In the increasingly competitive sport of menu building, chef Ryan Baldwin is going all out to make a bigger name for himself and the Viceroy, now open in the Devil's Triangle near the Boulevard. Baldwin grew his fan base from Tastebuds in North Side to a well-reviewed year at Accanto in suburban Henrico County, but prefers the energy of city restaurants and their adventurous diners.
At Viceroy, Baldwin introduces an often decadent lineup that starts with snacks for $6. There are bacon-wrapped, blue cheese deviled eggs with scallion grass, salmon jerky with blueberry and shaved asparagus, crispy chicken skin and Gouda beignets, goat cheese fritters and flank steak skewers with pickled carrots. Small plates include frog legs, ribs, scallops and oysters. Sandwiches run from the traditional french dip and meatball to smoked wild boar pastrami on grilled jalapeño corn bread, for $11. Main dishes include the seemingly required-in-Richmond crab cakes for $24, and choices such as grilled lamb kung pao, fried pork cheeks, chicken-skin-wrapped grouper and avocado Key lime popsicles for dessert.
"It's rustic, eclectic and not intimidating, with some comfortable things," Baldwin says of the menu and the setting. "It's all about the execution down to the little details, and it's got to be a certain level. We have a higher standard in this town now — do it right and try to be distinctive." The bar's 20 taps are augmented by signature cocktails and a select wine list, and the setting is a redesign in the classic modern realm. The Viceroy is open daily at 600 N. Sheppard St. 342-7696. viceroyrichmond.com.
Skins attached: Never missing an opportunity to cross promote, the guys at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery are making it easier for Redskins fans to experience the lunch-with-beer tradition. The brewery will open each day the Redskins' new training camp runs this summer. Details at rvastreetfoodies.
Pizza pops: A five-course pop-up dinner from mobile caterer Pizza Tonight comes to Lamplighter Roasting Co.'s Addison Street location July 29. Family-style service for 50 includes Italian seasonal foods prepared in the wood-fired oven, paired with beverages from Ellwood Thompson's wine guru Leigh Rodgers. Tickets are $75 per person and some early-bird and group discounts are offered. Proceeds benefit FeedRVA, a new nonprofit dedicated to food justice in Richmond. pizzatonightonenightstand.eventbrite.com.
Wheels for meals: Richmond bicycle patrolman Patrick Warner, who manages the Carytown farmers' market on Sundays, is taking his cause for food equality on the road. He'll ride a mountain bike across Virginia starting Aug. 3, stopping at farmers' markets along the way, to raise awareness of the match program of SNAP — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for low-income residents. The match allows recipients to shop at farmers' markets, promoting healthy eating and supporting local farmers. See vamarketride.com for details on Warner's 500-mile trek from Yorktown to Big Stone Gap.
Nile on hold: A reboot is in progress at Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, which closed in June and plans to reopen in August with an expanded menu and new décor. Fans can find its food at Ellwood Thompson's hot bar on Mondays. 309 N. Laurel St. nilerichmond.com.
Estes Bar B'Que: Fine swine food truck gets a storefront for pulled pork, baby back ribs, smoked portabello mushrooms, baked beans with pineapple and mountain slaw. Weekday lunch until 3:30 p.m. 317 N. Second St. 888-5521. estesbarbque.com.
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