Monthly Archives: July 2011

Rise of the Richmond Gastropub

It is no secret that I love trying new things whether that be food or beer.  I was ecstatic when I discovered I could have everything my foodie heart desired in one sitting.  And to think, I almost went with sushi the night I tried my first gastropub,

I know what you are asking. What is a gastropub? Wikipedia defines a gastropub as “a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food.” I know that is a very simplistic definition that is open to interpretation.  So far I have had the opportunity to eat at three gastropubs, The Oxford in Raleigh, NC, Victoria Gastropub in Columbia, MD, and Mad Fox Brewing in Falls Church, VA.  Of course, they all had craft beer and great food but there was something unique about each one that stuck in my memory.  The thing I remember most about The Oxford, other than it being my first gastropub, was the British themed decor. That and the braised lamb shank I had was just amazing.  I will always remember Victoria’s for their duck fat fries; once you have had them you will never want to go back to regular fries.  So far, Mad Fox has been the best I have ever had.  Not only do they brew outstanding beer but all of their food is made from scratch or locally sourced.  On a trip up to DC earlier this month, Mad Fox was my first stop; I was so impressed with the beer and the food I had to make it the final stop on our way home as well.  Imagine a place that makes their own banana bread just to make french toast.

So, what does this have to do with Richmond?  Two new restaurants,The Roosevelt and The Blue Goat, in town may just be ready to take up the mantle of gastropub.

The Blue Goat has dubbed itself as an urban gastropub.  I have not had the chance to check it out myself but their drink list has some familiar craft brews listed though some styles may be under represented.  While their bottle selection lists names that would be new to me and would be intrigued to try, I would rather these be on tap so that I can have a sample before committing to a pint.  As far as their menu, appetizers that list pig ears and pork dust as their components have me intrigued.

The Roosevelt just opened it’s doors this past weekend to a flurry positive reviews. All this without them having secured their ABC license.  I am hearing that they will be a haven to craft beer lovers.  I am not sure I will be able to wait until they are able to serve beer. Why? Two words – bacon jam! It’s funny that I just recently heard the term on an episode of Eat Street on the Cooking Channel.  Skillet Street Food, out of Seattle, was featured as putting bacon jam on burgers. Needless to say, I could not just hop on a plane to Seattle just for street food though the thought was tempting.  Luckily, The Roosevelt decided to save me the airfare and put some bacon jam on their double cheeseburger.

So what say you RVA? Do you think these two deserve to be considered Richmond’s first gastropubs?  Are there other places in town that you think fit the bill?

RVA Misses Out on Very Yummy Beer Tasting

Maybe it was the heat, but the turnout for the beer tasting at The Empress this past Tuesday was less than desired.  Though the Facebook event had a good number of people listed as attending, the turnout was not there.  That was fine with me as the lack of turn out resulted in us having Taylor Chenery of Specialty Beverage all to ourselves as we tasted our way through the beers with the different pairings.  It is not often that I get a chance to sit down one-on-one with a distributor to see what they are jazzed about.  I will say right off that my favorite dishes of the night were the bison burger and the duck cracklins; so much so that I think they should be added to the menu as one dish.  It was amazing how Melissa and Carly pulled this off on the same day they reopened after a two week vacation. Chef Carly put her stamp on snack food with the combination of art and taste that The Empress has become known for. For your drooling pleasure, Richmond here are drool worthy pictures of the food and beer that you missed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Empress Throws Yummy Beer Tasting

Fresh from their vacation in Spain and Italy, The Empress reopens today after two weeks and is having a beer tasting starting at 7pm.

Here are the 5 beers that they will be featuring:

Schneider Aventinus Wheat Dopplebock
Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison
Nectar India Pale Ale
Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale
Crispin’ Velvet with Crispin’ Cider and O’Haras Irish Stout

Each beer will be paired with most inventive snack foods Chef Carly can envision and let’s face it she can invent some crazy good stuff.  The last drink selection has me intrigued.  At first, I thought it was a mistake, but this is a drink called a Snakebite. At least that’s what I was told it was called a few months ago; it was explained as a Black & Tan made with cider instead of a pale ale.  The Wikipedia entry for Black & Tan gave me the correct name of the drink as a Black Velvet.  While I thought the drink was good, I was not sure I wanted to try it again. Though if Chef Carly is cooking something to go with it, count me in as a willing guinea pig.

Head over to the event page and get yourself on the list here. Cost for the tasting is $20.

Remember 7pm at The Empress. If you’re lucky, Chef Carly will pull inspiration from her time in Barcelona and Italy.

The Empress
2043 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 592-4000