Han Lee and his wife, Mi Eum, moved to Charlottesville from Maryland about a month ago to open casual sit-down Korean restaurant Zip Chicken on 14th Street, across from Boylan Heights and smack dab in the middle of the Corner restaurant scene. “I know Korean isn’t as big here as it is in big cities,” he says, “but I think young people will be willing to try it out.”
Zip Chicken’s signature item is Korean fried chicken, which is lighter than its American cousin because the meat is battered with a light flour and cornstarch mixture, then fried for 10 minutes, shaken—this puts some air back into the chicken and makes it tender and juicy, says Han—and fried a second time.
It pairs nicely with beer and is well-suited to college students, Lee says.
Zip Chicken will also offer meat and tofu bibimbap bowls, salads, potstickers, kimchi and, Lee’s favorite, bulgogi—a dish made with marinated ribeye, soy and garlic sauce, hot pepper paste, lettuce, onion, mushrooms, carrots and sesame seeds. Korean food tends to be fairly healthy (and spicy), and Lee says he wants to give Charlottesville “a [new] taste, a different choice,” when it comes to casual eating options. The restaurant is scheduled to open this week.
Last week, on the ground floor of the same building, Poke Sushi Bowl began serving up Hawaiian poke—a fresh, raw fish salad that borrows ingredients and flavors from Japanese sushi—with a modern, takeaway twist. Think Chipotle or Roots Kitchen, but with sushi ingredients.
“I feel like there’s a need…for fresh and healthy items” on the Corner, says owner Phung Huynh who, along with her husband, Bo Zhu, also owns and runs Got Dumplings.
Customers can order a signature bowl or build their own with a choice of white or brown rice; proteins such as salmon, yellow tail or organic tofu; mix-ins such as cucumber, kale or edamame; housemade sauces like ponzu citrus and miso glaze; and toppings including seaweed salad, ginger and onion crisps.
Huynh is particularly fond of The Corner bowl, with salmon, mango, cucumber and avocado mixed with sweet and hot sauce and topped with eel and sesame seeds (add seaweed salad and ginger for an extra kick). The dish is an homage to Huynh’s 8-year-old daughter who loves the smoky, barbecue flavor of eel and begged Huynh to include it on the menu.
Changes in Crozet
Concluding with its dinner service Saturday, August 20, Three Notch’d Grill closed after dishing out casual American fare in Crozet for nearly 11 years. In a press release issued by the restaurant, chefs and managers Cathy and Hayden Berry say they “have decided to hang up their aprons and kick back for a bit before seeing what adventures lie ahead.”
But 5790 Three Notch’d Rd. won’t be empty for long. Current Southern Way Cafe chef Jason Fitzgerald and general manager Kellie Carter plan to open SWAY Taphouse & Grill in October. Carter says that Southern Way has outgrown its space at 5382 Three Notch’d Rd., and the entire operation—chef, kitchen staff and servers—will move down the road as SWAY. Fitzgerald will continue to hickory-smoke whole pigs (his specialty), serve up barbecue, grits, specialty burgers and more.
Redshaw leaves Timbercreek; Yoder takes the helm
Later this month, Allie Redshaw will leave her post as executive chef at Timbercreek Market, and for a very good reason: to open a restaurant of her own. Redshaw, known for her new-school American cooking and modern, locally sourced gourmet cuisine, told C-VILLE Weekly that she leaves Timbercreek “on good terms,” and that she “didn’t want to take away from the market” while she planned her own venture. “I figured if I was going to be working as hard as I was, I might as well have some skin in the game and do it for myself,” she says, adding that she and her business partner will reveal their concept and location soon.
Redshaw opened the café at Sara and Zach Miller’s Timbercreek Market last June and before that served as sous chef at Pippin Hill; former Clifton Inn executive chef Tucker Yoder will succeed her at Timbercreek.
Sara Miller says she’ll miss Redshaw’s creativity behind the café counter, but she’s glad to have Yoder (her top pick to fill the post) on board. “Who wouldn’t want Tucker Yoder cooking for you?” she asks. Miller says that Yoder is a particularly good fit for Timbercreek because his approach to food, like the market’s, “is all about the raw product.”
Yoder, recognized for his exquisite treatments of local ingredients, served as executive chef of Clifton Inn for four years before stepping down in December 2014. Since then, he’s worked on various food projects, including a pop-up restaurant and catering.
“I have always been fond of working with local farms and farmers, and [this] seemed like a good opportunity to work directly with a great local producer,” Yoder says of his new gig, adding that Virginia farmers grow “some of the best produce on the East Coast. It’s an easy option to search out great raw ingredients and let them shine.”