Special/Signature Issues » 2012 State of the Plate

Bring It On (or Take It Back)

What we still hope for in Richmond restaurants.


Karen Newton

Size matters. Something in-between overpriced small plates and mondo portions. I don't want to leave hungry and I don't want to leave with a box of leftovers.

Bar seat reservations. A customer who chooses to eat dinner at the bar should be as able to reserve that spot as at a table.

Virginia wine on more lists. If you're going to tout local sourcing, why stop at the glass?

Ellie Basch

No gargantuan portions of mediocre food. Instead of a mountain of dry chips in my nachos, how about more olives, salsa and cheeses distributed well?

Easier procedures to get city permits. Food carts, trucks and pop-up restaurants will flourish if local government supports them. Food safety inspections obviously are necessary, but complicated special-use permits often suffocate small businesses.

Matthew Freeman

Fewer monster-stuffed, over-sauced sushi roll inventions. Sushi is ultimately about pure, fresh rice, vinegar and raw fish. Mayonnaise, siracha and deep-frying need to be left for other dishes.

Less TV. Less TV. Less TV. My favorite worst-television moment was when some graphic medical procedure came on during the meal and went unnoticed by the staff.

More differentiation in Central and South American cuisine. Too many places try to cover a continent and a half on their menus. Few can do all of them well.

Tess Bosher

I love the renewed interest in traditional Southern food ways, especially when embraced in fresh and creative ways. But please, no more deviled eggs.

Authentic Spanish tapas and more eclectic international flavors in general.

Even more vegan. Hats off to those offering nice vegan choices along with traditional meaty, cheesy mainstays, especially Xtra's, Stella's, Fresca on Addison, Avalon and a host of Indian and Asian restaurants. Keep it coming.

I get excited when I see an unusual vegetable on a menu, such as the sea beans at Bistro Bobette, and would love to see more obscure and unsung ingredients on local menus.

Robey Martin

A 24-hour coffee shop. I think we can support it.

A set course menu. Chef, tell me what to eat. Four courses into the unknown sounds perfect. Price it to appeal to the adventurous.

More Cambodian. Specialized Thai. And there's more to Vietnamese than pho.

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