Filling a Niche

The Carving Board Café
624 Albemarle Square, Charlottesville, Virginia

By Patricia B. Mitchell, 2007.

The Carving Board Cafe

Another lunch at the Carving Board Café, and we came away just as impressed (and full) as on previous visits.

My husband Henry ordered the Baked Ham ($4.00) on rye with Provolone cheese, and all the veggies — lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, black olives, banana peppers — except for the jalapeños. He got spicy mustard and horseradish on the side.

Our daughter ordered half a Gorgonzola and Pear Salad ($2.25), and half a Tuna Salad sandwich on wheat bread. She enjoyed the generously-filled sandwich very much.

Our son ordered the Reuben ($4.75), and I chose the Café Turkey ($4.50) on wheat bread, with Swiss cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato. (Rather than the Herb Mayonnaise, I requested their wonderful homemade Italian Vinaigrette.)

As “foodies” tend to do, we four tasted, sampled, and traded around our selections. We liked all the choices, though the Gorgonzola and Pear Salad (Gorgonzola cheese and fresh pear chunks, candied walnuts, carrots, red peppers and Champagne Vinaigrette) was perhaps a little too unconventional for our tastes.

The other sandwiches were all most delectable. The Reuben received the award, from Henry, a veteran Reuben-eater, as “the best ever.” All the Carving Board ingredients are top-quality and often “special.” (Notice the pretty Marble Rye on the Reuben and the Baked Ham sandwiches.) Another good thing about the Reuben is that some Reubens are grilled in so much butter that they are positively greasy. Not so with the Carving Board Reuben.

Henry and I split halves on our two sandwiches. We decided that next time we would probably get the Baked Ham sandwich lightly toasted, just to add a little crunch, though it was delicious at room temperature.

I liked the Café Turkey very much. The generous amounts of meat and oversized breads make the Carving Board sandwiches a true meal, rather than a “Oh, I just had a little sandwich for lunch”-type meal.

We continue to be amazed at how the owners of the Carving Board keep up the pace (and the place). Candice Liptak takes the orders out front with the same sweet and cheery attitude as when the restaurant had just opened, and incredible Justin Van Der Linde, in the kitchen, churns out the made-to-order food with lightning speed and efficiency.

There is usually a line at lunch time, but it moves rapidly. The small eatery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Besides various sandwiches and salads, there are soups, sides, and a few “Sweets and Treats.”

This attractive and talented twosome have definitely carved out a niche for themselves on the Charlottesville culinary stage, keeping up their high standards for food and service, performance after performance.

The Carving Board Cafe

Baked Ham on rye.

The Carving Board Cafe

Café Turkey on wheat.

The Carving Board Cafe

Half a Tuna Salad on wheat.

The Carving Board Cafe

Half a Gorgonzola and Pear salad.

The Carving Board Cafe

Reuben on rye.