This week’s restaurant news: A trés bien wine dinner, Valley closings, and Just Curry


Photo: Giles Morris Photo: Giles Morris

Chef Jason Alley, owner of Comfort and Pasture restaurants, has created quite a buzz up (and especially down) the East Coast with his modern spin on Southern cuisine. Beginning with the 2002 opening of Comfort in Richmond with business partner Chris Chandler, he was ahead of the Southern food craze that is still sweeping the country. Alley went on to open Pasture (also in Richmond) in 2011, and with its great success is opening a second location in the Shops at Stonefield. The focus of the restaurant will be on locally sourced gems like fine Virginia cheeses and ham, and a stellar wine list sourced from biodynamic and high quality producers. All beers will be on draft to support a small environmental footprint. The menu will feature small plates meant to be shared by the table, tapas-style.

Last November, Alley showed off as a guest chef for the Hill & Holler Cider Week event at Albemarle Ciderworks. He’s planning to make another appearance on February 27 as a chef du jour at Glass Haus Kitchen, where he will prepare a family-style dinner for $85 per person.

Alex George’s Just Curry, which is situated on the Downtown Mall directly across from another of George’s ventures, Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, is scheduled to open Wednesday, February 20. This will be the second go-round for a restaurant that had a loyal following on the Corner—and good news for curry fans still lamenting the loss of its first iteration: Expect to see roti and goat curry on the menu, among other treats inspired by the southern Caribbean collision of the East and West Indies.

Don’t miss out on the winter specials the Clifton Inn is offering through the end of the month. Half price food on Mondays and Tuesdays, and no corkage fee on Wednesdays for that special bottle of wine you’ve been meaning to try.

If you’re not looking for savings and want to enjoy an incredible dining experience, join Clifton chef Tucker Yoder for the Rhône Valley Wine Dinner on March 19, featuring owner and winemaker Jean-Marc Espinasse of Domaine Rouge-Bleu Winery. Diners will enjoy five-courses of food and wine pairings. The cost is $92 per person. Call 971-1800 to make reservations.

Staunton has seen a few recent changes in its restaurant scene, beginning with the unfortunate closing of Mockingbird in January. The owners and staff had high hopes for good grass roots music and local fare, but it just didn’t pan out for the small Valley town.

AVA Restaurant & Wine Bar (formerly the Darjeeling Café) has re-opened with a new focus. Co-owners Mary Beth Harris Morgan and her husband, Sommelier Jack Morgan, are spreading their wings after winning a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the restaurant’s wine list. The new name is representative of the American Viticultural Area, which further demonstrates the couple’s enthusiasm about wine. Dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday, and full-service brunch on Sundays from 10:30am-2:30pm.


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