Short Order

Bowl in hand at the new Ejay Rin.


Pork ramen at Manchester’s new Ejay Rin blends pulled pork, pork belly, poached egg, fishball nori, scallion, pickled vegetables and pork broth; lunch portion is $8; dinner is $12. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Pork ramen at Manchester’s new Ejay Rin blends pulled pork, pork belly, poached egg, fishball nori, scallion, pickled vegetables and pork broth; lunch portion is $8; dinner is $12.

During lunch service last week, Bill Foster couldn’t seem to stay in the kitchen — he was out front at his new project, Ejay Rin, seeing who the customers were, what they thought and what they were ordering. It was a mixed bag in the Manchester noodle bar, a red and black retooling of the former Savor Café and a pet concept for chefs Foster and co-owner Andy Howell. Their clientele shifted from office workers to neighbors, students, a well-jeweled woman, romancers and food bloggers on a weekday shortly after they opened; nights were just starting to get busy with a hipster and artist crowd.

Ejay Rin’s menu is small and serviceable, with a longer wine and beer list and a flexible arrangement of wood bar, tables and patio. The walls shine with giant crustacean sculptures made from recycled food containers; the room’s bones suit the straightforwardness of the menu. Plum vinegar drink at $2.50 can wash down steamed buns (pulled pork and kimchi; mushroom and apple; Korean fried chicken with slaw and sausage; pork belly with pickled cucumber and radish), all $8. Warm brothy ramen bowls hold pork, mushrooms, poached eggs or pickled shrimp; rice bowls with pork belly or vegetables are $10.

It’s a comfort-food formula that Foster hopes to stimulate with an increasingly fizzy flavor profile as guests want to get spicier — a new walk-in unit will allow him to age ingredients for more complex tastes. Then, because this is Richmond, the chefs counter with a deconstructed Snickers bar for dessert, or the lifted-from-Chang-playbook panna cotta and rice pudding. Foster cooks days; Howell nights. The latter’s disinterest in sake keeps those options limited to two; better the blond Belgian Bockor Omer beer ($7.50) or a glass of sparkling wine ($6-$9) to pair with the tuna sashimi ($9) or shellfish on seaweed salad.

Lunch, dinner and bar Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 201 W. Seventh St. in the Corrugated Box Building. 745-6488.

Dixie Again After a nine-month absence or thereabouts, the Dixie Restaurant is up and running, “a lunch counter where a construction worker sits next to a judge,” says co-owner Frannie Rawlings, a 20-year Petersburg resident who reopened the landmark diner there with her husband, Charlie. “We’ve been overwhelmed and overjoyed with the response we’ve gotten,” she says. “It’s like a homecoming for a lot of people.” Longtimers will know the names of the kitchen and service teams, and the food’s familiar — “a hot breakfast or a ham sandwich, nothing fancy,” Frannie says. The big seller is a $1.65 Dixie dog with chili sauce created there in the ’40s. Meatloaf or chicken and dumplings specials, scratch-made pimento cheese, coleslaw, potato and chicken salads — all are traditional Southern recipes served in a refurbished, 65-seat, circa-1939 space. The patio holds 16 and is the one thing that lasted from the cafe’s most recent incarnation as a karaoke bar. Now it’s closer in intent to the original, and the last old-time link in that city’s diverse food scene. Open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 250 N. Sycamore St. 732-7425.

Now Serving:

Stella’s: Greek cuisine in casual neighborhood newcomer, family tables, longtime Richmond chef Stella Dikos, family-run. 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.

The Magpie: Urban gastro-pub with game, fish, pasta, specials. Select wines, beers, cocktails in charming Carver corner cafe. Chef Owen Lane, top service. Dinner and drinks Tuesday through Saturday, 4-11 p.m. 1301 W. Leigh St. 269-0023.

The Roosevelt: Casual reincarnation of Church Hill beauty with seafood, meats, desserts, adventurous and familiar foods, chef Lee Gregory, expert service, full bar, local wines. Dinner and drinks Tuesday-Saturday. 623 N. 25th St. 658-1935.

The Blue Goat: Relaxed Euro-inspired dining, charcuterie, paté, seafood, nose-to-tail cooking; cocktails, patio in new Westhampton landmark from chef Kevin LaCivita. Dinner and bar Monday-Saturday. 5710 Grove Ave. 288-8875.

M Bistro & Wine Bar: French-meets-Southern cuisine from chef Michael Hall; breakfast to dinner specialties; seafood and sides; lamb burgers for lunch; 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.

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 Mondays. 2416 W. Cary St. 358-2229.

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.

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.

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