A Charlottesville favorite, Duner’s is actually in Ivy which is an exit west of “town” on 64. I went last Saturday night with a lovely gentleman who is a regular customer, eager to introduce me to a local stand-by that I had yet to try. The atmosphere is open and a bit” beachy” as one might suspect by the name with white painted wood and fairly bright lights- a friendly if a bit shabby feel. The place was packed with what looked like a fairly upper-middle class white crowd, sort of preppy but that is to be expected in UVA country particularly on the night after the first football game of the season.
We had a glass of wine at the bar (not memorable but perfectly drinkable) and sat at a quaint table in a dining alcove to the right of the restaurant as you walk in. The European style wall mounted AC unit was leaking a bit spitting the occasional drop of frigid water on my so I moved seats across the table to have a view of the damaged wall and peeling wall paper resulting from inattention to the drip. Not the best visual for a nice dinner but, hey, for me it is all about the food. I ordered Panko Crusted Fried Oysters with Cilantro-Chipotle Aïoli for my first course. I found the panko a tad bland with the oysters creating a gooey texture in the mouth. The sauce was a nice blend of spices with only a small kick from the chipotle but not good enough to overcome the bland flavoring of the Panko.
The Hanger steak served on a polenta cake in a red pepper sauce (is that right?) was a fantastic choice for an entree. The steak was cooked perfectly into tender melt-in-you-mouth slices and the polenta cake nicely seasoned, satisfyingly crusty on the outside and a good stand up consistency on the inside. The remainder of it was even better when I polished it off the next day for lunch. YUM.
For dessert we shared a Coconut Cream Cake White Genoise layered with Coconut Cream and White Fluffy Icing with a drizzle of Rasberry coulis. Quite good but far from orgasmic.
I would definitely go back to try some other dishes. The homemade bread they serve to start is wonderful. Overall I give them three stars out of five.