Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Short Order

RVA Sandwich Week, Christian's Pizza + More

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Home Slices

Diners can grab $5 deals this week at more than 25 local restaurants during Style Weekly's RVA Sandwich Week, which runs through Aug. 30. Pictured is one of them —the Union Market Reuben, with house-made corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, spicy mustard and Gruyère cheese on Billy Bread.

Participating restaurants include Bellytimber Tavern, Brew, Burgerworks, Café Caturra, Cary Street Cafe Carytown Burgers & Fries, the Cask Café & Market, Cha Cha's Cantina, Commercial Taphouse & Grill, En Su Boca, Good Foods Grocery, Hurley's Tavern, the Local Eatery & Pub, Metro Grill, Mojo's, New York Deli, Positive Vibe Café, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, the Savory Grain, Siné, Society, Strawberry Street Café, Superstars Pizza, Torero, Union Market, and Xtra's.

Details on each restaurant's sandwich can be found at rvasandwichweek.com.

Stuffy's gets filled: After Stuffy's packed up shop and left the Virginia Commonwealth University area in May after 38 years, diners wondered what would become of the former sub-maker's space on Harrison Street. Wonder no longer: Construction is underway to turn the space into an open-kitchen Asian fusion spot from Paulo Benavides, the owner of Pepe's Mexican Restaurant on Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield. The restaurant has yet to be named. But Benavides says that in making the leap from cuisine to cuisine and from suburbs to city, he hopes the location will do well with college diners hungry for variety. Watch this space for details as they become available.

Just opened: Also on Harrison Street, in the former Yogie's Yogurt Shop, the second Richmond location of Charlottesville transplant Christian's Pizza is now slinging slices to early favorable buzz. The pie-maker, known for its specialty and house favorite pizzas, also opened a location in the Village Shopping Center on Three Chopt Road earlier this year. We've been told to try: the avocado and feta pizza with mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil, and the arugula and prosciutto pizza with pecorino romano. Christian's Pizza, 404 N. Harrison St., 204-1643.

Stony Point Pair-Up: CinéBistro at Stony Point Fashion Park is throwing an eight-course beer pairing dinner at 7 p.m., Aug. 28. A couple of course standouts are beer-braised littleneck clams and mussels with melted sweet peppers and lemon grass, alongside Flying Dog Brewery's Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale, and spiced lamb ribs with strained yogurt and minted tomato jam paired with an Ommegang Rare Vos. $49. Seating is limited. 9200 Stony Point Parkway, 864-0460.

Wranglin' up mall grub: Food trucks may be familiar sights in the city, but a fleet of them will head to Chesterfield Town Center on Sept. 14 for the Central Virginia Food Truck Rodeo. The festival will feature more than 35 Richmond-area trucks, including Hungry Turtle, Grilled Meats and Treats, and River City Wood Fire Pizza. Also on tap are 25 local craft beers from Ardent Craft Ales, Hardywood, Starr Hill and Legend. Music will also be provided by funky soul masters Gedeon Luke and the People. The festival runs from noon-7 p.m. centralvirginiafoodtruckrodeo.com.

Now Serving

The Halligan Bar-B-Q Grill Express: Same spicy, hearty fare as the Shockoe and Short Pump locations, but at a three-alarm pace. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 10108 Lakeridge Parkway, Ashland, 299-2921. thehalliganbar.com.

The Urban Tavern: New American gastropub in Short Pump from Home Team Grill owner Garland Taylor. Tavern-esque food, charcuterie and small plates. Featuring 24 taps of craft beer, plus growlers. 10498 Ridgefield Parkway, 716-7029. theurbantavern.com.

L'Opposum: Quirky fusion of French fare and Southern cuisine in Oregon Hill. Unique cocktails alongside the usual stable of local craft beer. 626 China St., 918-6028. lopossum.com.

Southern Kitchen: Mouth of the South New eatery from former Sweet Tea's manager Shane Thomas. Soul food staples including po'boys, pulled pork and — of course — heaping helpings of fried chicken in a cozy, white-linen dining room. 2 N. 18th St., 729-4141.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Short Order

RVA Food News: Southern Season events, Big Whisky Grill + More

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Cooking Underground

The new and packed Southern Season closed its doors early Monday night to hold a Hamilton Beach-sponsored Underground Kitchen.

For $45, guests could visit 11 stations to sample small bits of specialty food. A few local gems included Gearheart's ginger chocolate bar and Pickled Silly's dilly beans. Mike Ledesma, head chef at Patina, gave whirlwind cooking demonstrations for anyone who could find a seat or standing room during the two-hour event.

Of note was the creamy green tea crème brûlée, artfully demonstrated in a sparkly new Hamilton Beach blender and convection oven. Tasting pours of wine from varying local distributors also were available. You can find information on Underground Kitchen events online at theundergroundkitchen.org. — Robey Martin

Packed plate: If you want to get in on the action at Southern Season, you've got plenty of options to choose from. Here's a sampling of the gourmet grocer's events to close out August:

Wednesday, Aug. 20: In honor of Julia Child's birthday, cooking school chefs will show students how to prepare such classic recipes as mushroom and spinach crepes and shrimp étouffée. 6 p.m., $35.

Sunday, Aug. 24: Learn the ins-and-outs of pastry cooking from former White House chef Roland Mesnier. The class promises "tales of Ronald Reagan's chocolate mousse binges" and "Barbara Bush's love of dry, overcooked fish." 1 p.m., $55.

Saturday, Aug. 23: Brian Moore of Richmond's Robins Cellars curates a free wine tasting from an extensive portfolio. Noon.

Saturday, Aug. 30: The Blues and Brews Party at the on-site Southerly Restaurant will feature cold draft beers, a grilled barbecue buffet and — of course — plenty of blues music. $19 per person, $29 with beer. 5 p.m. Reservations recommended. 2250 Staples Mill Road, 855-592-3446. southernseason.com.

West End Whisky

Philip Denny, former executive chef at Six Burner and Aziza's on Main, has signed on at McCormack's Big Whisky Grill in the West End, which is shooting for an Oct. 1 opening.

Denny had been tapped to head up the kitchen at the upcoming Greenleaf's Pool Room in the John Marshall Building, but has left the project.

"Philip's got a pretty amazing reputation," says Big Whisky Grill owner Mac McCormack. "I was really excited to see that he was interested in doing it because I know that he can do it better than most can."

There's going to be a somewhat different structure to the kitchen: Two executive chefs will trade off on duties. McCormack says he's far along in talks with the second chef, but isn't ready to make an announcement: "It's somebody that, I would say, is just as important in skill as Philip is."

McCormack's Big Whisky Grill essentially will be an upsized version of the existing Whisky Grill in the Fan. It will be large enough to be corporate-function friendly for the West End, with private dining rooms that can seat as many as 400 people.

"I feel like the West End is actually really underserved," McCormack says. "Since I moved to Richmond in the '80s, there's never been a really good locally owned restaurant out there."

Coming soon: Specific launch dates for Graffiato, the Richmond offshoot of acclaimed chef Mike Isabella's popular Washington Italian restaurant, are circulating locally. Officially, it's "in a few weeks," but details on the highly anticipated restaurant's launch — and any special events — are expected soon. With the complex nature of the undertaking, launch dates often are rolling affairs for restaurants. But once it's open, diners can explore a changing menu of handmade pastas, oven-baked pizzas and Italian small plates that made the Washington spot famous. 123 W. Broad St. graffiatorva.com.

Forty years baked: The pizza purveyors at Mellow Mushroom are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Diners at the busy Carytown location have reason to celebrate this ruby anniversary Wednesday, Aug. 20, when the chain will knock back the prices on a classic combo to 1974 levels: $2.50 for a small cheese pizza, 30 cents for Coca-Cola and 75 cents for Pabst Blue Ribbon, Michelob or Budweiser. 3012 W. Cary St., 370-8210.

Meal and a show: Richmond CenterStage has released details on its Chicks & Waffles Drag Brunch coming to the Carpenter Theatre on Aug. 31. Expect the food — and the performers — to be both sweet and spicy. The food includes Cajun fried chicken and waffles topped with watermelon or bourbon syrup, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, bacon and biscuits. The performers include host Ellia J. Garlands, veteran local performer Millennium Snow, former Miss VA Capital City Pride Monica Duvall Ferrah, Style's Best of Richmond winner Michelle Livigne and newcomer diva Vivienne Hardwood. The show starts at 10:30 a.m. and admission is $30. Reservations are recommended. CenterStage, 600 E. Grace St. 592-3339.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Short Order

RVA Food News: L'Opossum, RVA Sandwich Week + More

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Marsupial Munchies: Oregon Hill residents may have noticed that Eat by Pescados China Street has transformed into the quirkily named L'Opossum. It's the newest project by former Dogwood Grille and Spirits Owner David Shannon. The dining theme is, in a word, weird — and that seems to be by design. From the silver statues of David holding up the railings to the Star Wars and Dark Shadows commemorative plates adorning the funky wallpaper, it's David Lynch by way of French cinema. The oddity extends to the menu, where diners can sample green fairy oysters rock in a fog of absinthe mist before moving on to the Hollywood boneyard (barbecue lamb chops, ribs and drumsticks, "laid out in comfort") and then wash it all down with a French tickler (Grey Goose vodka, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao and an orange twist). L'Opossum, 626 China St. 918-6028. lopossum.com.

Southern Competition: A little soul-food love triangle has emerged in Shockoe with the opening of Shane Thomas' Southern Kitchen: Mouth of the South at 2 N. 18th St. If the terms Shane Thomas and Southern cooking sound familiar, that's because Thomas opened her new restaurant directly across the street from Sweet Teas, where she had been manager since the soul food kitchen opened last summer. As previously mentioned, long-time Southern cookery Julep's will be making an exit from Shockoe early next year, heading for greener pastures in the financial district. Southern Kitchen features a clean, white-linen interior and a menu that reads like a yearbook of familiar faces: oyster and shrimp po'boys with house-made aioli on hoagie rolls, North Carolina pulled pork and — of course — huge helpings of Big Mama's fried chicken. Southern Kitchen: Mouth of the South, 2 N. 18th St., Richmond. 729-4141.

Brews and BBQ: Check out the third annual RVA BrewBQ at the 17th Street Farmers' Market on Sunday, Aug. 17. Look for all 11 Richmond-area breweries to be in attendance alongside a host of barbecue options from some of the city's most-loved smokers and pullers. Live local music includes: country singer Brittany Marie and Andrew Alli and Last Night's Blues Band. The event is free with beer ranging from $2 per sample to $6 for a full pour. 100 N. 17th St., Richmond. Look for RVA BrewBQ on Facebook for details.

One Crumby Week: Style Weekly's RVA Sandwich Week kicks off on Aug. 25. More than 25 local restaurants will be featuring $5 deals on sandwich creations all week long. Participants include: Xtra's Cafe, Commercial Taphouse, Bellytimber Tavern and more. Information can be found at rvasandwichweek.com or by following @rvasandwichweek on Twitter.

Now Serving: Home Team Grill's Garland Taylor has opened his new Urban Tavern gastropub in Short Pump. Look for savory creations from Mosaic Catering chef Tim Bereika. Standouts include: a flancha flank steak small plate with romesco sauce and salsa verde, rotisserie pork ribs with a house-made dry rub and roasted corn, and smoked trout on gem lettuce with a Dijon vinaigrette. The Urban Tavern, 10498 Ridgefield Parkway, Richmond. 716-7028. theurbantavern.com.

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