Brio Tuscan Grille has been a staple at Stony Point Fashion Park since the mall opened in 2003, featuring Italian Food that pleases every palate. This month, Executive Chef Jay Blatt and his team are highlighting new “Flavorful Features” on their menu to kick off 2017. Brio, located at 9210 Stony Point Parkway is open for lunch and dinner, with happy hour prices and specials from 3:30-6:30PM Monday-Friday is a pleasant place for all, with a back room to reserve for large groups including corporate events, rehearsal dinners or other special occasions and the noise level really was quite minimal throughout the space.
We sampled a few selections off their Flavorful Features menu the other evening and oh my goodness were they good! We started our meal with their Burrata & Prosciutto Bruschetta seasoned with red peppers, mayonnaise, sea salt, black pepper and EVOO. The medley of creamy burrata, salty prosciutto and red pepper atop a crunchy toasted baguette made for one of the tastiest bruschetta’s I’ve ever tasted! The contrast of flavors and textures paired perfectly together. I would recommend Brio adding this to their appetizer menu year round—I’m a fan.
For our dinner selection, we tasted the Scallop Risotto with roasted eggplant, red peppers, zucchini, tomato compote, red onion, basil and Reggiano. This dish is perfect for those cold winter nights where you want something to warm you to the bone. The delicious risotto and hearty vegetables really make this dish feel very filling but not super heavy. The Scallops were seared perfectly, nestled in a bed of the delicious risotto; it was hard for us to leave any of this behind!
To round out the experience we finished up our dinner with their Butterscotch Budino with Marcona almonds, caramel and vanilla whipped cream. Priced at only $3.95, I may have to swing by and get one of these to-go sometime this week. Budino’s have become my favorite kind of dessert recently—Budinos are like pudding, mousse, and crème brulee got together and created the best dessert ever. This dessert is a must try!
While the latest addition to the Short Pump food scene seemed to be yet another chain, after visiting their soft opening over the weekend, the 13 year old company hailing from D.C. did not disappoint!
Matchbox features delicious dishes like their infamous stone and wood fired pizzas, some of the best sliders in town, a pasta selection and seafood dishes. Matchbox's Mark Neal said that he was excited about bringing a chain to Short Pump that didn't bring "the same chain feel" as others in the area. The restaurant is a welcomed new neighbor to the area that boasts long standing establishments with little variety. Matchbox brings a change of pace from the typical family dining experience. Need a new place to go for lunch, drinks with friends or dinner with the whole family? Don't wait to check out them out, they open on Thursday and will definitely be a hit!
Matchbox in Short Pump provides an inviting atmosphere to be enjoyed by all. Their industrial architecture is signature of the chain--the space would be perfect for a special event; the outdoor patio is huge for entertaining or enjoying happy hour after work. The windows of the restaurant open like garage doors for easy access for the bartenders during peak service hours. The upstairs features additional seating for large groups and would be perfect for a dinner party. Noise level was comparable to other restaurants but all of the staff were phenomenal as was the food! Sampled items included the Crab Avocado Tower, Sliders, Italian Sausage Rigatoni, Braised Short Ribs, Cheddar Baked Biscuits with Honey (OMG), several kinds of pizza, 'Ginormous Meatball,' Tuna Tartare, and their Cheesecake and Brownies for dessert. From the bar, their sangria was sampled and has a unique taste, so if OJ isn't your favorite I'd opt for their house pinot grigio which was delicious!
Executive Chef and owner, Walter Bundy’s long-time dream of opening his own restaurant finally came to fruition today when ShagbarkRVA- featuring "Virginia Fare" - surprised the public and opened one day early in Libbie Mill.
Bundy and some familiar faces from around town, round out a culinary dream team: GM & Wine Director Rodney Rosser, Chef de Cuisine Aaron Cross, Sous Chef Brandon MacConnell and Assistant GM & Beverage Director Derek Salerno. Most hail formerly from Lemaire, while others bring influences from Peter Chang’s and Comfort, all evident in the impeccable service, design and menu featured at ShagbarkRVA.
ShagBarkRVA got its name from the type of wood prevalent throughout the many accents in the restaurant and Bundy’s Shagbark tree growing in his own backyard. Upon entering, one will notice the upscale features of the space; they pair nicely with the wood from the ShagBark tree. The high ceilings, the large glass windows, the bright natural lighting and the beautiful light fixtures all play up the class of the establishment. The wood and metallic accents enhance the restaurants desire to remain “upscale but approachable,” evidenced by the servers wearing crisp white button downs while still rocking jeans.
Along the main entrance of the restaurant, guests will find a social table, which is “first-come, first-serve”—the perfect place to meet friends for appetizers and drinks. The rest of the restaurant is a mix of tables for two and tables for four, just the right setting for a night out with that special someone.
Their bar is set back from the dining area, separated by some Shag Bark dividers, hopefully to quell the noise from the bar, although one could imagine the bar area being an enjoyable place to relax with close friends or family, especially in the dimly lit space.
In the future, Shagbark will feature a rolling oyster bar and appetizer menu on their patio area along with a full brunch menu.
The menu features "Virginia-Fare" from local farmers—if you’re lucky a farmer may be dining right next to you enjoying their own ‘fare.’ The menu features southern seasonal Richmond classics such as Squash Blossoms, Chicken Fried Chesapeake Bay Oysters, Brandy Peppercorn Crusted Ahi Tuna Carpaccio, Slow Grilled Quail, Carolina Grouper, Day Boat Scallops, Seared Wild Alaskan King Salmon, Berkabaw Pork Chop, Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding, Old Virginia Buttermilk Pound cake, Bourbon Custard (plus more!) and a selection of signature cocktails that are to die for!
The service was impeccable and all of the food was unique, delicious and not too heavy. Definitely some of the best food we have eaten in a long time! Looking for a new spot to try for a special occasion? Call and make a reservation today!
Wong Gonzalez is the latest culinary adventure by the folks who brought you The Blue Goat, Boulevard Burger Brew, Fat Dragon, Foo Dog, Osaka and Wild Ginger. It’s a “rousing and exciting blend of Asian and Latin cuisines. The best of both worlds—not just Chinese…not just Mexican, [they] call it affectionately and playfully Mexinese,” according to their website. At a recent soft opening, owner and manager Chris Tsui gave some insight into his latest venture at a newly renovated space downtown on Grace Street. He touts Wong Gonzalez’s menu items as “affordable and accessible” to everyone, with nothing over $15.00.
Upon entering the restaurant, you will notice the artwork on the right wall and the industrial interior design. With both wooden and metallic accents, it definitely has a city vibe reminiscent of some of the hot spots I’ve visited in cities like Chicago or Nashville. This restaurant is sandwiched right between Pasture and The Rappahannock, which makes it an excellent destination for a night out on the town. At times the acoustics of the restaurant made things rather noisy with a crowd, but that only adds to the restaurant’s upbeat and energetic vibe.
The food that we sampled was all delicious. I can be honest when I say that I didn’t quite know what to expect from a “Mexinese” restaurant. We sampled the Wong’s Guac, Tequila Shrimp, Fiesta Bites, Chashu Pork Nachos and Spicy Chorizo Fried Rice. All five were unique, tasty and I would order all again in a heartbeat. Every time I went to get a plate of the Tequila Shrimp or Fiesta Bites, I can’t say I was too excited about sharing with my table. I’d prefer to have enjoyed them all to myself. Not much of their food was that spicy, so it’s friendly for all palates, plus most menu items can be made with tofu for all the vegetarians out there!
Peter Chang opened his second location in the greater Richmond area today, Peter Chang Richmond Downtown (the original local location is in Short Pump at 11424 West Broad Street.) I was lucky enough to attend the soft opening for his Scott’s Addition location in the historic Hofheimer Building (2816 W Broad Street,) last night. Like his West End and Northern Virginia Locations, Peter Chang’s newest spot serves up his typical Szechuan cuisine to loyal followers or “Changians.”
While the outside façade of the restaurant may not look like much-- I assure you that once inside, it's quite stunning. Upon entering, executive chef, owner and the company’s namesake, Peter Chang’s accolades are on display, if you need to be reminded should you proceed. The 3,000 sq. ft. space, designed by Vera Xu, combines the industrial design and taste of Scott’s Addition, with the traditional Chinese culture and flare of Chef Chang. The entire length of the wall in the dining room features a beautiful red and gold mural. The mural reminds diners the space isn’t simply a place to drink or eat, it is a place to enjoy a cultural experience unlike other dining locations in the city. Paper lanterns hang from the ceiling and even the artwork in the bathroom ties into the décor of the restaurant. The industrial skeleton of the restaurant allows Chang to blend into the neighborhood, and Xu’s use of red and gold bring out the Chinese influences to enhance the entire experience from the moment you walk in.
Much of the menu features items for snacking or what Chang calls, ‘Dim Sum,’ and appetizers, of which I got to try several.
Peter Chang’s Richmond Downtown also features a full bar with a small selection of craft beers on draft, a larger selection of craft and Chinese bottled & canned beers, wine list and a specialty mixed drink menu too. We opted for the Funky Lychee Cooler, Wuhan Mule, and Ancient Mariner from the mixed drink menu to pair with our food. All three were delicious and innovative and although they cost between $8.00 and $10.00 we felt it was worth it.
Overall, I am very excited to have this restaurant join Richmond City proper. I can see this restaurant being an excellent place to go to for happy hour, for a night out with friends or for a drink after work. For people who are adventurous eaters, I would definitely put Chang’s restaurant on the top of your list of eateries to try this summer. The perfect place to begin your night on the town. Order some appetizers, drinks, and split a main dish, and voila! The perfect night out.
I'd also recommend this for a good first-date place; lots of good conversation starters. While it got pretty noisey during the meal, if you seat yourself in a corner, away from the kitchen, you could make it work--the food is definitely worth it! Too noisy? Order it to-go!
Chang’s restaurant is a wonderful addition to Scott’s Addition and I cannot wait to go back with friends. Are you eating at Peter Chang Richmond Downtown this week? Tag @CuisineByKB in your photos and let me know your thoughts on the experience!