About lychee: Native to China, India and many parts of Southeast Asia, the lychee can look more like a Muppet than a fruit. Bright red and hairy on the outside and fleshy and white on the inside, the lychee is small, moist and sweet. The vitamin C-packed fruit grows on trees where summers are long and humid; canned versions are found at Asian specialty grocers.
Find it, drink it: Two good local versions of the lychee martini are those at Made in Asia in Chesterfield (7302 Hancock Village Drive) or Lehja at Short Pump Town Center, shown here.
Or make your own:
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
3 1/2 ounces gin or vodka
2 ounces lychee syrup (from canned fruit)
1 or 2 whole lychees for garnish (rinsed and drained)
2 ounces crushed ice
Splash of lime juice (optional)
Splash of champagne (optional)
1. Pour can of lychee fruit into strainer. Reserve two whole lychees plus 2 ounces of lychee syrup.
2. In shaker add crushed ice, vermouth, vodka, lychee syrup and lime juice (if using). Shake well.
3. Pour mixture into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with one or two whole lychees. Add splash of champagne if desired. Enjoy.
— Elizabeth Jewett
Stella’s: Greek cuisine in casual neighborhood newcomer, family tables, bar, longtime Richmond chef and owners. Beer and wine. Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sunday 5 - 10 p.m., brunch hours coming in September. 1012 Lafayette St. 358-2011. stellasrichmond.com.
The Blue Goat: Relaxed, Euro-inspired dining, charcuterie, pate, seafood, nose-to-tail cooking; cocktails, patio in new Westhampton landmark. Dinner and bar Monday-Saturday. 5710 Grove Ave. 288-8875. bluegoatva.com.
Ejay Rin Noodle Bar: Pork buns, rice bowls, soups and small plates; wine and beer, patio, chef-owned contemporary Asian cafe. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 201 W. Seventh St., Corrugated Box Building. 745-6488. ejayrin.com.
M Bistro and Wine Bar: French-meets-Southern cuisine from chef Michael Hall; breakfast to dinner specialties; wines and gourmet items, house-baked breads and pastries, coffee. Summer hours: Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 652-2300. mbistro-rocketts.com.
Selba: Health-aware casual dining with garden room, separate smoking lounge, piano, full bar. Seasonal, local foods and wines. Dinner and bar Tuesday-Sunday, weekend brunch. Closed Monday. 2416 W. Cary St. 358-2229. selbarichmond.com.
Benny’s BBQ: Ribs, brisket, burgers, salads, onion rings, platters and Southern sides. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Full bar, friendly service. 3044 Stony Point Road. 320-7447. bennysbbqonline.com.
Citizen: Chef-prepared weekday breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soups, salads, house-made sauces and dressings, meat and veg options. Small lower-level space in the Mutual Building. 909 E. Main St. 804-780-9038.
Upcoming: Kenn-Tico Cuban Bar and Grill is expanding its downtown space while neighboring businesses (Cedars, Louisiana Flair) are ending their runs. Lunch, dinner and bar Monday through Saturday. 204 E. Grace St. 225-9216. kennticocubanbargrill.com.
Closed: Jimmy’s in west Henrico.