I have long heard and read raving reviews about Zynodoa in Staunton. The executive chef, James Harris, is famed for having been a chef at the Inn at Little Washington and a contributor to state dinners in D.C. We have been meaning to eat at Zynodoa since our first visit, but circumstances have always prevented it. We were in town for the whole weekend this time and it coincided with Staunton Restaurant Week, so we made sure to make reservations at Zynodoa. Zynodoa, unlike many restaurants in town, made their whole menu available for the same price as Restaurant Week pricing, so we had a great deal of choice. The value was amazing: $25 per person for a three course, very large portioned, fresh, local meal. Diners were also given the option of paying $18 for a three course Virginia wine pairing. I was taking some cold medicine, so I didn't partake.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is nice, clean, contemporary, even a bit chic. The lighting is low, but not dark. It is not a large restaurant, so it fills up fast. I would always recommend reservations. I hate that I can't remember our servers name. He was a wonderful server, quick to answer any questions about the menu; he explained the dishes well and not like a robot. As I said, the menu choices were extensive. I selected the Polyface Farm Chicken Liver Mousse. I didn't used to like liver, but as I have matured so have my tastes. The mousse was served with a layer of bacon fat on top. It provided an almost tangy taste to complement the taste of the liver. The mousse was paired with a selection of olives and some miniature grape leaf pickles (at least that's what they tasted like-they were great). My wife ordered the grilled flatbread pizza that featured house made mozzarella, Harvest Thyme micro-greens, and surryano ham. It was delicious. For our entrées, I selected the Buffalo Creek steak frites. It featured an enormous ribeye with a perfect wall of fat. I ordered it rare, and it was perfectly prepared to my liking. The fat provided an amazing flavor. It was accompanied by yukon gold frites an horseradish aioli, and some amazing caramelized turnip slices. My wife selected the Caramont ricotta gnocchi with a potato mushroom buerre monte and Harvest Thyme micro-greens. The gnocchi were large, and looked like scallops. They were delicate tasting but very filling. We finished our meal with dessert selections. My wife enjoyed a selection of incredible Gearheart's fine chocolates. I was able to try one of the dark chocolates and was amazed with the taste. I selected the Virginia artisan cheese plate. The plate featured a wonderful phyllo crusted Meadow Creek Appalachian, a rich Oak Spring Brown Cow gouda, and a very offensive smelling but great tasting Meadow Creek Grayson. The cheeses were paired with sliced pears, apples, walnuts, and two dates.
I am so glad we decided to enjoy a night at Zynodoa. We will be sure to visit again soon.