Follow the alley light and you will arrive at a blink-and-you-miss-it culinary gem tucked away in the side streets of the Downtown Mall. You will find a simple door leading to this upstairs, speakeasy-style bar and restaurant featuring classic French, sharable plates, craft cocktails, and small grower wines in a casually elegant atmosphere.
There are no passwords or secret handshakes required, and luckily no self-importance for that matter. For those lucky enough to snag a table or a spot at the bar, a delicious meal in a hip environment awaits.
A small but fully equipped kitchen feels very professional and oddly silent. A team of three synchronized chefs craft impressive dishes at full throttle. In fact, anyone will find what fits his or her own tastes on the extensive menu. Beyond the seasonable weekly specials on the blackboard (snacks, soups, salads, and shared plates), the regular menu has interesting vegetable starters like artichoke and cauliflower gratins, marinated mushrooms, or carrots with yogurt vinaigrette.
Some remarkable options are the roasted bone marrow with parsley crust and braised escargot, the cod and potato stuffed creamy piquillo and the three options of magnificent boards to share: seafood, house made charcuterie, or vegetables. The beautiful salmon tartare with lime on a zucchini bed is probably their most famous creation, but other specialties like cassoulet duck confit; potted shrimp with grapefruit mayonnaise; or braised & roasted pork belly with apples are likewise stunning.
If you are up for the teamwork, then Mr. Rech’s dessert (hazelnut macaron, praline parfait, hot chocolate sauce) might be for you. And it pairs perfectly with a delicious bittersweet cocktail. Alley Light has one of the most well-stocked bars and the amazing bartenders will suggest the perfect cocktail for you – just ask them. Enjoy the night and remember to speak easy…
Phone: (434) 296-5003
Hours: Tue and Sun 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Wed and Thu 5 p.m. – 12 a.m., Fri and Sat 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Text and photo: Edu Bayer