9 July 2014
When I planned my trip to nearby Richmond, I was studying various menus to see what would be best for my 3 dinners in this charming southern town. And after some disastrous recent experiences with poor execution, I did a bit of online research too. And after all that, the restaurant in Richmond that rose to the top of the list was The Roosevelt.
I had resisted going to places that required driving, as I really do not like to limit my consumption for the purpose of driving sober, but I made an exception for this evening. I arrived for an early booking and happily sat at the bar of this charming little wooden house just east of downtown.
The sun was still peeking into the restaurant as I enjoyed a cocktail to start, what they called “Secession Happens” — playing at the history of this former capital of the Confederacy — a nice spiced rum drink concoction with citrus that really hit the spot on a hot day. I ordered and relaxed.
Soon my first course arrived, the spicy fried pighead with toad-in-the-hole:
Very tasty morsel of pork here, spiced extremely well. The runny egg added to the overall flavour and helped to moderate the spiciness. Excellent stuff, one of the better “pig’s head” dishes I’ve had in awhile, with excellent flavour and texture inside and out. Excellent execution.
I enjoyed some local white during that course and continued into my main course, the catfish.
I usually don’t order catfish as it’s never cooked well (unless fried in a rather decadent way), but something made me choose this today. And it was a good choice. The fish was tender and juicy and plump, fantastic. It sat on a bed of bean succotash with a broth that’s sourced from peppers. An excellent mixture of flavours that complemented the very specific taste of the catfish. Once again, excellent execution.
I decided on a dessert but had to forego the after-dinner drink due to driving (despite the short distance back to downtown, where I was staying — I don’t violate those rules). It wasn’t easy, with the nice selection of bourbons and whiskeys staring at me… But I went for a very rich dessert, the “foie gras” pound cake…
What is it? It’s a pound cake, but richer — as foie gras was apparently used in its making. I couldn’t really taste it nor discern any difference from a regular pound cake though, but it was a nice dessert. The caramel gelato topping the cake was a nice touch, really balanced this out.
Sadly, I took my leave after this, knowing if I didn’t have to drive I’d be happy to spend more time here enjoying the drinks. But alas, I drove out here, so it’s time to drive back downtown. This was a fantastic meal, and it shows that even in smaller markets a fine menu and excellent execution can result in a meal that blows away some of the “hottest” restaurants in major markets (like the disastrous Bestia of Los Angeles and the rather unpleasant meal at August in New Orleans). The execution here completely blows away that of the aforementioned restaurants and many more. Kudos to the kitchen.
If you ever go down to Richmond, it’s worth it to check out The Roosevelt. It’s cute, comfortable, and excellent. Some of the best execution I’ve enjoyed in months. Will look forward to going back one day when I’m down there again.
623 North 25th Street