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Short Order

Water Grill moves into the former Karsen's in Carytown. … The Shockoe Chef Showdown. … Veggie pride, and more.



Well Watered
Now open in Carytown, Water Grill brings a cozy, party-friendly attitude to the former Karsen's at 3411 W. Cary St. The focus is on seafood, steaks and vegetarian-friendly regional cuisine, with a full raw bar and large selection of oysters.

The business is known for its patio seating, where smoking is permitted. Inside the redesigned space is a first-floor sunroom, dining room and bar, an upstairs lounge with bar and fireplace, and banquet and dining rooms that can suit private parties from 10 to 125 guests in comfortable, intimate settings. Wine and beer lists are wide-ranging with an emphasis on regional choices. Serving lunch and dinner daily, and Sunday brunch starting at 10 a.m. 353-3411.

Beer with Comfort: You can sample the “crazy historical brews” that Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is turning out at Comfort Restaurant on Aug. 4, where owner Jason Alley praises the brewery for reviving ancient techniques tweaked for the modern palate. He'll present snacks and beer at a 6:30 p.m. reception, followed by a four-course dinner including grilled venison, braised duck with corn-bread salad and other delicacies designed to bring out the flavors of Theobroma, Midas Touch and three other Dogfish Head brews. $65 all-inclusive. Call 780-0004 for reservations; this event is sure to fill quickly given Comfort's attention to taste and hospitality.

Call for Competitors: Shockoe Chef Showdown, Aug. 1, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 17th Street Farmers' Market. Enter in three categories: meat-based dish, vegetarian-based dish and dessert. This is a first-time event sponsored by Venture Richmond; details at 646-0477. The competition “will pit the savory-savvy gurus from Shockoe Slip against the flavor-chic experts of Shockoe Bottom, with some local homegrown culinary talent thrown into the pot to spice things up a bit,” says the call for entries.

Closed: Rivers Ridge, reopening next month as a pub at 403-B N. Ridge Road. Cuppa Tea Co. on Morris Street in the Fan closed last month. Magnolia's in the Village Shopping Center closed as well. Peking Restaurant's long-running mothership on Grove Ave. is closing, but other locations remain open.


Driving While Vegetarian
The Vegetarian Society of Richmond and Vegan Action want vegetarians to be proud they eat their vegetables. For a small fee you can show your pride in your tofu turkey by slapping a new, customized vegetarian license plate on the back of your Volkswagen -- if the license plate team can gather 350 committed sign-ups for the Department of Motor Vehicles' approval by October. They're not quite there yet. Guess all the veggies ride bikes instead? Vegans and veggies must be afraid of all the hostile meat eaters that roam the forests looking for their dinner. Carnivores can be so mean! Remember poor Lisa Simpson's political oppression when she gets labeled an “agitator” at school when she requests a vegetarian alternative to the cafeteria lunch. Never fear, this license plate can be right for you carnivores too. Plate designer Noah Scalin suspects an “I'm not” order will come in for the text on the plate. “And we'll be happy to take their money,” he says. To sign up for your own, contact — Lauren Nicole Hill

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