Richmond Restaurant Dining

Slowly getting back into blogging again. Soon, I will have more time to write about food (and eating) – more about that later.
Anyway, my brother and sister-in-law came for a 10-day visit and I was excited to show them how the Richmond dining scene has evolved since 2008.

Hubby and I did our best not to eat out in the weeks preceding their visit because I know if it’s anything like my vacations to the Philippines, it’s going to be non-stop “see food” diet.

First place we whisked our guests to:

BurgerWorks

Our favorite burger joint in town, besides what says “Welcome to the USA” than a great American burger. Ordering can be confusing with so many options but I always go for the bison, bacon and mushrooms. Hubby loves the S.O.B. 

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The S.O.B at Burgerworks

CineBistro

One place we couldn’t wait to take my brother M and his wife M – I’ll just call them 2Ms – was Cinebistro. My family are movie buffs and we were sure they’d get a kick out of watching a movie in style. The food at this theatre is actually good considering that orders needed to be placed and served within a 30-minute window. They are also dinner-sized portions. Hubby and I always had leftovers before, so now we share an appetizer and an entree. My favorite is the popcorn trio which is popcorn shrimp, chicken and calamari with some popcorn at the bottom to soak up the grease. 🙂

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Theatre entrance
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The bar area to order drinks while you wait
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comfortable seating

Lehja

Mall shopping is a pre-requisite of my out-of-town guests and I’m glad that we have a great Indian restaurant right smacked in there. 2Ms loved Lehja and we went there twice, once for brunch and the second time when a cousin and his family drove through from Chicago and was able to join us for lunch.

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  Lehja

Stella’s
We were so thankful Stella’s was open on a Monday. All our dishes were fantastic. They have truly the best moussaka. Brother was ecstatic over the braised lamb shank although he kept on hinting that he wanted the hubby’s grilled lamb chops. The standout that night was the pan-seared branzino which tasted so fresh.

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lamb shank
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Branzino – european sea bass

Pho Saigon

I am always hesitant to take my family to Asian restaurants because everything appears sweetened up for the American palate. Brother made a comment about the pho broth being too sweet and having too much cinnamon – well there you go.
However, this special of pork belly in clay pot blew our mind away. So good!

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Clay-pot pork belly

Williamsburg Cheese Shop (Merchant’s Square)

After spending most of the morning shopping at the outlets we were all ready and hungry for lunch. My brother and I gobbled up our prosciutto and provolone sandwich from The Cheese Shop – the roasted peppers and house dressing were a great complement. This sandwich, as simple as it sounds, remains to be one of my brother’s most memorable meal of his visit. We actually bought a half-pint of the house dressing to bring home so we could replicate the sandwich.

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The Cheese Shop

My brother, a professional photographer, loved Williamsburg and wanted to shoot some photographs while I took my sis-in-law to the little shops.

The weather was stifling hot and by the time our photographer was done, his shirt was soaked. I told 2Ms they should try come visit during cooler weather.

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One of my favorite photos from the trip, it’s like he waited for the shadows and light to be perfect

Portico

12506 River Road Richmond, VA 23238
(804) 784-4800
This gem on River road is a showplace to take out-of-town guests. Tucked away in an affluent neighborhood, we felt out of place with the perfectly-coiffed crowd, after all we were grungy from a day of shopping. But hey, we’re here for the food.

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Gorgeous patio
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seared tuna appetizer
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Lamb and risotto

Umi
So I tentatively asked if the 2Ms were ready for Japanese food. Their face actually lit up. My family is not big on sushi. Nope, we prefer straight-up sashimi. Why bother with all that blob of rice?

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Sashimi platter – the escarol, salmon and yellow fin were outstanding

On a side note: We watched the documentary “Jiro dreams of Sushi”. The preparation of the rice is an integral part of sushi-making. A lot of establishments get this wrong. The rice needs to be served at room temperature and not cold.

Though I prefer sashimi, Umi’s maki is a dish not to pass up and the first thing I noticed is how their rice is at the right temperature for serving. We loved the Richmond roll.

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Umi’s richmond roll

Okay, we’re at the home stretch. We’re actually almost reaching eating-out saturation. In fact, 2Ms were just begging to eat at home and we did on several occasions but that would be a separate post.

The Roosevelt
For a taste of inventive Southern cuisine.

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perfectly-seared scallops

Amour Wine Bistro
Rounding up our dining-out experience we headed to Carytown for a cozy evening at Amour Wine Bistro. By this time the 2Ms and I were having trouble feeling hungry (after days of eating – who could blame us?), luckily the hubby was starving.
It was also “educate with taste” week, so three of us ordered the $25.12 three-course menu and my sis-in-law had the tarte flambée. 

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refreshing watermelon and tuna tartare
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Chocolate sea salt caramel creme brûlée – always a winner at Amour

I ordered the pear tarte tatin for my dessert which was absolutely delicious. It’s a perfect example of a well executed simple dessert. 

My one regret was not taking the 2Ms to Peter Chang’s. Brother was stuck in the HK airport for a few days (luckily sis-in-law was already in the U.S. visiting a relative) – maybe if they stayed a few days longer they would have started missing Chinese food. 😉

Most pictures taken by my brother on his Leica D-Lux except the clay-pot pork belly which was an iPhone pic. The leaf picture was taken with a Nikon camera.

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