Ten, Fossett's, Maya, The Bavarian Chef, and the Boar's Head Inn served a combined 5,465 meals during the week.

That means the chosen charity this time, Meals on Wheels, has a check for at least $5,465 coming–- with less than half the restaurants reporting their numbers!  

"Restaurant Week is a growing Charlottesville tradition we're proud to be a part of,"says Fossett's general manager Matthias Smith. "It's truly a terrific opportunity for us to showcase Fossett's. We're also thrilled to support the philanthropic component of the event."

So thrilled, in fact, that Smith says Keswick plans to match each one of its guests $1 contributions to Meal on Wheels ($1 of each $26 prix fixe meal goes to the charity) as part of Restaurant Week, something he says they'll continue to do in the future.

"It was awesome, a huge success,"exclaims Orzo's Ken Wooten."We were packed every night. When it snowed, we lost some reservations, but people who couldn't get a table repeatedly called to see if anybody had cancelled due to the weather, so all of the cancellations were quickly filled up again."

Now that Restaurant Week has a little history behind it, it appears restaurant owners and chefs are beginning to recognize other benefits beside the obvious one.

"You know in what high regard you stand by the feverishness in which people try to get reservations,"observes Fossett's executive chef Dean Maupin."This past week has inspired us to start planning for the next Restaurant Week."

"We're getting better at pulling it off,"says the C&O's Dave Simpson."I like restaurant week because it exposes us to people who might not otherwise come here, or who haven't before–-it widens our circle of friends."

Indeed, 2011's first Restaurant Week also widened our circle of participants. Brookville and The Bavarian Chef signed on, and although the latter is all the way out in Madison, and despite the weather, people made the trek out to the iconic German-style eatery off of 29 North.

"We saw a lot of new faces and enjoyed serving such a happy, friendly crowd,"co-owner Christine Thalwitz reports."It was great fun for a great cause. Our team is already looking forward to doing it again."

"It's a culinary-cardio workout at this time of year when things are slow,"says Simpson. "It's good preparation for our staff heading into the year."


Another great example of boosting local businesses.. It's going to take all of us to keep Charlottesville vibrant, and there are many people whose jobs depend on the success of our restaurants. Today's DailyDeal at Zazus is a great way to continue stimulating the restaurants, and I loved my egg, bacon, cheese burrito that I got for half price this morning . Can't wait to see what the next deal will be.

We went to Ten for restaurant week. Would definitely NOT go back during the promotion. $26 for the teeniest tiniest portion you can imagine is no deal at all. And i recognize that Ten is generally known for small portions, but this was absurd. Delicious food, but a terrible deal.

What did you expect at Ten? And was it really a terrible deal? Have you seen the regular menu? It's $30 for 6 pieces of sushi or sashimi. Normally, two people can't get out of there for less than $150. It's exceptional gourmet Japanese, for crying out loud...where else can you get that in town? If you wanted larger portions why didn't you go to the Aberdeen Barn?

Besides, Michelle Obama recommends that we eat less !

I ate at Brookville and the portions were great, food amazing! I am a new fan. I am no longer a fan of Fossett's and Ten. Fossett's was extremely overcooked, and I was quickly dismissed when I pointed this out. The portions were also teeny tiny! Ten is just a joke, it was like the itty bitty combo hamburger meal. Kudo's to Brookville and i hope to try the others next time!

Orzo was AWESOME! We will definitely go back -- numerous times.

WARNING: Unless you want to get addicted, don't try the best chocolate chip cookie you'll ever have. Warm with gooey chocolate and a side of vanilla gelato. SINFUL!


I am sorry you are so offended but I am inclined to disagree you with those places offering bite size portions like Ten. If they don't want to actually serve a meal for 26$, they should have stayed out of the promotion. It's supposed to be a special to get people in the door and impressed, and feeling like they got a deal.

Now all they are getting is their well deserved negative publicity.

@ Old Timer - I think it probably was a deal _relative_ to what they normally charge. It's not a place that's a good deal more or less ever, really. I like the bar and a few of the snacks/appetizers available but that's it.

@ Daniel -- I disagree that it's exceptional gourmet Japanese food. On the whole it's not well executed in my experience. That said, as I noted above I like the bar quite a lot, the bartender is very skilled and there are enough snacks and apps that I'm happy to sit at the bar with my wife on occasion.

I don't know how much this is all, or should be, negative publicity. It's one (or a few) person(s) who didn't like their portion sizes.

Fantastic news about the money raised for Meals on Wheels!

Who doesn't love a bargain. My grandmother was Scotch and she always said, " don't buy anything that's not on sale." Well, businesses have gotten around that by marking products up, and then discounting them, but restaurant week is a reminder for local couch potatoes to try something different now and again. And another thing my grandmother said, " Variety is the spice of life " and the Hook is great at trying new things to spice up the Charlottesville economy , and for that I am grateful .

Also a great idea to give part of the proceeds to charity. I like that aspect of the Daily Deal you are running as well.

The Scottish hate being called Scotch! Absolutely hate it. Scotch is
a drink.

Thank you Mer. My grandmother would have been horrified by my mistake, she was a teetotaler. But she loved a deal. She probably would have had her hair foiled just to get the savings at today's Hook Daily Deal.

I am a manager at Ten-Sushi and wanted to let you all know that the complaints about portion size during the Restaurant Week promotion are being heard and the problems will be resolved for the July 2011 Restaurant Week. We sincerely hope that most guests did enjoy their experience at Ten over Restaurant Week; and to those who did not please come back and dine with us another time so that we can prove to you that we are a first rate Charlottesville restaurant.

Also in regard to Restaurant Week it is not only a fantastic way to support a local charity, but it is a week where the Chef gets to flex his or her culinary chops. Kudos to the gastronomy wizards for putting together fantastic menus all across town.

Ten can be expensive, I will be the first to admit that, but there are items on our menu that if a table chooses (ask your server for help!) a guest can leave full and satisfied for $25-$30. We try our best to be a restaurant that is accessible to the entire range of budgets, from the most frugal to the lavish, and we are trying to break from the perception that Ten is a 'special occasion' restaurant to one that might become a weekly haunt.

All feedback and comments are welcome to be heard by myself or any of the other front of house staff members. We continually strive to improve Ten for our guests.

My husband and I left a message at Brookville to reserve a table specifying it was for Restaurant Week. They were on vacation in Jan. but their message said they'd call back. They never called back! Not good customer service to say the least. We did however have a great meal at the C&O, where we've never been disappointed in 15 plus years.

Zac: if u really want to improve TEN follow through and get rid of The Red Menace as she is known around town.

We ate at a few places this restaurant week and more or less enjoyed it all. I love restaurant week because it gives me an excuse and reason to eat at great places around town. That said my wife and i average $100 per place after drinks,tip and tax.

Fossetts - This place has never failed to impress me, and until the comment above i have not heard a negative review. Only odd thing was having to pick your wine from the lobby.

Ten - Went with my in laws. I really enjoyed everything, it is a level of sushi that a town of this size just doesn't deserve. My mother-in-law discovered that she doesn't like miso, but can hardly blame ten. The portions are small, but in line with what i would expect from a high end sushi restaurant.

Brookville - man do they love their pork, and so did we. I really liked the atmosphere and our waiter was laid back, but extremely into the menu and obviously proud of what was being server, which is always nice to see. I really don't have anything negative to say at all and will definitely be back.


We're glad you enjoyed yourself...and thanks for the reviews!


Thank you to everyone in Charlottesville who came and experienced Brookville. We are thankful that we are able to cook for such a great town and people. We hope y'all come back and we continue making bellys happy!!!!!

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