Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Short Order

Mezzanine gets a rebound.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Chef Todd Johnson, now sole proprietor of the Carytown local-foods favorite Mezzanine, introduces a grilled radicchio salad with orange glaze and other new menu items at the two-level restaurant with heated patio. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Chef Todd Johnson, now sole proprietor of the Carytown local-foods favorite Mezzanine, introduces a grilled radicchio salad with orange glaze and other new menu items at the two-level restaurant with heated patio.

It’s a little like a divorce, or the break-up of a band, when a restaurant partnership ends its run. Such is the case at Mezzanine, the Carytown dining spot that was a first-ownership venture for partners Randy O’Dell, Patrick Stamper and Todd Johnson. After a 14-month dissolution process, Johnson is sole owner, while O’Dell and Stamper take full ownership of Bellytimber Tavern in the Fan.

Look for some changes at three-year-old Mezzanine, where chef Johnson says menus are being printed to augment the oft-criticized blackboard system; the wine and beer lists are getting an update and some cosmetic changes are in progress. New dishes include khao soi, a Thai entree of savory yellow curry with lobster, shrimp and rockfish over house-made fettuccine and cabbage for $24. Shrimp and grits and short ribs, the restaurant’s most popular dishes, remain on the menu, along with choices that highlight local farms and the purveyor relationships that Johnson has cultivated. He’s a Culinary Institute of America grad who helped open LuLu’s and has worked in Maui and Williamsburg.

Mezzanine is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 3433 W. Cary St. 353-2186. mezzaninerva.com.

Meatless: Dora’s Brazilian Grill in Shockoe Slip has closed after a two-year run. Nate’s Taco Truck Stop downtown also closed last week, although his locally renowned food cart will remain in operation. Owner Nate Gutierrez tells fans he’s leaving open the possibility of reopening the business.

New Year’s Eve at Tanglewood Ordinary: Far from the rowdy crowds, Goochland’s log house with family-style Southern cooking offers a different Dec. 31 experience. Musicians Anderson-Strickland, recently seen on the PBS “Song of the Mountains” broadcast, will perform bluegrass, gospel and old country music in a concert following dinner and dessert. The Ordinary’s legendary fried chicken, steamed shrimp and biscuits, bowls of vegetables and a uniquely traditional atmosphere have attracted visitors for 25 years. Tariff for the New Year’s Eve dinner and show is $40 and includes tax and tip. Reserve via 556-3284 or at ordinary.com.

Avenue 805 NYE: Among the better values on this usually exorbitant holiday is the four-course dinner at 805 N. Davis Ave for $55 a person. Lamb, tuna, rockfish and chocolate are some of the flavor options. See the menu at avenue805.net.

New at the Roosevelt: The all-Virginia wine list at Church Hill’s new hot spot has three additions. Linden Vineyards’ Hardscrabble Red and RdV’s red and Rendezvouz are difficult to obtain and priced to sell, owner Kendra Feather says. Chef Lee Gregory has new items on this month’s menu, including roast fennel and oyster stew, braised pork cheeks with cheese grits, and vegetarian gnocchi in spicy tomato sauce. 623 N. 25th St. 658-1935. rooseveltrva.com.

NOW SERVING

Arcadia: Steaks, seafood, small plates, sides in new Shockoe Bottom restaurant with chef Matthew Tlusty. Lunch Tuesday-Friday, dinner Tuesday-Saturday, Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1700 E. Main St. 417-4005. arcadiarichmond.com.

Pasture: Urban gastro-pub with grazing menu from chef Jason Alley; oysters, burgers, fried chicken, desserts and new-Southern classics in downtown dining room. Monday-Saturday from 4 p.m. 416 E. Grace St. 780-0416. pasturerva.com.

Peacock’s Pantry: Fine dining with seafood, steaks, cassoulet, desserts, wines from new chef and owner Elizabeth Lee in decorative, intimate space. Dinner Thursday-Sunday; weekend brunch. 1731 W. Main St. 732-3333.

Margarita’s Cantina: Burritos, quesadillas, margaritas in many flavors, $6 weekday lunch specials. Open daily for lunch, dinner and bar. 101-107 N. 18th St. 225-0331.

The Local Eatery and Pub: Classic Irish comfort food, American sandwiches, craft beer, wide whiskey list. Chef Jason Thrasher serves lunch weekdays, dinner and bar nightly. 1106 W. Main St. 358-1862.

C Street: Breakfast and lunch fare with French twists in Carytown from chef Graham Reeves. Egg of the day with root vegetable hash; pastries and Rostov’s coffee; salads, sandwiches, heartier entrees, outdoor dining on heated patio. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 3325 W. Cary St. 355-2200. Cstreetrva.com.

Mansion 526: Restored Jackson Ward residence with separate speak-easy; Southeastern comfort food at moderate price points. Pork, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, seafood. Lunch weekdays, dinner and bar Monday through Saturday. 526 N. Second St. 308-2913.

Olio: New downtown location for gourmet sandwiches, salads, quality deli foods. Espresso bar and breakfast sandwiches weekdays 7-10 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 600 E. Main St. 775-9597. oliorichmond.com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Short Order

Local Eatery becomes a drinking man's world.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Chef Jason Thrasher and owner Kyle Sinclair bring Irish and American flavors to the Fan at their new business, the Local Eatery and Pub. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Chef Jason Thrasher and owner Kyle Sinclair bring Irish and American flavors to the Fan at their new business, the Local Eatery and Pub.

It took almost a month after opening, but when the Local Eatery and Pub finally got its liquor license Dec. 2, the business could give customers what they wanted: premium English and Irish beers and some locally brewed selections, along with high-end whiskeys at the bar.

The pub is owned by Kyle Sinclair, known for operating a series of Shockoe Bottom bars. This project at 1106 W. Main St. was a hookah bar near campus that caught fire last spring. Now, with chef Jason Thrasher (formerly of Tarrant’s Café) in the kitchen, it’s transformed into a drinking man’s world with hearty food and the classic sports-on-screen accompaniments. Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, Scotch eggs and cottage pie hearken to the traditional pub food of Sinclair’s roots. For American tastes, there’s beef stroganoff and variations on Reubens, burgers and other meaty sandwiches. Vegan and vegetarian options are available, and entrees are priced from $6-$12. Dessert straddles the continents, with apple bread pudding in Powers whiskey sauce already a clear crowd favorite, Thrasher says.

The Local serves lunch weekdays, including box lunches for takeout, with dinner and bar hours nightly. 358-1862.

Wine with wisdom: C’est Le Vin offers a wine and food-pairing expo by reservation on Dec. 16, beginning at 5:30 p.m. For a $10 fee, guests will sample 20 wines, talk with the shop’s owners and importers, and learn which foods taste best with which wines. The wine boutique is located at 15 N. 17th St. and has an unusual selection of gifts for the oenophile and party-giver. cestlevin.com.

NOW SERVING

Arcadia: Steaks, seafood, small plates, sides in new Shockoe Bottom restaurant with chef Matthew Tlusty. Lunch Tuesday-Friday, dinner Tuesday-Saturday, Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1700 E. Main St. 417-4005. arcadiarichmond.com.

Pasture: Urban gastro-pub with grazing menu from chef Jason Alley; oysters, burgers, fried chicken, desserts and new-Southern classics in downtown dining room. Monday-Saturday from 4 p.m. 416 E. Grace St. 780-0416. pasturerva.com.

Peacock’s Pantry: Fine dining with seafood, steaks, cassoulet, desserts, wines from new chef and owner Elizabeth Lee in decorative, intimate space. Dinner Thursday-Sunday; weekend brunch. 1731 W. Main St. 732-3333.

Margarita’s Cantina: Burritos, quesadillas, margaritas in many flavors, $6 weekday lunch specials. Open daily for lunch, dinner and bar. 101-107 N. 18th St. 225-0331.

C Street: Breakfast and lunch fare with French twists in Carytown from chef Graham Reeves. Egg of the day with root vegetable hash; pastries and Rostov’s coffee; salads, sandwiches, heartier entrees, outdoor dining on heated patio. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 3325 W. Cary St. 355-2200. cstreetrva.com.

Mansion 526: Restored Jackson Ward residence with separate speak-easy; Southeastern comfort food at moderate price points. Pork, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, seafood. Lunch weekdays, dinner and bar Monday through Saturday. 526 N. Second St. 308-2913.

Olio: New downtown location for gourmet sandwiches, salads, quality deli foods. Espresso bar and breakfast sandwiches weekdays 7-10 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 600 E. Main St. 775-9597. oliorichmond.com.

Hard Shell at Bellgrade: Midlothian sibling of longtime Shockoe steak and seafood spot; full bar, outdoor dining, classic menu. Open nightly from 4. 11400 W. Huguenot Road. 464-1476.

richmondrestaurantgroup.com.

Carytown Bistro: New ownership for former Betsy’s and Bin 22; house-baked pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, panini, coffees, lemonade. Local art and live music, Craft beers, wine. Outdoor patio, friendly service. Open daily. 26 S. Auburn Ave. 340-0272.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Short Order

The new Arcadia gets a lift from Lincoln.

Posted on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 4:00 AM

John and Linda Van Peppen got a surge of publicity just as their restaurant Arcadia opened, when a photo of Daniel Day Lewis eating there went viral worldwide. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • John and Linda Van Peppen got a surge of publicity just as their restaurant Arcadia opened, when a photo of Daniel Day Lewis eating there went viral worldwide.

For John Van Peppen, the location of his new restaurant, Arcadia, is as important as its concept. The former Café Gutenberg at 1700 E. Main St. is historic and highly visible. “You can see the street or tuck away in the corner,” he says, and catch a skyline view in the upstairs dining room. You won’t be seeing much of the Shockoe Bottom club scene, though. He’ll close by 10 p.m. on weekends and earlier during the week.

Chef Matthew Tlusty returns to the kitchen with a diverse menu defined as contemporary Continental: duck bacon-wrapped sturgeon ($12), rock shrimp mac and cheese ($11), baby kale Caesar salad, deviled eggs with white truffle oil and caviar, and house-aged Braveheart Black Angus beef, from a 7-ounce filet to a 22-ounce cowboy cut. Crab cakes, purple rice-crusted rockfish, and pork osso bucco, along with Tlusty’s signature cream of carrot and dill soup and veggie sides “offer something for everyone to graze on,” Van Peppen says. Wines are grouped into $20 and $30 lists, with by-the-glass options from $5-$9, and reserve bottles all the way to $250.

Arcadia serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 417-4005. arcadiarichmond.com.

Carytown newbie: In its third week of business, C Street at 3325 W. Cary St. refuses to be pigeonholed. Chef Graham Reeves, who’s cooked in Richmond for 14 or so years, says “we’re not a cafe or a restaurant,” but a lunch spot that does private events at night with what he calls a neo-American with French highlights menu. Breakfast can be a large, whole-wheat cinnamon bun with Rostov’s coffee, or an egg of the day ($8) with root vegetable hash. Salads and sandwiches are substantial; the bacon, arugula and pimento cheese on sourdough ($7) “is our take on the usual BLT,” Reeves says, and the 20-some lunch entrees include hanger steak and Asian barbecue pork tenderloin.

As owners of Hazel Ruth Catering, Reeves and Jeffery Ferris worked a private event at the space last spring, and jumped on the opportunity to move their business there after short-lived 3325 Café closed. “It’s not lost on us that Acacia had a really great start in here for years,” Reeves says of the building’s well-known previous tenant. They reconfigured the kitchen, dressed up the interior, added heaters to the street-facing front patio, and changed the pink awnings to brown. “There’s great Carytown people watching out there,” Reeves says, and the adjacent courtyard is a tucked-away gem they’ll use for private events and eventual wine dinners.

Former golf pro Lamone Waller is general manager, chosen for his outgoing, service-oriented personality. C Street is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 355-2200. Cstreetrva.com.

Clip file: Richmond restaurants continue to get grand national media exposure. This month’s issue of Garden & Gun magazine highlights Lemaire, Acacia, the Black Sheep, Can Can, Ronnie’s Ribs, Wings & Other Things, the Village Café, Comfort and Rosie Connolly’s Pub. And a recently shot Travel Channel episode shows diners at Julep’s New Southern Cuisine.

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