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May 28, 2009 05:26 AM

RICHMOND, VA. -- near the coliseum this weekend?

what inexpensive-to-moderate places can you suggest near the coliseum downtown for:
southern/soul food
fried fish shack (NOT catfish or tilapia)

lunch and dinner on this friday and saturday nights (may 29 &30).

how about a place with good atmosphere for drinks before-hand, or a relaxing drink after dinner?

early breakfast (before 8) saturday morning? grits, eggs, biscuits, ham, bacon kind of place?
sunday morning brunch?


ps, how is the hard shell recently? i had a wonderful cioppino once there a while back (prior to the storm that destroyed shockoe bottom).

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  1. I'm not as enamored with Hard Shell as many. Comfort on Broad is the first place that came to mind. 27 has been getting some good press and is a good place for a drink but I have never been there for a meal. Croakers Spot is good for soul food. Lulu's is good also and Havana 59 is great for cocktails. And of course you can't go wrong with Millie's. I'm drawing a blank on breakfast that early with that feel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      comfort looks good -- upscale home-style cooking?

      croakers looks great -- except it seems everything has green peppers and onions and their special sauce!

      lu-lu's -- i like the starters menu, especially the fried green tomatoes, and the fritters! the rest of the menu seems a little "eclectic" shall we say. i got a kick out of the indian dish on each of the lunch and dinner entree menus.

      millie's looks good too. again, an indian dish or two!
      maybe that indian in the kitchen at lu-lu's has a brother over at millie's. ;-).

      thanks for the tips, janet!

      1. re: alkapal

        Millie's and Lulu's have common ownership/management :-) Millie's is very Richmond and is a local institution.

        Edo's Squid (no website) has very good seafood also. Selection varies but their whole Branzino is to die for. Great pastas also. And reasonably priced...there is another current thread on Edo's you may want to check out.

        1. re: alkapal

          i also like comfort and lulus. friday nights are local beer and wine and market nights at the 17th street market right between lulus and havana 59. haven't been yet but sounds fun.

          the black sheep does brunch as does millies.

          village cafe might do early breakfast. right across from edo's. never been. can't find hours on their website.

      2. we only got to eat saturday afternoon in richmond. because several of the close-by recs were not open till 6, we went to the resto that i'd had a good dinner in back in 2001 (WOW!), the hard shell. on the whole it was quite good, with one so-so exception. i'll do a separate "report" on this board, because it might be useful to hounds -- and useful for the resto to read, as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          i just realized that I never posted the separate post from my pages app. So here goes:

          The Hard Shell -- My Report

          Late afternoon lunch at The Hard Shell, May 30, 2009

          To start, we had the pan-seared scallops with fried sage in brown butter sauce, served with a slice of creamy goat cheese on top. It was the "wow" dish -- along with the halibut. The President brand "creamy and mild" fresh goat cheese was remarkably delicious. (You can buy it at Shoppers Food Warehouse, btw).

          The flash fried calamari rings with a sweet chili lime (asian) dipping sauce and microgreens garnish dish was fresh, but unremarkable -- and a small portion. The calamari were soft, and the coating was not crunchy -- it was soft. They were sort of "floppy." Their dipping sauce didn't have any "heat," either, despite having "chili" in the name. I'd have preferred an aioli as the dipping sauce. (Wonder if I could substitute the remoulade?).

          Mr. Alka got the pan-seared halibut with wild mushroom risotto and leek cream sauce, with fire-grilled asparagus. This dish was sublime. The smoky grilled asparagus was crisp-tender (perfect), and the halibut was very lightly dusted (with wondra, maybe) and pan-seared (then baked) to perfection. The leek cream sauce was delicious -- rich and redolent of leek. The halibut was a very nice size portion -- probably a good 8 ounces, at least.

          I had cravings for the cioppino of my memory, so ordered the seafood pasta, with 1/2 (scrawny) lobster tail, clams, mussels, shrimp (4 dinky ones), scallops in tomato basil sauce. It was not good at all. The pasta was mundane spaghetti (!) and was quite overdone. There was no sign of basil. There was no garnish. I told the server about the pasta, but there was no response from the kitchen -- nor a visit from the manager. It was skimpy, too, on the seafood ( for $26!). This dish is billed as a "house specialty." Well, heads up, folks -- it ain't special at all.

          During lunch, we enjoyed a couple of "local"-ish beers:
Legend Lager -- light, a little weissbeir-like in feel (though don't know why, from the ingredients), tasty! from a Richmond brewery.

          Also, we liked the Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale -- typical IPA style, and my first taste of the dog. I will try others from this Maryland brewery when i see them, based on this good first impression.
          (btw, there is an nice Ale Sampler from the Flying Dog brewery at Harris Teeter).

          So, bottom line, we were thrilled with some dishes (the superb scallops and the halibut), and at the same time very disappointed with the glaring failed seafood pasta dish (and failure to address the issue by anyone -- either management or chef). Someone knows what they are doing in the kitchen -- just not everyone!

          Our server was good -- except in the "what to do about the crummy pasta dish" department.

          1. re: alkapal

            it's been a while since i ate at the hard shell but the "hit or miss" description was my memory as well. is a nice spot though. thanks for posting!

        2. Not far from the Coliseum, on the Boulevard, is a great BBQ place, Buzz and Neds. Perennial at the top of Richmond BBQ. Also, Stronghill Dining Co. I doubt you will find another place like Croaker's Spot. It's very original with huge portions, but my wife thinks it's too greasy. Comfort has a great brunch, as does Millies. Also, Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel has lost the stuffiness and would be a cool place to grab a drink and a good bar bite.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nyctripper

            I believe Comfort no longer serves brunch. Not a fan of Stronghill and am boycotting Buz & Ned's for a number of reasons, most to do with Buz and his staff. The new Lemaire is great.

          2. Black Sheep has awesome-looking brunch options, specifically the cheddar grits. Also, Kuba Kuba for California Huevos (possibly my favorite brunch dish ever!). Karen's Diner is another pretty good spot for early breakfast. It's cash only.

            I like Popkin in the area for drinks before or after dinner, along with The Republic. If you go on a weekday wines by the glass are $2 off from 5-7. There's a smoking and nonsmoking side as well. For live music later in the night, try Emilio's. It's kind of a laidback New Orleans vibe with live jazz. Gibson's Grill is also a good spot for drinks. Head to the bar downstairs.

            1 Reply
            1. re: princsoreo

              Black Sheep is great! The only issue is if you are under a time crunch the place is small.

            2. janet and others, are there any significant updates to this list that you all have been so kind to provide? thanks. i will be in your fair city this weekend! (staying at the downtown marriott).

              lunch AND dinner recs, please.

              fried fish -- like snapper or rockfish (not tilapia nor catfish)
              early breakfast, southern style
              sunday morning brunch

              THANKS ALL!

              ps, what's happening food-wise near the virginia museum of fine arts?

              2 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                Stronghill has closed.

                The good people from Millie's and Lulu's have a new Mexican place, Tio Pablo. I have not been there (it's around the corner from Lulu's) Here is their FB page.

                They have been open only for lunch, but I think are starting dinner service this week (no brunch).

                I also would add (for non fried seafood & Sunday Brunch) Arcadia.