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Yum Yum Good; Acacia; Skilligalee

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is a nine-year veteran of Richmond dining. Most of its dishes are familiar and fall easily under the banner of unified Asian cuisine: moo goo gai pan, sesame chicken, mu shu pork, green pepper steak with onions, and the usual assortment of lo meins, soups and fried rice.

One soup in particular stands out: subgum won ton, with fresh, crisp broccoli, celery, carrots, snow peas, baby corn and four enormous won tons.

At lunch, our Hunan beef ($5.55) and "Double Happiness," a Chinese surf-and-turf of scallops and flank steak ($6.55), needed more fire and were oversauced. But the fried rice was delicious and came from a well-seasoned wok.

The best dinner entrees are the house specialties, especially lamb with sa cha sauce ($9.55), an imported Chinese barbecue sauce made with dried shrimp and chili peppers; and shrimp velvet ($11.25), plump sauteed shrimp with vegetables and an egg-white sauce. The simplicity of good food served in a clean, well-lighted place by polite, welcoming people is a pleasant experience — again and again.

— Noel Patrick



menu features basic elements styled in special ways. Sea trout, grouper, rockfish, tuna, beef, pork, chicken, lamb and cannelloni are all offered along with some tempting starters. My dinner of braised shank of lamb, topped with rosemary sauce and served pink and sliced atop garlic mashed potatoes ($21.95), was a true treat. The lamb was tender, and although our waitress had not asked me how I'd like it prepared, it was exactly as I would have ordered it. My companion, Bottomless Pitt, adored his grouper ($20.75) as much as I loved my lamb. Served with grilled asparagus, red-wine onions and roasted fingerling potatoes, the generous portion of fish was moist and flaky.

Since we hadn't been packed full with dinner, we ordered dessert. B.P. had blackberry clafoutis, a mini-cakelike pastry, and I had crŠme br–lée — both were sweet endings for an all-round quality dinner.

Acacia is, for most, a special-occasion kind of place. But it is, without a doubt, worthy of visiting as often as possible. For creativity of preparation, attentiveness of service and depth of flavor, this is one of Richmond's culinary gems.

— Carter Braxton



If you like to get your steaks at a steakhouse and your seafood at a seafood place, then is your kind of restaurant. Amidst classic appetizers such as oysters Rockefeller ($7.95) and steamed clams ($7.95), entrees such as crab imperial ($19.95), baked flounder stuffed with crabmeat ($18.95) and the extravagant whole Maine lobster stuffed with crab imperial ($36.95), there are a few novelties. Take, for example, the mildly innovative oysters Chesapeake ($7.95) baked with cheddar, wasabi and bacon.

In addition to its regular entrées, Skilligalee allows diners to choose a fish from its fresh fish selection to be blackened, broiled, sautéed, grilled or fried, and then sauced with a choice of ginger-teriyaki, tomato-basil cream or picatta with mushrooms.

If the prospect of pricey seafood classics in a subdued comfortable atmosphere appeals to you, then Skilligalee is worth a visit. But if you like your seafood dishes a little more au courant, then you'd do better spending your dollars elsewhere.

— B. Ifan Rhys



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