March 17, 2010 News & Features » Cover Story


State of the Plate 2010 

Navigating the best of Richmond's burgeoning restaurant scene.


Restaurant of the Year: Acacia Mid-town

IF SUBTLETY is an art form, chef Dale Reitzer is a master painter whose plates frame a tenderly nuanced taste of nature. Reitzer's restaurant, Acacia Mid-town, has set a superlative standard in food, wine and cocktails that's serious without being intimidating, flavorful without assaulting the senses. For these reasons and more, Acacia is Style Weekly's 2010 Restaurant of the Year.

We love that Reitzer is resolute and unflappable. His skills are nationally recognized (Food & Wine magazine and James Beard nominee), but his ego remains in check. “It's great to be nominated, but I don't put much into it,” he says of the James Beard honor. “It's not going to change who I am or how I do things.”






Restaurant of the Year: Acacia Mid-town





Best Comeback: Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel





Dishes We Love: A few of our favorite things





Best New Restaurant/Best Design: Balliceaux





Best Menu: Cafe Rustica





Best Team Service: Chez Foushee




The List: Our critics choose their 52 favorites





Letting It Linger: Slow sips in search for the timeless digestif





Six Little Tidbits: Trends and tastes to order





Take It Back/Bring It On: Things our critics want to see more or less of in Richmond restaurants



Party of Four: Our restaurant critics cook when they're not dining out.

Don Baker
Before writing about restaurants since 1986, Washington Post political reporter Don Baker worked as car hop, waiter, maitre'd and bartender. He's a part-time Brooklyner, whose restaurant philosophy is built on years of dining worldwide. At home, he cooks with locally grown beets, crumbled goat cheese, whole wheat penne, fresh tarragon, crA"me fraArche with toasted walnuts, and almost anything with figs.

Tess Autrey Bosher
After working as a lawyer in New York, Tess Autrey Bosher found her true calling at the Institute of Culinary Education. Before moving to Richmond, she worked for Saveur magazine and the Food Network, and ran her own catering business. The toughest food critics in her family are her two young daughters, whose current project is helping their mom perfect her chocolate-chip pancakes. 

Joseph W. Cates
Joseph W. Cates found his callings one Friday afternoon breading haddock while Uncle Dominic sang (and Uncle Mike translated) an old song from Napoli: “When the full moon shines upon the waters, then even the smallest fishes. … they make love.” He's a former chef who spent more than a decade on the line; he teaches writing and grows food to cook for his family.

John Haddad
John Haddad is obsessed with food: growing it, cooking it, eating it and writing about it. Creative marketing consultant by day and writer and photographer by night, he also writes about food at and as Epicuriousity on Twitter. Lately he's been busy making sausage and starting a chapter of Slow Food USA in Richmond (



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