Flavor on Main: An exceptional new restaurant in Culpeper, Virginia

By jes. on June 18, 2015


Culpeper, VA (Herald de Paris) — ¬†Some meals you always remember. ¬†For me, I can count them on one hand, and thankfully, my counting hand just acquired another memorable favorite. ¬†Nestled in the fertile, rolling, green, hills just 70 miles from Washington, DC, a new restaurant has emerged in Culpeper’s bustling and restored downtown. ¬†Flavor on Main occupies a prominent corner of The Culpeper Center. ¬†Designed in a modern rendition of the Art Deco style, the lively and open restaurant has an updated 1920s feel about it. ¬†Nevertheless, what’s really roaring about the place is the food.

IMG_20150616_182331010Executive Chef Garth Hansen, formerly of Richmond’s Five-Star Jefferson Hotel, has created a menu well worth the drive from Washington, DC, Richmond, or anywhere else, for that matter. ¬†Hansen is creating food that is farm-to-table fresh, is rich and authentic, and pings on the oft-ignored textural palette just as much as it focuses on taste.

The meal began with a glass of ice-cold Landmark Chardonnay. ¬†I am not much of a white wine drinker, but served extra chilly on a hot and humid day, the chardonnay, steel-aged with hints of oak, was really quite refreshing. ¬†It was paired with Roast Red Pepper Soup with Lump Crab Meat. ¬†I like roast red pepper soup, but am often left disappointed by it hollow smoothness. ¬†Chef Hansen solved that problem with a prodigious helping of fresh Chesapeake Bay crab meat, hidden in the soup’s murky depths. ¬†The pairing is exceptional, as the crab enlivens the red pepper soup with gastronomic precision.

Next to arrive were Diver Scallops served with Spinach Saffron, Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, and Garlic, with l’orange sauce. ¬†The halved scallops were expertly prepared, with just enough crispness on one side, juxtaposed by the smooth, soft , meaty texture on the other. ¬†The accompanying Spinach Saffron was hearty and bold, in that good French country sort of way. ¬†The scallops arrived paired with a sparkling Rose Brut, from the Francois Montand vineyard. ¬†Also served extra cold, it went down like sparkling French lemonade for grown-ups.

IMG_20150616_185400151The next course lifted the entire meal to the aforementioned level of my foodie memory banks. ¬†Lamb loin chops over squash puree, with Brussels sprouts, sprout petals, and an apple cider demiglaze. ¬†This was a highly sophisticated plate, and I don’t usually like Brussels sprouts. ¬†But the buttery smooth squash puree, juxtaposed by the crisp sprout petals, enlivened this rich and hearty dish. ¬†The chops, themselves expertly prepared, were reduced to a supporting role by this textural juxtaposition. ¬†This came paired with a worthy complement, a bold Chateau Chasse-Spleen blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot.

The meal was topped by a Ruby Zinfandel Port, paired with New York style cheesecake, served with strawberries and raspberry sauce.  The Ruby port was exceptional, and sat on the tongue like a fine, red ice wine.

Creativity, acidic balance, gastronomic precision, textural juxtaposition, exceptional sauces, and just plain old fashioned deliciousness, were the hallmarks of a fine meal in Virginia’s liveliest new restaurant. ¬†Chef Hansen is one to watch, and Flavor on Main is a restaurant worth the drive from anywhere.

Flavor on Main
137 S. Main Street, Culpeper, VA
Phone: 540-321-4510
Hours of Operation: Tue – Thurs: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Fri & Sat 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM.
Closed on Sunday and Monday.


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