Foti’s Restaurant-A Culinary Delight in Culpeper
For this months restaurant showcase we decided to return to Culpeper, Virginia and visit a small town with big restaurants. By big, I don’t mean size, but rather taste, and one of the best is Foti’s Restaurant. The husband and wife team of Frank and Sue Maragos, who met when he was a sous chef and she worked the front of the house at the Inn at Little Washington, opened Foti’s in 2005 and have been enjoying success ever since.
When they opened in 2005, the restaurant was located in the 100 block of East Davis Street in Culpeper. It was a beautiful venue that shouted elegance. For the special occasion dinner, this was perfect, but for more frequent and casual dining, there were other options. This has all changed. Foti’s moved one block to 110 East Davis Street. The new location is more open, more casual and has a reasonable size bar for that occasional drink. Other changes were added as well. Although they retained their favorite dishes on the new menu, they also added new, lighter fare dishes for the lunch crowd.
Included in the new offerings are a homemade Soup of the Day, Foti’s B.A.L.T: bacon, avocado, lettuce, mayonnaise and sliced tomato in a four tortilla wrap, meatball sandwich, Foti’s Gyro, Foti’s Burger and a roasted beet sandwich. Their Starters and Salads include Crispy Fried Buffalo Frog Legs, Garlic sautéed Snails, Prosciutto wrapped Duck Confit, Corn Crusted Oysters, Shrimp Lollipops and a Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad.
The favorite Foti’s that were brought over from the old menu include for starters, Cedar Plank Roasted Brie, Vanilla Roasted Maine Lobster, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tower, Warm Kale and Butternut Squash Sauté. The main courses are Surf and Turf a la Greque and Pan Seared Duck Breast.
To the new menu Maragos has added such tasty items like Pan Roasted Baramundi, Lamb Tangine, Pan Seared Salmon, Moroccan Spiced Mahi Mahi and Shrimp and Pork Belly. As you can see, this is not a run of the mill lineup, but a large selection of very tasty food.
For my appetizer I ordered the Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tower. Growing up in this area, I was never fond of many vegetables, but the years have changed all of that, and I find beets to be very tasty. These were no exception. Measuring almost a half-inch thick, the flavors of the goat cheese and beets melded nicely. My companion had the soup of the day and was very pleased with it as well.
For my main course I ordered one of the house favorites…Pan Seared Duck Breast. The medium rare sliced duck breast was accompanied with prosciutto wrapped duck confit and drizzled with a balsamic black berry sauce. This was a nice add-on to the very tender duck breast. The roasted blackberries really made for a nice taste sensation. It did not overpower the taste of the duck; rather it created subtle flavors that languished on the tongue. The vegetable was a combination of sliced zucchini, shaved carrot, and spinach. These are some of my favorite vegetables and the light seasoning let the flavor shine through. The dish was also accompanied with cauliflower. I can’t remember the last time I ate cauliflower, but this was delicious and can easily take the place of potatoes.
My companion ordered the Pan Seared Salmon with pickled ginger and apple salsa and drizzled with a pomegranate molasses served over jasmine rice accompanied with sauteed vegetables. The salmon was cooked to perfection and the combination of flavors added a new twist on an old favorite.
I have to admit that we got a couple of to go boxes for our leftovers so we did save room for dessert. We had the strawberry emanadas and a special of the day, carrot cake. This wasn’t just a regular slice of carrot cake, it was baked in the form of a carrot and garnished as such. Really felt bad cutting in to the presentation. Both were a nice compliment to the end of our meal.
Foti’s also has a very nice wine selection and are proponants of supporting local Virginia wineries. The selection runs the gamut and represents good wines at an affordable price.
Although I had really liked the first location of Foti’s in Culpeper, I now understand the thought behind the move. The new location is much more open, less of a special event occasion but is still an elegant menu in a much more casual setting.
A new wrinkle to this location is the addition of two tables in the kitchen area to act as a chef table. You can reserve the tables and have your dinner while you watch as Frank prepares yours, and all of the other dinners for the evening. It is a great way to get the true restaurant experience.
110 East Davis Street
Writen by: Bob Tagert