interviewed by Karen Newton
How often do you eat out?
It varies. Sometimes we hit eight to 10 restaurants a week. Sometimes six to eight. Just depends. Remember, we do multiples some nights.
Is it the same places or do you branch out?
I average 60 to 70 new restaurants a year in Richmond, not counting the ones we hit up when on vacation, business travel and weekend trips. And of course we go back to the ones we like or there is buzz about to have our independent, unbiased opinion. I am sure if we did dollars spent, I would be No. 1 hands down. My current tally for Richmond restaurants is at 509.
So I have to ask, what are your top three restaurants?
Oh, this is a tough one. It’s like asking someone who has a lot of kids to pick favorites. Based on overall experience (food, ambience, service and décor), I would have to go with Acacia Mid-Town, Amuse and Bistro Bobette (listed in alphabetical order). While the three chefs have very different personalities, they are very creative with their menus.
Most unusual thing you’ve eaten on a Richmond menu?
Jellyfish in a spicy pepper gastrique served with pickled ginger, pomegranate seeds and lotus root chips. I have to be honest — this was part of a special four-course tasting meal prepared by chef Todd Manley at Pescados China Street, so it wasn’t technically on the menu.
Biggest complaint about Richmond restaurants? Don’t hold back!
I just think that most Richmond restaurants tend to go the safe route with their offerings. We have so many talented chefs but they are a bit apprehensive to be bold, creative and different. And in all fairness, that reflects more on us as patrons because, after all, it’s a business and they want to offer what sells.
How much do you spend on eating out?
I always feel a little bit sad when I think about it. My monthly bill for eating out is more than my mortgage payment! But I wouldn’t really change it. It’s a choice and a passion so I am good with it.