The Gleeful Gourmand: New Richmond Restaurant - Pasture

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Richmond Restaurant - Pasture

Saturday night Buck and I finally had a chance to go out on a date night! We had a party to attend later in the evening, so we headed downtown to try a new-to-us restaurant. Which was not Pasture. We struck out two times before determining that we should have made a reservation (even though we were eating at a time when most Senior Citizens eat). Then Buck remembered that a new restaurant had just been opened by the Chef of Comfort, one of our favorite restaurants. We ended up calling 411 to find out where it was, and as it so happened, they were pretty empty when we showed up (just before 7pm).

We were seated immediately and given menus, and then left alone for a long period of time while our waiter worked most of the restaurant on our side. Since he was gone for so long, in a mostly empty restaurant, we had a lot of time to take in the ambience, which was...interesting. The upper half of the ceiling was painted in pretty much the same color as the above cow, and behind the bar was done in some wood paneling with rustic lights hanging off the wall, which gave it a trendy barn type of feel. The kitchen was at the back with a big window cut out so you could see most of the action, which was kind of cool. I couldn't decide if I liked the décor or not though, so I'll leave it there, and let you decide for yourself.

It was unclear to us from the menus what this place was about - all we had to go on from an article Buck had read was that it was farm-to-table, and mostly local, fresh food. The menus gave absolutely no indication of how things worked - it was simply labeled, "Appetizers," "Cold," Hot," and "Desserts." But we could tell that some of the things on the "Hot" menu weren't exactly enough for a whole meal. Another problem I had with the menus was that they were paper, and you could tell that they had been used (quite a bit) because of the food stains on them. Gross. At the very least they could have laminated them. Eventually our waiter came back and took our drink orders, and said to us, "So I'm sure you gathered that we mostly do small plates here." Um, no, we told him. We didn't gather that at all. "Oh, well, you're not the only ones! I've had to explain it to every table so that's why it's taken me forever to get here." Since they've only been open for two weeks we understood and let it slide, but all it would take to move things along is a few lines of copy at the top of the (newly laminated) menu that explained it.

Anyway, we put in our order - sharing the pimento cheese and Ritz crackers appetizer, and each getting a salad and an item off the Hot menu. Our order came out really fast, which we liked a lot, and the pimento cheese was really excellent. I had the beet salad, which was fresh and tender with a wonderful dressing that had just the slightest hint of horseradish in it - enough for a kick, but far from overpowering. Next I moved on to the Carolina Gold Rice with Mushroom Gravy while Buck opted for their Cheeseburger with Fries. The rice was in a small dish, but it was a perfect size, and I loved it. Though it was called "gravy" it didn't taste like it. Instead, the mushrooms tasted like they'd been simply sautéed, letting all the natural wonderful flavors of the mushrooms do their work. It was perfectly seasoned, and for this mushroom lover, it really couldn't get any better. Buck's burger and fries were also top-notch, the fries cooked in duck fat, which made them really outstanding.

We couldn't stick around for dessert because of the party we had to get to, but I'm interested to go back and try some of them. By the time we asked for the check, the place was rockin' - absolutely slammed. They haven't worked out all the kinks yet, so they could have turned our table over much, much faster to accommodate, but they didn't so we were stuck facing the bar while all the bar patrons could have touched our table and mostly spent their time staring at us as though willing us to leave (we wanted to, believe me!).

In short, we loved it. We've raved about it to everyone who will listen, and we can't wait to go back, but maybe in a month or so when they've worked out the opening week kinks. Pasture is located at 416 E. Grace St. in Richmond. It's an odd location, and a little difficult to find, but right behind it on Broad Street is a very large parking lot with many spaces reserved just for Pasture dining. Their website isn't up and running yet, but the number is listed there if you care to make a reservation: www.pastureva.com

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