Thursday, August 29, 2019

Closing Time

Pearl Raw Bar will serve its final oysters this Sunday.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 4:56 PM

Make way for a new restaurant in the Fan. Pearl Raw Bar, which has been serving up an extensive, seafood-heavy menu with a focus on oysters for six years, recently announced that it will close its doors this weekend.

According to a press release from Richmond Restaurant Group, which owns and operates Pearl, an “exciting new concept” is in the works for the space. No word yet on what that’ll be, but we hear it’s something that isn’t already in the group’s purview.

You’ve got two more chances at happy hour, which runs 4-7 p.m. on weekdays, and two more shots at brunch, served 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Pearl will serve its final rounds of seafood platters and cocktails on the night of Sunday, Sept. 1, though the press release says the restaurant “will remain open for all private parties that have been previously booked in the Vintage room.”

Monday, August 26, 2019

Any 'Wich Way

RVA Sandwich Week kicked off on Monday, Aug. 26.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 3:10 PM

Do you prefer chips or fries with your sandwich? How about $100 to spend on Amazon?

For Style’s annual Sandwich Week, 15 area restaurants are offering special sandwiches for $5-6. Try at least three of them, have your servers sign off on your passport and then turn the sheet in to have your name entered in a drawing for the aforementioned gift card.

At the Flyin’ Pig in Midlothian you’ll find a hearty breakfast sandwich laden with smoked brisket, an over-easy egg, American cheese, pico de gallo and mayo. In Manchester, Camden’s Dogtown Market offers up the veggie-heavy Viet Baguette, featuring hummus, fried eggplant and roasted and pickled vegetables. The Camel, located in the Fan, embraces the carnivore with a turkey Rueben, an Italian melt and a chicken cordon bleu sandwich. The best bang for your buck is either the $6 fried chicken thigh sandwich at Burgerworks in Glen Allen, or the $6 Cleopatra at Secret Sandwich Society, a caprese-inspired meal served with chips and pickles.

Other participating restaurants include Beauvine Burger Concept, Industrial Taphouse, McCormack’s Big Whisky Grill, Metro Bar and Grill, New York Deli, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Sedona Taphouse, Sticks Kebob Shop and Wood and Iron Gameday Restaurant and Bar.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Helping Hands

After Ita's Food Truck was totaled in a highway crash, friends created a GoFundMe campaign.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 15, 2019 at 6:15 PM

When Kristina Melendez-Thompson posted to Facebook last Saturday afternoon, she was full of gratitude. She thanked a list of strangers, friends and first responders, and wrote that she was “lucky and blessed to be alive.”

Melendez-Thompson survived a highway crash in her Puerto Rican food truck and walked away with only minor injuries. The vehicle itself, which rolled twice after a tire suddenly blew, was totaled, leaving its contents in disrepair.

Shortly after the crash, a family friend created a GoFundMe campaign to help Melendez-Thompson rebuild the family business. As of Thursday evening, donations reached more than $6,000.

Ita’s, a cheerful-looking truck covered in a rainbow of tropical-style flowers, could be found at events and festivals, plus breweries, business parks and farmers markets. The menu features meat and vegan empanadas, fried plantains and the vegetarian rice dish arroz con gandules.

Monday, August 5, 2019

In Season

The owners of Grisette hope a rotating menu and accessible prices will make the new restaurant stand out in Church Hill.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 2:21 PM

When chef Donnie Glass says he wants to use every part of the animal, he isn't kidding, which is why you'll find pig tails on the menu at Grisette, opening soon in Church Hill. Cooked low and slow before being deep-fried and served with honey, benne seeds, chilies, scallions and house-made pickles, the tail isn't the cute little curlicue you may be picturing — it's a long, hefty piece of meat with a bone running through the middle, cut into three or four pieces. The size and texture are similar to those of a chicken wing, and you eat it like corn on the cob.

Co-owners Donnie and Megan Glass, who met at the Charlottesville restaurant Public Fish and Oyster in 2015 and got married two years later, both know their way around a kitchen. Megan was recently a line cook at Lemaire, but her dining experience also includes front-of-the-house, so she's taking the lead as general manager while Donnie's at the helm as chef. They've also partnered with Andy McClure, who owns several Charlottesville restaurants and Citizen Burger Bar in Carytown.

The 50-seat restaurant, which the Glasses say was designed to look and feel like their own living room, will serve a meticulously curated menu of Southern French-inspired dishes with seasonal, local ingredients. They define local as anything within a day's drive, and when something is out of season it's off the menu. You won't be served cabbage in summer or tomatoes in winter, and the selection will change weekly.

Those tails, an often neglected cut of the pig, represent the type of cooking Donnie wants to bring to Grisette.

"While it's easy to cook somebody a duck breast or a rib-eye and make a beautiful sauce and put it on a plate, it's far more challenging to go to the farmers market, buy five ducks from Free Union Grass Farm, and say 'How am I going to make 100 dishes out of five ducks?'" he explains.

So how does he do that? By using the skin, fat, bones, necks, legs, thighs and breasts, while also incorporating "what's in surplus," like produce, legumes and grains.

"It can be done, but it's difficult. I think it's more fun," he says. "It's more fun than buying a case of duck breasts, having them sent to you and all you're doing is marinating them, scoring them, searing them and serving them. That's easy."

They've been tinkering with the opening menu for weeks, swapping ingredients in and out as farms' produce availability changes. Last week, the menu included a tomato tart with a green salad, goat cheese and black pepper tortellini, a summer bean salad with maitake mushrooms and steak frites with bearnaise. A lightly sweet foie gras eclair will be available as an opening special, and dessert will always be some sort of house-made pie with ice cream from Gelati Celesti. All breads and pastries will be made in-house, along with sauces, pickles, jams and preserves.

With the exception of a shareable charcuterie smorgasbord for $29, everything on the menu will cost less than $20, which the Glasses say was intentional. As young professionals who live in the neighborhood and love going out to eat, they wanted to create a space for people like them. Casual dress is welcome, Donnie says, and they hope Grisette becomes a regular go-to spot rather than a special occasion destination. Keeping the bar accessible is a big part of that.

Wines cost $9 or less by the glass, around $50 per bottle, and guests can pick a liqueur to build their own spritz. Classic-inspired cocktails, crafted by bar manager Caleb Donovan, who comes to Grisette after a lengthy stint behind the bar at Can Can Brasserie, won't exceed $10.

"We really want to cultivate a vibe where you can come in in shorts and a T-shirt and get a $4 beer or $8 glass of wine and hang out," Donnie says.

Grisette's doors haven't officially opened yet, but the owners say it'll be any day now. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

3119 E. Marshall St.
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Binge on Bivalves for National Oyster Day

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 10:02 AM

Today is National Oyster Day, so check your favorite spot for specials. The Boathouse and Saltbox Oyster Co. are offering half-priced oysters, and a handful of Richmond’s restaurants, such as Lemaire, Alewife, Aloi, Perch, the Savory Grain and Shagbark, are donating a portion of proceeds from oyster sales to the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The statewide program, managed by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Rivers Center, collects shell waste from businesses and the public and diverts them back to the Chesapeake Bay for oyster reef restoration.

The Boathouse was one of the first Richmond restaurants to feature a private-label oyster on its menus, and its parent company Richmond Housepitality has gone all in on the concept. Now every Boathouse location offers five custom oysters from different parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic ocean. Each oyster is grown by a different producer, designed to fit a particular flavor profile.

Simply named North, South, East, West and Salt, these oysters vary in their mix of the key oyster flavor elements: sweetness, salinity and minerality. The star is the West. Raised in the Piankatank River by Chapel Creek Oyster Co., the West is a particularly well-balanced blend of ocean and salt flavors, with a rich, almost buttery finish. It’s featured in the Boathouse’s oyster shooters, which are available with tequila, vodka, beer or sake, and it’s available fried with a side of chipotle remoulade.

Concerned about sticking to #MeatlessMonday? Don’t fret — because oysters don’t have a central nervous system, many vegans include them in their diets. Indulge guilt-free, and help rebuild the Chesapeake Bay.

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