Metzger Bar & Butchery
Saison’s burger: It is the best thing to ever happen to ground beef in my opinion. Super juicy, super flavorful, and house-made American cheese? You had me at hello.
Pasture and Comfort
Peter Chang China Café’s beef dan dan noodles: There is something so simultaneously familiar and exotic about this dish. On one hand, the chilies and Szechuan peppercorns create his trademark hot and numbing combination, but it still tastes vaguely of childhood leftover spaghetti and meat sauce. So good.
Mamma ’Zu’s veal sweetbreads: I love their veal sweetbreads with ham and mushrooms. Every time I go, they are exactly the same … awesome! The portion size is amazing and the flavor is always fantastic.
La Milpa’s pupusas: I love their authentic pupusas with tomato sauce and fermented cabbage. It’s a great spot for traditional, ethnic South American food.
The Urban Tavern
Stella’s octopus: If you don’t cook octopus long enough it’ll have great flavor, but be terribly chewy ... cook it too long and octopus can turn bland and mushy. At Stella’s, their octopus is served with a little bit of char from the grill, some good olive oil and vinaigrette for acidity and balance. It’s both tender and full of flavor. That’s batting 1,000 percent in my book.
The Magpie and Estilo
Pho Tay Do’s tripe, soft tendon and meatball pho: I love the deep, rich flavors of the broth. You can really tell they put a lot of time and energy into making it from scratch.
The Roosevelt and Southbound
Edo’s Squid’s skate with endive: It’s salty from the tamari, bitter from the endive and sweet from the flaky skate. Incredible. It’s a must-order if it’s on the list!
El Nopal’s carnitas: So freakin’ good, and you can get it as fajitas and make three meals out of it. Doesn’t hurt that they have great margaritas either.
Rappahannock’s paella: Dylan [Fultineer]and the boys do an amazing job with this thing, it has a ton of beautifully cooked shellfish. The merguez sausage adds some really nice earthiness to it, and the orange aioli brightens it just enough. I could go on and on about this stuff.
Patina Restaurant & Bar
Banh mi at Naked Onion: Fresh pickled vegetables, luscious pork belly and crusty bread makes for a winning combination.
Heritage and Southbound
Curry Craft’s Juhu beach-style “chaat”: It’s one of my favorite things to eat in Richmond!
Dutch & Co.’s perfect egg and salmon appetizer: Good balance of rich flavors and textures — a true three-star Michelin dish.