LFM: Edo’s Squid and other eats

I know I set a rule not to say anything negative about locally-owned places but this particular restaurant has such  an established clientele that I doubt that the opinion of a little blogger like me would even matter .  Besides, it's been theorized that it is not good for one’s health to keep strong sentiments bottled up inside especially since now they've now been percolating for a week. And this IS MY personal blog where I can rant and rave as I wish.  So I should have the right to put this question out there:  “What is the big deal with Edo’s Squid anyway?!”

                My first visit two summers ago was compelled by a gushing recommendation from a friend.  A recollection from that visit reminds me that our dishes were a disaster and tasted like the chef dumped their entire supply of salt on them – yes,  every single plate from appetizer to entrée, and yes, both entrees, were unequivocally salty.

                And yet, to-date, I have been reading and hearing that Edo’ Squid was undoubtedly the best restaurant in Richmond. Hype?  I had to find out – again. So for my hubby’s birthday we decided to give the squid another try.

                I didn’t mind that the stairwell seemed like I was walking up a cheesy motel and neither did spying the cook in a tank top bother me at all ( I was just glad it was not a hot and sweaty summer yet!)  This restaurant has not been known for excellent service but I was still visibly peeved when our server did not even care to ask the chef when I inquired if their duck special had skin on or off. HH had to pointedly request her to go ask the chef, which she did, but not after some obvious show of irritation on her part.

                Our appetizer of squid in a soy broth initially reminded us of our first visit.  I know the Chef likes Full Kee and probably decided to try an Asian-European fusion number but the dish left me wondering what it would have tasted if it had Bok Choy instead of Belgian Endive – in addition, I was yearning for rice instead of the accompanying bread to soak the liquid with.

                Our dishes were similarly luck luster. Hubby’s chicken cacciatore tasted very ordinary and my shrimp diavolo had a very watered down sauce that all I tasted was the hot pepper. Admittedly the entrees did not taste bad, but truly there was nothing special about them. (I had an outstanding lobster diavolo at Franco's before and was expecting a similar experience)

                For dessert, I had a tiramisu I would rather forget (2 bites and I was done…I don’t even remember why I did not like it!) and the HH’s gelato had ice crystals in it.  I know that Edo’s Squid gets their ice cream from Gelati Celesti  – I just hope they don’t end up giving this ice cream maker a bad name as this is HH’s favorite gelato place.

                And yet I see droves of people waiting to be seated.  I guess Edo’s Squid and my taste buds don't really agree or maybe I was simply waiting for a life-altering meal that never came and the disappointment was so palpable. HH made me promise that I would never ask to go back…

 In some other Eats:

                Café Rustica never ceases to impress me with their mastery of mussel cookery.  Whether cooked in spinach cream, red or white wine, they are always perfectly succulent and with broth so tasty you would want to request more bread just to lap up every last drop! So if you are partial to this bi-valve mollusk, time to go there –NOW!

                Amici . I had an impromptu (at least on my part) lunch with Rva Foodie , House of Marina and Mommy Gourmet. I thoroughly enjoyed my pollo limone. The chicken was tender, flawlessly browned, and had the ideal blend of tart and salty (it had capers) and was served over a bed of wilted spinach. I left most of the spinach on my plate that prompted RVAfoodie  to  ask me if I did not like wilted spinach. Of course I liked it (especially with fried rice) but vegetables are admittedly my least favorite part of any dish. Oh, and I thought the Amici folks did a fantastic job renovating the place. Thanks for lunch to RVAfoodie and Sadler who picked up the bill for lunch J. I thoroughly enjoyed talking food and food politics with the three of you! (read more of this meeting at Eating Richmond)

                Can Can.  Our good friends wanted to take us out for dinner for sharing our space in the basement to store their stuff while they staged their house for sale. This French brasserie is always a fun place to visit. HH’s onion soup gratinee’s broth had the obvious desired deeply caramelized onion flavor, and our brisket appetizer was equally yummy ( Warning: it had a good layer of fat, however, the pickled vegetable that accompanied it was the perfect foil.) My combination platter of braised and roast lamb was at the same time a hit and a miss. The braised part was falling off tender and flavorful, the roasted part was slightly tough and rather tasteless. HH, who ordered the same dish, did not enjoy it but that was because he did not like dishes that are like pulled meat – this braised lamb had a tendency to be this way.  Both our friends ordered the Can Can burger that recently received a rave review from Style Weekly. I twittered Brandon (the reviewer) that the one time I ordered that sandwich, what was served was a choking chunk of ground beef. She suggested ordering it medium rare and I wish I had recommended that to my friends, except that our server described medium rare as cold pink in the center and somehow that did not appeal to the couple. So both ordered theirs medium which was described as warm pink all throughout. When their burgers arrived, I told my friends to check the temperature - the first was warm pink and juicy which quickly turned dry and overdone, the second one was already at well-done. My theory is that the meat is very lean; and because of the sheer size of this thick burger it had the capacity to retain more heat and continued cooking longer than other normal-sized burgers. Ordering the burger medium rare as Brandon suggested may be the best way to go.  Personally, I like anything with ground meat well-done, which is why if I were to make burgers at home I would get 80/15 or 80/20 ratio of ground beef so it has enough fat to remain juicy. I also wish Can Can would serve better desserts, their apple & sage tart and walnut ice cream tasted peculiar; my friend enjoyed her chocolate and peanut butter pyramid, but I'd rather save my calories intake for something else.

                Cappricio’s Pizza.  Finally, there is a restaurant in Richmond, VA that specializes in thin crust pizza. Our first visit there was very promising. We tried the Quattro – a combination of prosciutto, green olives and artichokes. We added Italian sausage to it because I thought that it did not have enough meat. Both hubby and I felt that the pizza sauce might need more spicing up but since this was our first visit, it was too soon to tell.  We also had the calamari as an appetizer and were happy that it included the tentacles and not just the rings.


24 thoughts on “LFM: Edo’s Squid and other eats

  1. As much as I like to eat, I don't eat out terribly frequently. This was a good post, which adds several places to the list of restaurants to hit. Thanks

  2. I'm sorry your Edo's Squid experience wasn't better! The atmosphere etc is definitely something you just kind of have to take for what its worth. It's very loud and crowded at dinner on weekends, and even if you make reservations you usually end up waiting for at least a few minutes to be seated. That being said, whenever I go (all 3 or 4 times) I order the same thing: fried calamari appetizer, and one of the fish dishes, one of the white fish- grouper, snapper or branzino. The BF always gets the veal scallopini, marsala. That triad of food has served us well. The fish is nothing novel, just baked with salt pepper lemon and olive oil, but really tasty in its simplicity. We love the calamari, they're perfectly cooked and not at all chewy. The veal is really heavenly though. I agree with the desserts. The tiramisu was WAY to strong for me. If you do ever convince yourself and the Hubby to go back, try that triad out and I believe you'll have a better experience. Have you had Mama Zu's and/or 8 1/2. From what I understand they're all owned by the same people. 8 1/2 is a truncated take out version with an italian market on Strawberry Street. It's pretty tasty, and I hear the pizza is amazing, but a bit pricey for take out if you ask me. Anyways thanks for the other restaurant suggestions, I'll have to try those out!

  3. Hi Eugenio – Hubby and I don't eat out much lately because either I'm too busy on the weekends or we just couldn't feel excited to go out to eat…but sometimes we have moods where we have an eating out streak.
    Thanks snookydoodle!
    Hi Jess- I'm afraid I cannot convince the hubby to go back. I have tried Mama Zu a long time ago and I do not remember that experience except I had a strong garlic breath afterwards which must have been good then …:). Have not tried 8 1/2 – need to check that out! thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Veron…sorry your experience wasn't better. I am a huge fan of Edo's but we generally get the carbonara, the veal marsala, fish, squid white beans & arugula and sometimes I will get the hangar steak.

    But I understand what you mean about being disappointed in a place and for whatever reason everyone else seems to love it. I'm that way about Mezzanine.

    For a special night, my go-to place (and Richmond's unsung hero) is Sensi.

  5. Hi Janet – the hubby and I just talked about going back to Sensi last night. We said why keep trying other places and getting disappointed- when we always have a good time at Sensi.
    Thanks Maria!

  6. Hey Veron!

    Good Pizza if you haven't tried it … Mary Angela's. It's one of my favorites I consider it the equalivant to "cartoon pizza". Then again nothing compares to The Crazy Greek's greek pizza with their homemade greek dressing. You have to have the flaming cheese!

    As far as desserts go … I don't know how you even eat them at a restaurant with the Holy Grail of tasty treats you whip up! I can't wait to taste those heavenly morsels on June 20th! I'm excited to see you at the wedding!

  7. HAHA You should see the cupcake shrine on my blog all about your cupcakes! I hope you don't mind but I had to put your pictures on there! I couldn't resist!

  8. Thank you for having the balls to share your Edo's experience. I have not been, but I have heard nothing but raves about 4 1/2, Mama Zu's and Edo's Squid.

    My dinner at 4 1/2 was nothing short of a decent meal. I haven't had Mama Zu's in years, but I don't remember the Italian food being anything special – though I did have an amazing piece of blackened tuna. I'm from CT originally, and I think it just boils down to the fact that there is way more good Italian food available up North. Not a complaint, just an observation.

    Just like I wouldn't necessarily take a northerner's advice on the best bbq, I'm probably not going to take advice around here on amazing Italian food.

  9. Sorry, clearly I'm out of it. 4 1/2 doesn't exist. I meant 8 1/2. Perhaps I'll open up a rival restaurant next door and call it 4 1/4.

  10. Hi Mary – I know what you mean but everytime I bring up the subject " In New York…or…In San Fran…" I always get told " Well this isn't NY or San Fran"…but with the number of restaurants here in richmond you hope that at least one will give you that big city experience…I haven't been to 8 1/2 but I think 4 1/4 sounds perfect!

  11. You have such a knack for restaurant reviews Veronica, could you come to Central PA and do a few here. I have just had the worst experiences eating out this last visit. Oh how I wish I could do reviews like yours. Well, at least I know where to go or not to go in Richmond. Thanks for sharing…

  12. thanks Louise. I usually go in a cycle whether I want to express an opinion about a restaurant or not…sometimes the words don't come but sometimes I feel so strongly about an experience I have to get it out.

  13. I have to say that Capriccio's leftover pizza was a big big disappointment for me. After I warmed it up in the oven, all I tasted was the fake-velveeta cheese flavor plus the stikcy-gooeyness of it. I don't know if something was wrong with my tastebuds or what but I am not a fan of that cheese or any cheddar which should not be the main cheese item on a pizza in my belief. We have to go back and try it again. I am going to ask if they can share what kind of cheese they use on their pizza…nothing like fresh cheese…

  14. Edo’s: squid, white beans, and arugula. sweet tails, fried oysters, shrimp and broccoletti, THE duck, grouper, velvet soft shells……wow where do I stop. That stuff is GOLD standard. Tiramisu….GOLD again, yeah has a strong overtone but….????? Reasonable wine. Service is improving. Acoustics are horrible. Could use a deep clean. BUT… fantastic, unpretentious eats.

  15. This blog post was so helpful! I’m a new food blogger, and I’m completely new to RVA, so it was nice to hear what some of the restaurants in Richmond have to offer! I’ll definitely have to check out some of these places 🙂

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