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Cheap Date: The Illusionist

The Date: Acappella at the Patrick Henry Inn, 2300 E. Broad St. in Church Hill

The Illusion: When you walk up the front steps Acappella looks like one of those chichi restaurants down in Colonial Williamsburg. You know, the kind that looks like you'll have to sell your firstborn to pay for the meal. Well, Acappella looks that nice. It's set in this historic building from the mid-1800s, and it's got elegance all over any of those places in Williamsburg, plus Italian and German specialties prepared by John Ernst, the former head chef of Pasta Luna.

The best part about Acappella is that you get a really highbrow dinner at a lowbrow price. You can have any of the entrées — from the wonderful Italian chicken rollatini (chicken stuffed with proscuitto and fresh mozzarella) to the German Wiener schnitzel (sautéed, breaded boneless veal steaks) — all from $12.95 to $14.95. Even cheaper are the pasta dishes like rigatoni … la vodka and the old-fashioned lasagna ($7.95 - $10.95). If you're not in the mood for a fancy dinner, go downstairs to the pub or in summer, chill out in the beer garden. The pub serves mostly specialty hero sandwiches ($5.95 to $8.95), and its grub is some of the best in town. And it's far cozier then anything Copperfield could disappear. What a showoff. - Francis W. Decker

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