A dear friend — Laura — whose taste I trust without question, recommended that I go to the Blue Apron Restaurant when I was in Roanoke — it’s just about 10 miles away in Salem — and so I knew it was a must do.
I was even more motivated after visiting their Website, which made the case in food and setting photos, clear menus and hours, that this was up my alley. I’ve since brough a little more critical eye to the Website: they clearly need an upgrade to a mobile responsive site and it would be nice to add a reservations plug in — it’s always handy to just make your reservation online.
Still, that’s like, my biggest concern with this place because the food, atmosphere, and service were so awesomely wonderful!
Get thee to the Blue Apron
If I could name one Virginia restaurant right now that is totally worth being a destination road trip, this would be it. I eat in a LOT of farm-to-table style restaurants and put a high premium on getting a fantastic, mind-blowing meal from a great chef. My standards are high and the Blue Apron hit every note perfectly.
We had just been at the nearby Parkway Brewery (see my review) for one beer and a little appetizer from the Thai This food truck on site. This was a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, Parkway Brewery beer was fine and the Thai truck was great and we totally had fun, but the whole thing made me a lot less hungry).
However, it was such a surprising delight that they offered half size and full plates of each entrée, which meant I could sample a few things without worrying that I’d have too much. (More places should do this since American-sized portions are so out-of-whack huge, leading to so much food waste!)
I ordered the frisée and kale salad with pork belly, poached egg, and fingerling potatoes which was absolutely heaven on a plate with every bite.
Each flavor was delicately balanced with the others, the pork belly was cut small, adding decided flavor without being an overwhelming portion, and the fingerling potatoes added warmth in small proportion (not heavy on the starch). The vinaigrette was so delicious I let my husband mop it up with the wonderful bread that was served. I didn’t want any of that vinaigrette to be left behind.
I then had the half portion of the roasted chicken, which I wanted in particular for the brussels sprouts (one of my fave foods) and apples — oh my, so moist and lively.
My hubby had the Duck Confit which was on special. I think it had beans on the side. He found it quite good and raved about the flavors as much as I.
Again, the Thai apps at the brewery depressed our appetites, so by now we were nearly full. But we couldn’t resist sharing the creme brûlée — not the edgiest choice, but we love it so much that we just went for the comfort dessert. It was exquisite.
Usually we get a drink with dinner but the pre-dinner Parkway beer made us full, so I just had a normal iced tea (which was the best sweet tea I’ve had in my Southern Girl life). It was refilled regularly enough without being intrusive and it was served in a charming tall, thin glass that was heavy on mindful design.
The area adjacent to the restaurant is a cozy, chic bar called the Red Rooster. I’m sure it’s as cool as the restaurant and you might even be able to dine at the bar in a pinch or if you go solo — but we didn’t try it out. All I can say is it looks totally cool in a rural chic way.
Beautiful space, polite service
In fact everything in the interior was gorgeously understated, offering farmhouse chic — antique sideboards, wooden floors and tabletops, gorgeously pointed bathrooms, and an intimate dining room without losing a sense of personal space.
Out waitress was already doing a great job, being both informed and cordial. But then Scott, the owner or manager, came by our table and was very gracious and kind in checking in on us. His personal touch only added to the burning desire to come back as soon as we can (my October birthday comes to mind….)
You could drive all the way from Southwestern Virginia, Norfolk, or D.C. and not be in the least disappointed. Put this on your must-go restaurants ASAP! (And then hit Local Roots the next morning for brunch.)
— Lindsay Curren, Girl Goes Virginia