A little bit country

A little bit country

We at Restaurantarama have been telling you about some major shake-ups and shake-downs in the local dining scene. We’ve been dropping big names and getting all philosophical about hot spots closing and hip new joints burgeoning. Well, this week we are relieved to tell you about a person you’ve probably never heard of and a place you’ve probably never been. Don’t you just feel all clean and refreshed already? Of course, Russell Smith hopes you’ll soon know his name or at least the name of his new restaurant in Crozet, Flavor’s Café, which opened on June 8, and that you’ll soon get intimate with his “jazzed-up Southern cuisine.” Smith opened Flavor’s in the old Ombra’s Cafe space where he’d been general manager before he took over the restaurant from Ombra’s absentee owner. Before Ombra’s, Smith tried running a catering operation out of the Shell station on Preston Avenue, and before that, he perfected his homestyle Southern fare working for UVA Catering. In total, he has spent 27 years in the food service industry, yet Flavor’s is his first restaurant. And like any restaurant rookie and chef/owner, Smith is kind of a one-man show. When he’s not smoking the pork for Flavor’s BBQ sandwich with his signature “House Voodoo Sauce” or cooking up hickory-scented spiced shrimp with “secret powder,” he’s pounding the pavement to drum up catering business for Flavor’s and he’s managing the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. And when he’s not doing any of that, he’s trying to finish painting the sign for out front. Currently, the only indication that there’s delicious down-home grub like collard greens and macaroni and cheese at Flavor’s somewhat nondescript location in Crozet Square is a red banner that says, “We’re Open”—which is just about as to-the-point and free of airs as Smith himself. When Restaurantarama came a-calling, Smith simply said, “Where have you been?”


Music to our tastebuds: Flavor’s Café owner Russell Smith is dishing up “jazzed-up Southern cuisine” in Crozet. 

Indeed, we have no excuse for not getting off our rear ends sooner and venturing out to Crozet country for its latest culinary development where Smith says he’s filling a local void with his casual setting and cuisine that leans toward the seafood end of the Southern spectrum. “I brought oysters on the half-shell to Crozet,” he claims proudly. And while he will gladly serve you a ubiquitous Southern fried chicken dinner, he’s much more jazzed about his Veal Oscar with Crab and Asparagus over Garlic Linguini. The one thing he can’t yet serve you, however, is a Southern-style cocktail. That’s because Smith has discovered the most difficult part of starting a restaurant—that blasted ABC license paperwork. But with Smith’s sweat equity heavily invested, Restaurantarama bets there soon will be a frosty beverage to accompany your unpretentious plate of Southern hospitality and a sign alerting you to the delicious Flavor’s awaiting inside.

Eat good

Sometimes a good meal can restore your faith in humanity. Like when you bite into a beautifully assembled piece of sushi, don’t you just get all proud that we are a species with opposable thumbs? Or when you savor a plate of pasta puttanesca, don’t you just want to bow down to the person who discovered roasting garlic in olive oil is just about the most amazing flavor this side of heaven? Well, here’s another faith-restoring culinary achievement: Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar’s 10 percent Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, Orzo donates 10 percent of the revenue generated that day to a local charity. A new charity is selected to collect the proceeds from each month. In June, Orzo collected $1,213 for The Cancer Center, and so far in July, it has collected $600 for Building Goodness. Now that’s what we call eating good!

Posted In:     Living

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A little bit country

“Armed & Famous”
Wednesday 8pm, CBS

And so it’s come to this. Five washed-up celebs are trained and sworn in as police officers to serve and protect the people of Muncie, Indiana. Not kidding. The “famous” people involved are: “The Osbournes”’ Jack Osbourne; pro wrestler Trish Stratus; Wee Man from “Jackass”; La Toya “no longer the craziest one” Jackson; and, in a case of life imitating art, “CHiPs”’ Erik Estrada totally getting his Ponch on. I have no objection to reality TV producers exploiting the desperation of fame whores, but it’s a little messed up that they’re subjecting an actual police force in an actual town to this type of buffoonery. That said, if I get to watch La Toya Jackson get tazered, I am so in.

“Nashville Star”
Thursday 10pm, USA

For all you haters who argue that “American Idol” contestants lack real musical ability, consider USA’s country-fried talent competition. The fifth season begins tonight, with 10 new contestants who both sing and play songs—no glorified karaoke here. Cowboy Troy returns as co-host, joined this time by Jewel, who replaces past co-hosts LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna. That’s right, Jewel—the alt-folky Lilith Fair staple who sold her creative soul by going dance pop for five seconds and has been scrambling to salvage her wreck of a career ever since. But country? Mmm, no. Perhaps our budding country stars to be can take a few notes on how not to biff the music biz thing.

“Rome”
Sunday 9pm, HBO

This show totally took me by surprise. I expected an interesting historical drama and got that plus the juiciest nighttime soap since “Melrose Place.” I should have known—nobody does lying, manipulating and backstabbing like the ancient Romans. Quite literally on that last count, as we saw at the end of Season 1 with the offing of Julius Caesar. Now in Season 2, we can look forward to more of the charming, yet petulant Mark Antony; more delicious bitchery from Atia and Servilia (seriously; Joan Collins, eat your heart out); the puppet Octavian’s rise to power; and much more of a little lady named Cleopatra.

Posted In:     Arts

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Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

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