Wandering in the historic downtown open mall all morning, Charlottesville's charm really grew on us. Soon after we started our search for a lunch spot, in this urban promenade.
Petit Pois patio is right by large sculptural fountain. Neat tables with white napkins, and small pots of lemon grass give the place a sense of simplicity and sophistication.
We walked to a small table right by the entrance to get a glance of their menu. Everything was very well organized and branded with a memorable pea illustration. The hostess accommodated us in no time, unlike numerous other restaurants.
I was torn between ordering a glass of their local Petite Manseng, or a Georgian Rkatsiteli. The waitress offered to give me a taste of both. Lovingston's Petit Manseng was the winner - off dry, with addictive balance of sweet crispiness. Cheri chose a bottle of Virginia's local Devil's Backbone brewery IPA - dark and rich.
As we listened to the water dance, we indulged in our appetizer - thinly cut fries with herb de provance. We sat under a canopy of dancing shadows and light breeze.
We first had their Jambon de Virginia - a curly pasta dish topped with pieces of bacon-like ham, refreshing peas, smooth shiitake mushrooms and parmesan. All this goodness was swimming in a creamy and smoky sauce. It was a rather simple dish, but delicious. We were a bit disappointed that the dish was not that centered on the jambon (like its name). The Trout Amadine raised the bar even higher - served with a pile of toasted almonds, the thin slice of trout was lying on a pile of grilled green beans. The fish had great crispy skin and all around the the dish were dashes of a buttery sauce. Both dishes were not too large and very flavorful.
On top of it all, we were pleasantly surprised by their reasonable prices. We really indulged in this experience - still a warm memory in my mind.