Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bouchon Restaurant Richmond, VA - Review

Bouchon - the word is French for "cork" but it also traditionally refers to a type of restaurant found specifically in Lyon, France.  Bouchon of Richmond is located in Shackoe Bottom off East Cary Street, this bistro is a great spot.  The interior has an old town feel with original brick walls, large overhead lighting that looks like oversized lamp shades, tasteful modern art, and dark hardwood floors.  It's white tablecloth dining with an easy feeling.  The wait staff is on point, the menu is interesting, the portions surprisingly large, the wine list solid, and the food definitely above average.  It has an easy, relaxing feel which is appropriate for the French food culture.  The staff is down to earth and reassuring.  They want you to know it's totally OK to take your time making selections and proceeding through courses.  The food comes out piping hot and right on the heals of your previous course.

Right out of the gate, each person recieves a hot section of fresh baked french bread with unsalted butter shavings with all the signs of deliciousness.  Crunchy golden crust outside, moist inside with large and small air pockets, and incredible flavor.  Seriously the bread is some of the best I've had.  It is almost impossible to stop eating and they keep bringing it.  I love the fact that they aren't stingy with the stuff but the down side is you fill up on it.  For an appetizer, we had the mini comte cheese ravioli with trouffle cream sauce.  It's served in a mini cast iron pan and basically amounts to a high-end version of mac and cheese.  This was amazing - perhaps the highlight of the meal for me, in fact.  For the salad course, we had the baby arugala and the shaved fennel.  Both great salads, but the arugala was the better of the two.  For the main course, we both went with fish to pair up with the Sav Blanc.  A classic: sauteed Trout with almond caper butter and haricots vert, as well as something a bit less common: roasted monk fish, wheat berry, and lemon herb sauce.  Both dishes were executed well but didn't really blow our hair back.  In retrospect, I would have ordered something else like the duck breast.  For dessert, we had to try the "best in Richmond" creme brulee and a shot of the blueberry sorbet, which was topped with a little dabble of creme fraiche.  These were both excellent choices.  Hard to say if the brulee was "the best" because I haven't eaten at enough restaurants in Richmond to make such a pronouncement.  I will say it ranked about 8 out of 10 compared to others I've eaten, which is a good score.

Overall, we had a wonderful meal with exceptional service and we will be going back to Bouchon again soon.  So far, I'd say it's on my top three list of best places to eat in Richmond.

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