RVA Eats

This morning, as we've done pretty much every Saturday since we moved here, Kelly and I walked over to the South of the James farmers market in Forest Hill Park. We picked up goodies from a lot of our usual vendors--mushrooms at Haashrooms, eggs and a hot sourdough doughnut to split from Mrs. Yoder's, two coffees at TaZa--but once we'd loaded up with staples (including some of the best sweet peppers I've ever had, courtesy of Amy's Garden), we decided to hit the food trucks for a more substantial breakfast. In the past that has led us to try such fare as the shrimp & grits taco from Boka--totally fantastic--but today we gave the Monique's Crepes truck a try, and well, I have to say it: I was disappointed.

One problem was that the service was painfully slow; after we ordered, I think we may have stood at the window (in an increasingly hard, cold drizzle) for over fifteen minutes, and we were unquestionably there for more than ten. The cost was a little higher than you want at a food truck, too, but honestly, the crepes themselves could have made me forget all that. They did not. They weren't bad, but they were solidly mediocre, which left the service and the price weighing rather heavily in our judgment of the meal.

But as we sat in the shelter, fighting our crepes with some rather inadequate recycled flatware, I realized something: this was the first time I could recall feeling disappointed by a meal in Richmond.

Sure, not everything I've eaten here has been transcendent, but I honestly cannot recall eating anything in RVA that failed to live up to my expectations.

Mind you, I'm pretty good at setting expectations; I know what chains deliver vs. what unique restaurants deliver, and I don't expect silk purses when I belly up to a table at the Sow's Ear Diner. That was what made this such a remarkable realization: that the Richmond restaurant scene has managed to leave me a satisfied customer in essentially every situation I've encountered it, despite my wide-ranging tastes and the huge variety of situations under discussion. I've had golden anniversary and fiftieth birthday celebrations with huge groups of family members, post-show munchies with the kids, exploratory expeditions to odd corners of the map with Kelly, you name it, and I've felt great pleasure at best or solid contentment at worst in every instance before today.

So, you may ask, your salivary glands beginning to loosen up, where exactly have we eaten on these occasions?

I doubt I can make this anywhere close to exhaustive, but the list of  Richmond area restaurants where I've had at least a decent meal would include:

The Village Diner
Nile
Bodillaz
The Camel
Foo Dog
Three Monkeys
Sticky Rice
Burger Bach
Ellwood Thompson's Deli
Carytown Burgers & Fries
Baker's Crust
Texas de Brazil
Happy Family
Doner Kebab
Ginger Thai Taste
Weezie's Kitchen
Galaxy Diner
New York Deli
Coppola's Deli
Buzz & Ned's
Chef Mamusu's
Crossroads Cafe
Perly's
Tarrant's
Bon Chon
Cafe Rustica
The Boathouse
Europa
Capital Ale House
Graffiato
The Answer Brewpub
Little Mexico
Joe's Inn
O'toole's
Thai Diner
Hibachi Sushi & Supreme Buffet
Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken
Kitchen 64
Dot's Back Inn
On the Rox
Globehopper
Proper Pie Co.
China Star
Boka
Strawberry Street Cafe

Throw in solid chains like Noodles & Co., Chipotle, Cook Out and such and you'll see why our dining experiences in our new home city have been, with one exception, at or above expectations. I promise we'll be happy to patronize any of these places again--and in many cases, I hope to do so many more times.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on August 8, 2015 4:25 PM.

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