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Acacia; Skilligalee; Johnson's Grill 

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menu features basic elements styled in special ways. Sea trout, grouper, rockfish, tuna, beef, pork, chicken, lamb and cannelloni are all offered along with some tempting starters. My dinner of braised shank of lamb, topped with rosemary sauce and served pink and sliced atop garlic mashed potatoes ($21.95), was a true treat. The lamb was tender, and although our waitress had not asked me how I'd like it prepared, it was exactly as I would have ordered it. My companion, Bottomless Pitt, adored his grouper ($20.75) as much as I loved my lamb. Served with grilled asparagus, red-wine onions and roasted fingerling potatoes, the generous portion of fish was moist and flaky.

Since we hadn't been packed full with dinner, we ordered dessert. B.P. had blackberry clafoutis, a mini-cakelike pastry, and I had crŠme br–lée — both were sweet endings for an all-round quality dinner.

Acacia is, for most, a special occasion kind of place. But it is, without a doubt, worthy of visiting as often as possible. For creativity of preparation, attentiveness of service and depth of flavor, this is one of Richmond's culinary gems.

— Carter Braxton



If you like to get your steaks at a steakhouse and your seafood at a seafood place, then is your kind of restaurant. Amidst classic appetizers such as oysters Rockefeller ($7.95), and steamed clams ($7.95), and entrees such as crab imperial ($19.95), baked flounder, stuffed with crabmeat ($18.95), and the extravagant whole Maine lobster stuffed with crab imperial ($36.95), there are a few novelties. Take, for example, the mildly innovative oysters Chesapeake ($7.95) baked with cheddar, wasabi and bacon.

In addition to its regular entrées, Skilligalee allows diners to choose a fish from its fresh fish selection to be blackened, broiled, sautéed, grilled or fried, and then sauced with a choice of ginger-teriyaki, tomato-basil cream or picatta with mushrooms.

If the prospect of pricey seafood classics in a subdued comfortable atmosphere appeals to you, then Skilligalee is worth a visit. But, if you like your seafood dishes a little more au courant, then you'd do better spending your dollars elsewhere.

— B. Ifan Rhys



There's nothing fancy, or even remarkable, about . Johnson's lunch menu of fundamental, orthodox Southern home-cooking is geared to those who like fast decisions, fast service and a cheap lunch. There are only a handful of items, and none of them is more complicated than the briefest of descriptions will complete: fish, country steak, liver, pork chops, spareribs, meatloaf, chicken (breast, leg). Each is available either as a sandwich ($2.50-$4.25) or dinner plate ($4-$7.50).

Get the dinner and you get to choose two vegetables: mac and cheese (it's a vegetable 'round here), lima beans, pickled beets, greens, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, coleslaw, honey carrots, cabbage, potato salad, yams and string beans. For an extra buck or so you can add a vegetable to a sandwich order.

Food comes to your table on plastic divided cafeteria plates with Mrs. Johnson's soft and buttery yeast rolls on the side. Homemade peach cobbler and some nonhomemade items round out the dessert offerings.

— Noel Patrick

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