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Julia'sChild

Richmond Virginia

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I live in Richmond, so I think I can give some insight.

Kuba, Kuba - Cuban, casual, really good

1 N. Belmont - French - all rave reviews, disclaimer - I am going for the first time on Sat.

Edo Squid - fantastic Italian food

Dogwood Grille & Spirits - one of Richmond's best restaurants

Zeus Gallery Cafe - interesting menu

Croaker Spot - funky place serving great fried fish

Full Kee - amazing authentic Chinese

Millies - upscale but casual, excellent and inventive food

Have a great time and let us know where you ate!

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Another one from me :smile:! I have an update. We ate at 1 N. Belmont last night and were, to be honest, underwhelmed. The food was only ok to good. Not what the atmosphere and prices would lead you to expect. Also, the service was not very polished. We had dinner plates on the table for 45 minutes after everyone had finished eating. Sorry!

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How could you leave out the one and only Mamma Zu's! (although I don't know if it's closed for the summer like it sometimes is, and isn't Edo Squid the same owners or something like that?)


Edited by jeanki (log)

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How could you leave out the one and only Mamma Zu's! (although I don't know if it's closed for the summer like it sometimes is, and isn't Edo Squid the same owners or something like that?)

Mamma zu's is more than open, and yes you are totally right, it IS one of the best. Try the scungilli, the whole rockfish (sometimes they have it , sometimes they don't) and go early. The place is still packed to the gills by 7pm.

And yes, Edo's Squid is owned by the same guy, Ed Vasaio. Same menu, but different locale/decor. Equally good food, although I have not been there is quite some time.

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How could you leave out the one and only Mamma Zu's! (although I don't know if it's closed for the summer like it sometimes is, and isn't Edo Squid the same owners or something like that?)

Mamma zu's is more than open, and yes you are totally right, it IS one of the best. Try the scungilli, the whole rockfish (sometimes they have it , sometimes they don't) and go early. The place is still packed to the gills by 7pm.

And yes, Edo's Squid is owned by the same guy, Ed Vasaio. Same menu, but different locale/decor. Equally good food, although I have not been there is quite some time.

Just to warn those who aren't from Richmond, while both Mamma Zu's and Edo's Squid have terrific food the service is rather...harsh? Brusque? Let's just say, they won't win any best service awards.

I would also recommend the following:

-Pomegranate (Shockoe Slip area)

-Phil's Continental Lounge (Libby and Grove - try the vodka limeade!)

-Su Casa (Broad Street - fun little Mexican restaurant owned by a cypriot family - so you can get baklava after your enchilada!)

-Lemaire (at the Jefferson Hotel for Richmond's only 5 diamond dining - it is worthy, great wine list, peanut soup, and spoon bread!)

-Coppola's Deli (carytown)

-Cafe Lafayette (near west end - my absolute favorite Richmond restaurant, small, great food, wonderful service)

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I know the reputation of Mamma Zu's, but I haven't had a problem with service at Edo Squid - maybe a touch 'cooler than thou', but they are all infants, so I am indulgent and forgive.

Let me add Acacia Restaurant in Carytown. We ate there just the other day and the meal was excellent. I had beautiful fried green tomatoes with a shrimp tartar sauce and the loveliest white anchovy and grilled radicchio salad. I would have gone back the next night and had the exact same thing - no small props coming from no repeat me!

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mamma zu still has the same rotten service. There is a difference between attitude and bad service and they cross the line too many times: forgotten meals, entrees before appetizers, never refilling water or beverages. BUT, the food is great. Edo's does as good a job and they serve broccoli rabe while mamma zu tends to have escarole. Either way, they are garlicky and delicious.

Nobody gives the Jamaica House on Broad St. near VCU much credit. Fantastic and authentic Jamaican food, and the line out the door at lunch proves it. Also we are blessed with a number of great Vietnamese Noodle joints: I prefer the Pho So #1 on Horespen Rd behind Full Kee, but all of the restaurants in that block are good.

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mamma zu still has the same rotten service. There is a difference between attitude and bad service and they cross the line too many times: forgotten meals, entrees before appetizers, never refilling water or beverages. BUT, the food is great. Edo's does as good a job and they serve broccoli rabe while mamma zu tends to have escarole. Either way, they are garlicky and delicious.

Nobody gives the Jamaica House on Broad St. near VCU much credit. Fantastic and authentic Jamaican food, and the line out the door at lunch proves it. Also we are blessed with a number of great Vietnamese Noodle joints: I prefer the Pho So #1 on Horespen Rd behind Full Kee, but all of the restaurants in that block are good.

You're totally right, Richmond has an unusually terrific array of Vietnamese restaurants, almost all of which are bargain cheap. Nothing in Manhattan where I lived afterwards comes close to my old Vietnamese faves in Richmond (I left in 2000).

It's funny to hear the service at Mamma Zu's hasn't changed in all these years. I found it part of the unique experience, as awful as it was. It was funny in a 'screw you we know you'll eat here anyway because our food is THAT good.' and it is! best cannoli I ever had also, like butter.

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The service still stinks! I ate there recently and nothing has changed. I still prefer their version of a'llamatriciana over what you get at Edo's Squid.

But, since you are now north, the BEST cannoli you'll ever eat comes from the Little Italy Pastry Shop and Deli off of Olden Avenue in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, NJ. I have eaten them everywhere--they are GREAT. Try on dipped in dark chocolate glaze...

But back to Richmond...the dining scene is riddled with the usual suspects. Part of the problem is that where most of the people live (out in the counties) there are very few independent restaurants. We get PF Changs, Flemings, Copper Grill, etc. and the masses think it's great. Thank god for Full Kee and the Pho joints who can manage to serve authentic food and not be driven out of business.

On a happier note, Carytown seafood has opened a restaurant in the West End near Innsbrook. Chef John Maxwell is handling the kitchen and I have heard some really good things. John has the capacity to do some very creative and interesting things...let's hope Richmonders order enough dishes to keep the kitchen cranking out some challenging and tasty treats.

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Funny, snarky little off topic re: Full Kee. At the store where I work, I was talking with this guy who was being very critical and snide about Richmond restaurants (with cause, I know) and mentioned that he was a former chef who just cooked all of his own foods because he couldn't get what he had been used to in San Francisco here. I mentioned Full Kee and he just rolled his eyes and said that it might be ok for Richmond, but not for someone from the Pacific NW. Yadayadayada. This guy was buying lots of 'gourmet' items and wine. Monsieur Horsesass' marsala of choice? Paul Masson :laugh::rolleyes: .

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The service still stinks! I ate there recently and nothing has changed. I still prefer their version of a'llamatriciana over what you get at Edo's Squid.

But, since you are now north, the BEST cannoli you'll ever eat comes from the Little Italy Pastry Shop and Deli off of Olden Avenue in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, NJ. I have eaten them everywhere--they are GREAT. Try on dipped in dark chocolate glaze...

But back to Richmond...the dining scene is riddled with the usual suspects. Part of the problem is that where most of the people live (out in the counties) there are very few independent restaurants. We get PF Changs, Flemings, Copper Grill, etc. and the masses think it's great. Thank god for Full Kee and the Pho joints who can manage to serve authentic food and not be driven out of business.

On a happier note, Carytown seafood has opened a restaurant in the West End near Innsbrook. Chef John Maxwell is handling the kitchen and I have heard some really good things. John has the capacity to do some very creative and interesting things...let's hope Richmonders order enough dishes to keep the kitchen cranking out some challenging and tasty treats.

To eat at Mama Zu's, you need to have the proper state of mind which relies on not asking any questions, knowing what you are going to order ahead of time, not requesting substitutions or changes to your meal, not asking for a wine list and generally not being any sort of a bother to the staff. It's the way it has been there for years and years. Unfortunately, however, this annoys many diners considering Mama Zu's ethic isn't so customer-focused, and I don't blame them. The novelty of being treated like a red-headed stepchild has started to wear thin in my opinion.

What concerns me more these days, is that the last meal I had there (several weeks ago) was literally inedible because the dish was so oversalted (had the lamb shanks and white beans). Sadly, too, when our server plucked the untouched dish away, there was no question as to why we didn't eat any of it. We ordered broccoletti and scungilli as well, and both dishes were doused in salt. There also seemed to be a new crop of chefs working in the back that I didn't recognize so it appears that a changing of the guard has taken place. We haven't been back since, and I have been eating there for 10 years regularly. It's kind of a shame, really, since bad food AND bad service don't really add up. Hope that night was just a fluke.

As far as the new seafood joint led by Chef Maxwell, it appears that he has left the venture, and I am not sure who has taken over the reigns. Will be interesting to see some of the initial reviews when they come out in Richmond Times and Style.

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In the last 3 weeks I have eaten at both Mamma zu's and Edo's Squid. To be honest, I work at VCU and my office is literally a block from Edos. But I have always felt the food at MZ was better. Until now...I have to totally agree on the aggressive saltiness in the food. The pasta allamatricianna was a salt lick...honestly it was TERRIBLE. The broccoletti was really salty--even overwhelming the garlic. We had a piece of rockfish, which I have been eating there since they opened the place--and it was horribly overseasoned. What is going on??

I used to know a few of the cooks and they were just guys who Ed taught to make the dishes...but all of them evolved into reasonably (for THIS PLACE) thoughtful cooks. But now it's really not good.

Edo's is better, but can be salty too.

So...FELLAS, CHILL OUT ON THE SALT. Let the food work...

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In the last 3 weeks I have eaten at both Mamma zu's and Edo's Squid. To be honest, I work at VCU and my office is literally a block from Edos. But I have always felt the food at MZ was better. Until now...I have to totally agree on the aggressive saltiness in the food. The pasta allamatricianna was a salt lick...honestly it was TERRIBLE. The broccoletti was really salty--even overwhelming the garlic. We had a piece of rockfish, which I have been eating there since they opened the place--and it was horribly overseasoned. What is going on??

I used to know a few of the cooks and they were just guys who Ed taught to make the dishes...but all of them evolved into reasonably (for THIS PLACE) thoughtful cooks. But now it's really not good.

Edo's is better, but can be salty too.

So...FELLAS, CHILL OUT ON THE SALT. Let the food work...

As a chef, all one needs to do is stick a spoon in the sauce before sending out the dish to see how the balance of flavors is working/not working. There is NO way the chefs over there were tasting the food the night we went there. Total salt lick, you are right, and I am the kind of person who DUMPS salt on everything. I can't get anough of it and it was too much for me.

What a bummer. I hope they get things straight over there because, from a technical perspective, the execution of the meal was great-- just WAY too salty.

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Despite the flashing red lights and sirens posted above (ominous foreshadowing here) we ventured to Edo's last Sunday night on the high props of the people we were staying with and by God, does Edo's have rockfish down! A big generous hunk seared crisp and well seasoned on the exterior, moist delicate on the interior.

That's good because the appetizer was from hell and back. Asked server which of the squid dishes he would recommend (a cunning way to get around the salt lick danger zone). Endives and mushrooms. Sounds cool. So it comes - in an Exxon Valdiz slick of tamari sauce rendering everything other than the squid completely inedible. Squid itself is sort of rubbery. Not horrible. Bravely mediocre under the circumstances.

Waiter returns and I give him back the squid and do the "Hey, I know it's not your fault..." thing.

The bill comes at the end of the meal and the squid is still on it. "Do me a favor, could you take this off?" At $15 it's the principal of the thing not the cost. He returns to the quasi-open kitchen, can be seen consulting with chef and returns with a revised tab. "I took the squid off. The chef feels that when he has prepared a meal it is supposed to be that way. So it's on me."

What? Yes. The bastard chef made the waitstaff pay for my screwed up squid. So now we are left adding back the extra 15 into the poor guys tip. Or maybe it was his ruse to goose the tip? I don't know. But the whole experience was weird and upsetting beyond the poorly prepared appetizer.

Dining out is about good food (service and decor trailing way behind for me as long as they are not actively awful). It should not be a political drama with my credit card being used as the arbitrator. Still in shock here.

Edos is supposed to be the nice alternative to 'Zus. I can only imagine what would have become of us there. Maybe that's the secret of the squid at Edo's: it's actually fricasee of customers at Zu's who dared send bad food back. Soylent Green redux.

Proceed with caution.

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On 8/22/2006 at 8:49 PM, Kim Shook said:

I know the reputation of Mamma Zu's, but I haven't had a problem with service at Edo Squid - maybe a touch 'cooler than thou', but they are all infants, so I am indulgent and forgive.

Let me add Acacia Restaurant in Carytown. We ate there just the other day and the meal was excellent. I had beautiful fried green tomatoes with a shrimp tartar sauce and the loveliest white anchovy and grilled radicchio salad. I would have gone back the next night and had the exact same thing - no small props coming from no repeat me!

 

On 4/8/2010 at 2:13 PM, Matthew Grant said:

Any recent updates for this thread?

 

Well, since Matthew asked for an update (over 6 years ago), I figure that it's time to oblige.  Armed with Kim's recommendation - no, not the one quoted above, but a recent pm in response to my request for current favorites - my wife & I went to Acacia 2 nights ago, while passing thru Richmond, & had a great meal, start to finish.  An excellent small wine list, with well selected by the glass options, started us off at the bar area.  The room & service in this newer location makes it comfortable without being overly fussy.  Grown up but not at all formal.  I gotta admit that menu descriptions that include more than 3 or so elements always scare me, as they sometimes indicate chefs who throw a lot of "interesting" things together & think that constitutes "inventive" cuisine.  The cooking here shows that a good chef can knowledgeably combine ingredients that are interesting & wind up serving dishes that work, tasting like everything was just meant to go together.  It also proves that not everything needs multiple ingredients.  Our apps (shared) were 6 nicely fried oysters on homemade slaw & linguini with Oregon black truffles.  Both just about perfect.  Mains were lump crab cakes & Black Sea bass, both fresh with touches of kitchen skill adding flavors while keeping the natural integrity of the main ingredient.  All in all, exactly the type of place we like & at a price point that makes me want to leave NYC.  All in (w/tips), $150 for the 2 of us, including glasses of wine, sparkling water but no dessert (too full).

 

Thanks Kim... much appreciated.

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We spent a night in Richmond on the way down to Fla. from NYC and then went back to Richmond for a night while heading north this past week.  We went to L’Opossum in Jan and had an interesting meal.  I say interesting because everything was, well, interesting.  The room, the menu language, the art work and the food were all quirky (in a good way for us - not too cutesy, as this could easily be).  Just look at the website and menu and you’ll see what you’ll get all the way through.  Not all of the food was something I’d eat again, but that’s more a question of tastebuds than the kitchen’s ability & creativity.  Ginny had the Snails w/Ham Biscuit for her app. (a great recommendation from Kim Shook -- thanks again Kim) & I had the 5 Spice (very rare, very thin sliced) Venison w/Lotus Chips & a little Chinese Mustard. Both were excellent and dishes that we’d eat again and again.  Her entree of Halibut w/Wild Rice, Greens & Corn was also quite good, but my boneless pork chop was not to my liking.  Whatever they brined it with ruined the texture for me and took away the porkiness I love as well.  Oh well.  Glasses of wine for each of us and one split dessert of Tarte Tatin & we spent $165 all in.  A fair price for the quality, quantity and skill.  We’d go back.

 

This past week's meal at Edo’s Squid was just about perfect.  Made a reservation, was met by a hipster with a cool reserved no smile Williamsburg, Brooklyn attitude at the door, was seated promptly and all was good.  The waiter was friendly, helpful & very efficient.  We shared 2 apps.  The Mozz., Roasted Peppers and Anchovies were the benchmark for this dish — nothing fancy, just solid, fresh food served well.  The fried oysters were plump, juicy, tasty and fried in a perfect light crispy batter that sealed in the flavor.  Entrees of Veal Piccata for her and Spag. Carbonara for me were huge and could feed 4.  Or the 2 of us.  Both were made exactly the right way — my Carbonara was egged and al dente as it should be.  A bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Avignonesi 2013 - $40) was a good match for it all.  No chance at room for dessert.  $140 all in.  Highly recommended.  Wish it was nearer to me — well, actually, maybe not as I would gain too much weight eating here.

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So glad that you enjoyed your visits!  That biscuit at L'Opossum is amazing.  And the attitude at Edo Squid was NOT unusual.  Good thing that their food is so wonderful!  

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Posted (edited)

@Kim Shook

Coming to the Richmond area next week! I graduated from TJ way back in the early 70’s and did my freshman year at VCU. Have not been back in almost three decades! Where not to miss?


Edited by robirdstx (log)

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2 hours ago, robirdstx said:

@Kim Shook

Coming to the Richmond area next week! I graduated from TJ way back in the early 70’s and did my freshman year at VCU. Have not been back in almost three decades! Where not to miss?

 

Oh, my.  That is a BIG subject.  Give me a little bit to gather the info!  Our daughter knows more than we do these days!  I'll ask her.

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robirdstx -- Well, this is on our short list for when we pass thru this Jan (somewhat tongue in cheek, since I noticed where you're from):

https://www.zzqrva.com

 

 

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10 hours ago, Steve R. said:

robirdstx -- Well, this is on our short list for when we pass thru this Jan (somewhat tongue in cheek, since I noticed where you're from):

https://www.zzqrva.com

 

 

We haven't eaten there yet, but I've heard good things about them.  

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Ok - so my child says: "Nota Bene, SB’s Lakeside Loveshack for breakfast—which they serve all day, Whisk for dainty snacks and sweets, WPA Bakery, Proper Pie, Pik Nik, Salt & Forge for breakfast or lunch, Shaved Duck, Peter Chang’s, Metzger’s, The Jasper for cocktails, Greek on Cary, Alamo, Red Cap Patisserie for good baked goods, The Jefferson is always great for a wow factor. "

 

I'd add Garnett's, Kuba-Kuba, Heritage,  L'Opossum (one of our favorites), Perly's delicatessen, and Shagbark - we haven't been there, but it is getting great reviews. To me, the best bakery in town is Sub Rosa on Church Hill - the croissants are as good as the ones we ate in Paris.

 

Be thinking about where you want to have lunch, @robirdstx!!!!!

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11 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

Ok - so my child says: "Nota Bene, SB’s Lakeside Loveshack for breakfast—which they serve all day, Whisk for dainty snacks and sweets, WPA Bakery, Proper Pie, Pik Nik, Salt & Forge for breakfast or lunch, Shaved Duck, Peter Chang’s, Metzger’s, The Jasper for cocktails, Greek on Cary, Alamo, Red Cap Patisserie for good baked goods, The Jefferson is always great for a wow factor. "

 

I'd add Garnett's, Kuba-Kuba, Heritage,  L'Opossum (one of our favorites), Perly's delicatessen, and Shagbark - we haven't been there, but it is getting great reviews. To me, the best bakery in town is Sub Rosa on Church Hill - the croissants are as good as the ones we ate in Paris.

 

Be thinking about where you want to have lunch, @robirdstx!!!!!

 

Thinking Can Can Brasserie!

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