News & Features » Miscellany

Try Davis & Main when you're stumped and not up to cooking.

What's for Dinner?


The Fan's Main Street corridor is home to a number of Richmond dining institutions, newcomers, and flavors of the month. From Main Street Beer Company, Southern Culture and Bacchus (formerly Mudbones, formerly Cabo's, formerly …), to the 'Boo, Avalon and Helen's, this area of town features a range of atmospheres, attitudes and niche dining for every age and wallet. Near the end of the Main line, sitting something like a seen-it-all-before father of five, is , an institution topped by an American flag, on the corner of the same name. The food that comes out of the kitchen at Davis & Main is comforting on the order of a weekend spent in loafers and corduroys. The menu is limited and focused around the kitchen's grill with a predictable lineup of meats that serve as blank canvasses washed with the savory color of the cook's palette of sauce preparations. Ordinary grilled chicken comes in a ginger-mustard butter. Pork tenderloin is gilded by a peach chutney. Tiger shrimp, catfish and beef filets round out the selections, which range from $9.50 to $17.50. For those not persuaded by meat, the perfectly grilled vegetable side dish is turned into an entrée. A rarely seen added bonus on the menu: If you have a special request, please ask. You must start, however, with the smoked trout and pork tenderloin appetizer served on a platter with smoked cheddar cheese, lingonberries, sour cream and sliced apple: a remarkable synthesis of fall flavors. But don't bother with the stuffed artichoke hearts: they sound more appealing than they turn out to be. With a bit more light in the restaurant we may have been able to read the word "fried" in the description. I ordered the New York Strip which came out perfectly medium-rare, topped with a Vidalia onion pesto and plated with grilled vegetables and the best mashed potatoes I've ever had — creamed with plenty of butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese. My wife ordered the grilled Red Snapper special, which tasted fresh, soft, and was topped with a succulent crab mousse. Though the menu touts fresh foods, and ours certainly were fresh, it's worth asking. The noodles in the pasta special, for example, aren't made there. Neither are the desserts, which are frozen. And while we're covering minor annoyances, the wine glasses are too small and confining, leaving no room for the wine to expand and make its contribution to the sensory landscape. Tables turn regularly, though, seven-days-a-week, because in the end Davis & Main isn't about haute cuisine or proper stemware but the kind of place you go to when you're hungry and just plain don't feel like

Add a comment