From NoVa to Charlottesville and Back; Breadcrumbs 1 — Claire’s

Claire’s at the Depot: 65 S 3rd St, Warrenton, VA 20186;; (540) 351-1616

We had business in Charlottesville last week, so we headed out from NoVa with the idea that we’d docupic for blogging along the way. (NoVa is short for Northern Virginia, for our vast global readership.) We haven’t been posting much recently because back pain has laid me low, but we soldiered through a week-long trip that started, for lunching purposes, at Claire’s at the Depot in Old Town Warrenton.

This post is going to launch a new series at Plate Cup Table called Breadcrumbs. These will be quick microblog posts describing one or two places that we stop “along the way,” rather than full reviews. It’s good to have a few different format styles, keep things fresh.

We get there just as lunch service is starting, and so have our pick of the place. We choose a table by the fireplace and order a cup of the She Crab Soup to start, and the Coconut Shrimp. The latter is deep-fried and heavily battered, and the shrimp is super crispy without being overcooked inside. It pops with fresh, authentic Thai flavor — coconut milk, basil, light on the sweet onion — and comes with peanut dipping sauce and cucumber salad.

Had we not been on our way to dinner (more on that below) we would have gone for the Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps, as well. Alas, we’ll save it for the next time we’re in Warrenton. Claire’s is the best restaurant in town and you can’t go wrong here.

The She Crab Soup — a signature dish here — is delicious: a thick, salty broth with strained crab. Some may find it too creamy, but then they don’t want a crab soup because this cup favors pureed tomato over cream more than most regional crab-soup recipes. It’s our first fresh crab of the season (oh, for shame).

The next Breadcrumbs will be even shorter: dinner at The Alley Light in Charlottesville.

tango449eats‘s review
♦ Claire’s reviewed on “Will You Eat There?” at Fox5DC
♦ 2005 review at “The Washington Post,” with backstory
♦ There’s also garden seating outside and, if it’s too hot (as now), a garden-view dining room.

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