So when I heard there was a new restaurant in town specializing in biscuits and barbecue, I couldn't wait to go! Unfortunately, it took me until now to actually make it over to Ace - the new culinary outlet of former Zocalo sous chef Brian Ashworth. And even now, I only made it for breakfast, but man was it worth it!
This past Saturday was actually the very first day that Ace had ever been open on the weekend, so Allie and I decided we had to head over and give it a try. We were worried it might get crowded and had heard it was a small place, so we went right when it opened at 9am. Pulling up outside of Ace, you can get a feeling for just how small the restaurant is inside. It is situated in a small brick building a few blocks off of Preston Avenue and has a small parking lot right outside the door. We knew we were in the right place when we saw the large pig mural on the side of the building!
When we got inside, we were the second couple to have arrived for breakfast. The restaurant itself is, as I mentioned, quite small, with one 6-person
table in the middle and bar-style seating for about 8 more guests along
2 walls. By the time we had ordered and taken a seat at the table, the place was starting to fill up and before we left, it was standing-room only. Ace also seemed to do a robust carry-out business just during the short time we were there. We took a moment to examine the large chalkboard menu on one wall, but we had already studied the menu on the way over (oh the beauty of iphones!). We headed up to the pig-inspired kitchen mixer to order our breakfast.
Okay, so first let me say that this place makes almost everything in-house, including much of their meat - from the breakfast sausage, to mexican chorizo, oak-smoked pulled pork, slow-cooked turkey breast, and pit beef. Biscuits are made fresh daily and eggs are cooked to order.
So, for breakfast Allie chose to create a biscuit sandwich with southern breakfast
sausage, a fried egg, and cheddar cheese and added some hash browns. I
opted for an order of 2 sausage gravy biscuits. Speaking of biscuits, I think if a place is going to put them in their name, they better make some darn good biscuits. Luckily, Ace's biscuits do not disappoint. The biscuits are not your typical flaky, buttery biscuits, but they were deliciously soft and melt-in-your-mouth good! Allie's egg was cooked to a perfect over-medium and the sandwich covered in melty, gooey cheddar cheese. The hash browns were also crispy (clearly made-to-order) and very flavorful, exactly what you would want to accompany your breakfast sandwich. Allie didn't even ask for ketchup for the potatoes, which is a huge compliment to the chef. Allie and I both agreed that it was the southern breakfast sausage that really stole the show, though. The sausage had the perfect texture and the right amount of spice and sage flavor to keep me wanting more. It was delicious both in patty form on Allie's sandwich and crumbled in the creamy, spicy sausage gravy that smothered by 2 biscuits.
I will definitely be going back to Ace Biscuit & Barbecue in the near future - the only question is whether I go back and try some of the other breakfast options, or head over for lunch and try the barbecue first. Heck, maybe one day I'll even be able to convince Allie that we need to hire Ace for a whole hog pig roast!
Overall Impression: Sausage = the breakfast of champions and Ace = Charlottesville's king of sausage!
Ace Biscuit and Barbecue
711 Henry Avenue, Charlottesville, VA