11424 W. Broad St.
Second Place: Mekong Restaurant
Third Place: Fat Dragon Chinese Kitchen and Bar, and Foo Dog
It’s an understatement to say Richmond’s fortunate to have James Beard Award semifinalist Peter Chang, chased across the country by diehard fans as he moved from state to state before settling in Short Pump. Although classic Chinese dishes are available, it’s Chang’s own spin on Szechuan cuisine and his use of ma la — hot and numbing peppers — that created the foodie cult around him that continues today. Dry-fried eggplant and cumin lamb chops can take diners from the agitation of almost impossible spiciness to a mellow glow when the peppers cause endorphins to course through the body. City residents, take heart: Chang plans another spot on West Broad Street this winter. As for Mekong, its pho is matched only by the best spring rolls in town that it serves, but owner An Bui would like you to try a beer with that, if you don’t mind. Tied for third and owned by Chris Tsui and Ren Mefford, respectively, Foo Dog brought ramen to the masses and Fat Dragon has taken takeout classics and made them better.