Monday, January 28, 2013

Old Mill Room at Boar's Head Inn

It's Restaurant Week (1 of 2 - more on that in a minute) in Charlottesville!  That fabulous time of year when you can eat a 3 course meal at some of the best restaurants in town for a super reasonable price (and support a local charity at the same time)!  And this year, C-Ville  somehow ended up with 2 separate Restaurant Weeks right in a row.  The first is the "original" Restaurant Week from January 21st-27th put together by the Hook, which you can find at  The second is the new-this-year "official" Restaurant Week (January 28th-February 3rd) organized by VMVBrands and found at  There has been lots of hoopla and jawing about the addition of the this second restaurant week, but I for one say "the more the merrier!"  If the powers that be want to offer two consecutive restaurant weeks, well then by golly I'll just have to try them both! 

So, for the first of our Restaurant Week meals, Allie and I selected the Old Mill Room at the Boar's Head Inn.  We'd both eaten the "world-famous" brunch here before, but had never been for dinner.  We made our reservations well in advance (as one must during Restaurant Week) and, on a blisteringly cold Thursday night, headed out to the Boar's Head.  When we arrived, we were surprised to see only about 4 other tables seated in the dining room, though this changed quickly and every seat was taken within the next 30 minutes.  Our waiter presented us with the Restaurant Week menus and the extensive wine list.  After consideration of the wintry weather outside, we both decided it would be best to have just one glass of wine each with dinner.  I was pleased to see that they had a good variety of wines by the glass.  Allie ordered a glass of the Barboursville Viognier, while I opted for the Sensual Malbec (which I later learned had been replaced with the Catena Malbec, though I was charged the lower price for the Sensual!).

Boar's Head Restaurant Week Menu (click to see full-size)

After taking our time perusing the menu and enjoying the first sips of our wine, we set about ordering our three courses each.  Allie started with the braised veal cheek.  Neither of us had tried veal cheek before, but we are certainly glad we did!  The cheek was braised to extreme eat-it-with-your-spoon tenderness and served atop super creamy Wade's Mill grits.  Also on the dish were some cajun-seared shrimp, which were tender and tasty but rather puny (I'm talking shrimp fried rice tiny).  We are both fans of braised beef short ribs, and now we know we're fans of braised veal cheek too!  For my first course, I opted for the salmon tartare, which was very fresh and delicious.  The salmon was clean and fresh and smothered with a mildly-spicy roasted shallot vinaigrette and then topped off with pickled fennel, radish, and frisee.  The first courses certainly did not disappoint - though if I went back again, I would definitely order Allie's braised veal cheek over my salmon tartare.

Braised Veal Cheek with Cajun Seared Shrimp and Wade's Mill Grits

For her main course, Allie ordered the chorizo-crusted atlantic flounder.  The flounder was perfectly cooked - warm, flaky, and still juicy.  The chorizo crust added a nice amount of spice and grease to the fish, and the butternut squash puree under the fish was smooth and slightly sweet, to perfectly complement the chorizo's spice.  The plate also included a very tasty chopped brussel sprout and bacon accompaniment.  For my own main course, I chose the grilled flat iron steak, which I ordered medium.  The steak arrived a perfect medium (which can be rather hard to find these days!) and covered in a deliciously sweet and tangy madeira mustard jus.  The celery root potato puree was smooth and creamy, though I had a hard time finding the celery root flavor in it, and the sauteed kale was a nice addition to the dish.  Finally, for dessert Allie had the apple spice cake with candied pecans and salted caramel ice cream.  The spice cake was tasty, but might have been better if it had been served warm instead of room temperature.  The ice cream was perfectly salty and the candied pecans gave a nice bit of crunchy texture to the dessert.  I went with the chocolate creme brulee served with a sweet potato cookie.  This too was tasty, though felt a bit pedestrian for such a nice restaurant (and compared to the other 5 dishes we'd had already). 

In the end, this was one of our favorite restaurant week meals ever in Charlottesville.  I felt like the portion sizes were more than adequate for the price and the fact that everyone was eating 3 courses.  The food was overall delicious and every dish was perfectly prepared (which cannot be easy to do when the dining room is packed all-night every-night for the whole week).  The service was excellent, the wine selection was great (as were our personal wine choices), and the price was very nice!  We will certainly be returning to the Boar's Head for restaurant week in the future (July 8th-14th is the next one!), and maybe even sooner!

Overall Impression: Delicious Virginia-style food in a vintage setting at an unbelievable price - the Old Mill Room definitely earns its Four Diamonds in my book!

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Contact Information:
           The Old Mill Room at the Boar's Head Inn
           200 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903
          (434) 296-2181

Old Mill Room on Urbanspoon

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