Barton, we hardly knew ye!
Blue Ridge has undergone a remarkable transformation from a serious restaurant into a noisy beer hall.
Although they advertise that they offer “seasonal, locally sourced Mid-Atlantic cuisine,” you should come here with modest culinary expectations. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a good shrimp and grits or roast chicken, but Blue Ridge has pretty much become Hamburger Central.
However, lovers of American microbrews will revel in Blue Ridge’s selection. They feature 12 of them on draft, as well as 110 in bottle (as of last night). The selection, I believe, is 100% American, and is organized extremely well on the menu.
A draft of Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale ($6) weighed in at 7.5 ABV (Blue Ridge lists the alcohol content of all its beers), and had an odd, unpleasant note of peppermint in the nose. From bottle, a Weyerbacher Slam Dunkel Weisenbock had a touch of that Belgian banana thing going on, but I had to try it because I also ordered the Slam Dunkel Burger ($12), served with a half-pound of Shenandoah beef, applewood smoked bacon, and Vermont cheddar. All burgers and sandwiches come with house-cut fries, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickle.
The burger itself could have been good, but it was ordered medium-rare and cooked medium-well. The mound of well-fried fries was better than the norm.
So how much has this restaurant transformed into a bar? At 9:30 PM on a Friday night, the dining room had 6 people in it, the bar had 25, and surprisingly, the patio out back had 4, all of whom were breathing frost.
The burger condiments consisted of a bottle of ketchup and mustard, served in an empty six-pack of Flying Dog Raging Bitch Ale.
Two extremely drunk girls to my left coerced a relatively sober girl to my right to take a shot, and the bartender happily joined them.
And was that Frank Morales I saw? He used to be cooking here, but recently took a job at L’Academie de Cuisine. Perhaps he’s still consulting, or perhaps he was just enjoying one of Blue Ridge’s many American microbrews.