Côte-Rôtie hits the streets with a global menu and more local restaurant news

Merrill Robertson serves up a variety of snack-sized items prepared with classical French techniques. Steamed duck breast buns with hoisin, scallion and cucumber and skewers with pork belly and scallion with lemon and shiitake mushrooms are among the items on Côte-Rôtie’s rotating menu. Photo: Rammelkamp foto Merrill Robertson serves up a variety of snack-sized items prepared with classical French techniques. Steamed duck breast buns with hoisin, scallion and cucumber and skewers with pork belly and scallion with lemon and shiitake mushrooms are among the items on Côte-Rôtie’s rotating menu. Photo: Rammelkamp foto

Côte-Rôtie hits the streets with a global menu

Fried chicken. Marinated mushroom skewers. Steamed pork bun. Steak frites.

“It sounds like it’s kind of all over the place, and maybe it is,” Peter Robertson says. “But we want it to be interesting and fun for people who come to the food truck.”

Robertson and his wife, Merrill, both Culinary Institute of America graduates with years of food industry experience under their belts, are the owners of Côte-Rôtie, a new food truck that you may have seen in the Water Street parking lot. Named for a wine region in northern France that directly translates to “the roasted slope,” Côte-Rôtie features a menu that is “influenced by several other cultures,” but mostly prepared with classical French techniques.

“As far as the concept, we basically wanted to have all the tools necessary in our truck to do pretty much any kind of cuisine that we wanted,” Robertson says.

Two of those tools are a yakitori grill and a rotisserie, which the Robertsons “fell in love with” during their years of cooking and eating in New York.

Yakitori is a Japanese skewer of meat or vegetables cooked over a charcoal grill, something Robertson says has gained popularity in places such as New York but hasn’t made its way to many smaller cities yet. The chefs plan to roll out new yakitori on a regular basis, and options range from bite-sized pieces of indulgent, crispy pork belly to slices of tender, delicate mushrooms.

“I love the idea of driving to a vineyard or brewery in the beautiful mountain setting, having a skewer with a glass of wine or beer,” Robertson says. “We wanted to do a snack concept.”

They also wanted to do a dinner concept, which is where the rotisserie chicken comes in. Inspired by vendors they’ve come across in French markets, the Robertsons put whole and half chickens on the menu as a simple take-home dinner option.

Other items on the rotating menu include duck lo mein, French fries with Shropshire blue cheese and pillowy soft steamed buns with either pork or duck in a classic Asian barbecue sauce.

“We just love food, and we just want to cook a bunch of different stuff,” Robertson says. “We don’t ever want to be locked into one idea or concept.”

Moonshine mayhem

What comes to mind when you hear the word moonshine? An unmarked mason jar of crystal clear liquid, maybe featuring a handful of fruit and smelling remarkably similar to battery acid? There’s more to it than that, and this weekend is your chance to learn about the once-clandestine corn mash spirit with Appalachian roots.

On Saturday, October 17, Silverback Distillery in Nelson County will host the second annual Virginia Moonshine Festival, Afton Edition. For four hours beginning at 2pm, attendees can sample moonshine from all over the region and state, both on its own and with mixers. Advance tickets are $35, and day-of-event admission is $45. For something a little extra, the Early ’Shiners Pass includes an exclusive tasting session, two extra hours of sampling, plus access to a whiskey tasting bar.

Kids 12 and under are free, but the event website stresses that the event is not designed for young children. For more information visit nelson151.com/category/events.