Overheard on the restaurant scene: This week’s food and drink news

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Sam Fisher of Relay Foods. Photo: John Robinson Sam Fisher of Relay Foods. Photo: John Robinson

Looks like we’re down to zero meatball places. One Meatball Place, the West Main Street spot that served up beef, chicken, and vegetarian meatballs on sandwiches and a la carte, has closed its doors after 15 months of business. Taking its place in the hands of new owners will be Public Fish & Oyster, a seafood restaurant that will feature freshly shucked oysters, a raw bar, and an extensive list of craft beer, cocktails, and wine. Public Fish & Oyster is expected to open in early February.

For those of you who have loved dining at The Downtown Grille for the past 15 years, don’t panic when you see the “closed” signs. According to managing partner Robert Sawrey, the steakhouse-style restaurant will be closed for about six weeks starting on January 1 for an extensive renovation. Sawrey said he “never wanted to own an old and tired restaurant,” so it’s time to replace the kitchen appliances, make over the dining room, and update the menu by adding things like more vegetarian options and a lobster roll. Sawrey expects the project to be complete by February 12.

Pippin Hill Farm is offering a new tasting room menu item, baked snapper en cocotte, for a limited time this season. A fresh piece of snapper is served in a pool of oven-roasted tomato sauce with calabrian chiles sprinkled on top. The fish dish is best paired with a glass of the winery’s most popular red, Cabernet Franc.

Have you tasted the 2008 Blanc de Noir at Trump Winery? According to international dining and travel guide GAYOT.com, maybe you should. GAYOT.com set out to find the best bubbly in the U.S., and in December the Blanc de Noir was named one of the top ten American sparkling wines. The wine is made via Méthode Champenoise with 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes, and ages in both stainless steel and French oak barrels. After aging in the bottle for at least three years, the wine features the savory flavors of toast, coffee, caramel, and honey, with a hint of lemon and malt. In November 2013, Trump Winery owner Eric Trump was named the Rising Star of 2013 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine for his work with Virginia wines.

Jeans fitting a little snug after a few weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas gorging? Relay Foods offers weekly meal plans online, complete with recipes and shopping lists, to help you get back on track after all the heavy holiday home-cooking. The recipes focus on fresh, local winter ingredients like parsnips, butternut squash, and fresh greens, and are meant to be light and easy to replicate. Recipes include winter vegetable couscous, pistachio rosemary pesto with pasta, curried butternut squash, and stuffed cabbage soup. Check out www.blog.relayfoods.com for more information.

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