On a high-visibility corner at 2132 W. Main St., reviewer Ellie Basch finds a familiar favorite. We asked her to explain what keeps her coming back:
Rowland feels comfortable and lived in, and you can feel the care and passion of the owners in the air. It feels like a neighborhood restaurant that's been there forever, and the convivial atmosphere puts everyone at ease.
It's a tall order to occupy the former space of the one of the old Stella's, but Rowland is holding strong with its own charming mix of sophistication and approachable personality. The rickety chairs are gone, replaced by sleek, ergonomic wooden and metal numbers. The noise level is comfortably loud, and the crowd is decidedly Richmond — diverse and eclectic.
We always have good service at Rowland. Everyone helps out one another, covering all the tables. The food is artfully presented and flavorful. Bruce Rowland is a creative chef, drawing flavors from Southern, Asian and French cuisines. Virginia Rowland adds her South- and Central-American touches on the savory items, and her desserts are delectable with unfussy presentations, a home-sweet-home end to a meal there.
Affection runs rampant for many other Richmond restaurants, and the Style reviewers give special acclaim to Magpie at 1301 W. Leigh St. for chef Owen Lane's originality and expertise with game; Stella's at 1012 Lafayette St. for phenomenal specials at dinner and popularity for a reason; Burger Bach at 10 S. Thompson St., for quality in concept and execution; Bistro Bobette at 1209 E. Cary St. for flawless French cuisine and fun at the bar; Secco at 2933 W. Cary St. for chef Tim Bereika's unfailingly creative menus; and dessert emporium Shyndigz at 5716 Patterson Ave. for outright decadence. They are among many other independents that deserve applause for keeping Richmond well-fed.