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Buddhist bikers pull in for steak, potatoes night

We first heard of Buddhist Biker Bar and Grill several years ago, when we were first years, not because its food but because of the drinks. Although it sounded intriguing, (does Charlottesville really have bikers?), we never went.

After all, Elliewood Avenue, although short in length, is a multi-day trip in regards to restaurants. Along it are other wonderful eateries: Take It Away, Martha's Cafe and the Biltmore. But one day, we saw an ad for steak and potato night at Buddhist. For only $5, we could eat a hearty meal.

So we ventured down Elliewood and walked through the lot's iron gate and front door, sat down next to a cozy fire and ordered two servings of steak and potatoes.

It was fun, good tasting and different, but eventually, the meal got old. One's desire for just steak and potatoes can only last so long. But it did provide us the opportunity to see the rest of their menu, which drew us back for a second evening of dining. As it turns out, Buddhist translates to Asian and Biker Bar translates to meat and shellfish.

The entrees mostly are typical dishes, some modified with an Asian flare. Take chicken, add ginger and the result is ginger chicken. The sauce is described as "the most heavenly peanut sauce known to man." Or take barbecue ribs, add Thai sauce and you get Thai barbecue ribs. It is described as "a deviant cousin of southern BBQ ribs that likes slow-roasted Asian love and sticky Thai flavor."

The descriptions are cute, just like the bar's name. The prices are cute too: $9.96 for the ginger chicken and $15.15 for the ribs. But the cheesy aesthetic works. The food is good, especially for a Corner bar, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting.

For starting off the meal, there are several good options. The artichoke and parmesan-stuffed mushrooms ($3.73) are very good. Unlike other stuffed vegetables that are overwhelmed by stuffing, there is no doubt here that mushrooms are the dominant ingredient.

The vegetable egg rolls ($3.86), are a tasty blend of several vegetables. But the homemade mustard sauce is extremely hot. We're talking I-think-I'm-crying hot. The menu also lists a shrimp martini ($5.82), which comes with wasabi cocktail sauce. The appetizers are rounded out by baked brie, a spinach dip and garlic bread.

None of Buddhist's salads are worth ordering. The most exciting of them is called Aphrodite's Athenian salad featuring olives, pepperoni, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. But there are better salads in town. The entrees are what set this place apart from similar restaurants.

Tommy Pee Paw's Jumping Jerk Pork Platter ($10.76) is cooked tenderly in spices and placed on top of black beans and rice. Surrounding the delicious pork is a warm pineapple compote, which compliments the drier beans and rice.

On the shellfish side of the menu, Buddhist offers a flavorfully rich dish called Lumpy's Old School Cakes of Crab ($16.33). With tarter sauce served on the side, this dish will satisfy crab cake lovers.

Also on the menu are crawdads and cow, a sirloin steak smothered with a crawfish-scallion butter, and a praised pot pie with a pastry crust stuffed with a chicken, sausage and ham stew.

Although most items on the menu features meat and shellfish, there is an excellent cheese tortellini ($10.77). Multi-colored tortellini fill a shallow bowl gently covered in a sweet tomato cream sauce.

The bottom line is that the Buddhist Biker Bar is a nice place for an occasional dinner. Now that we have dined there, we understand why you might just have a drink or two after dinner. After all, you are all the way at the end of Elliewood.


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