2526 Floyd Ave.
For lack of an actual picture of this Richmond restaurant, I've subbed a pic of the lovely Verbena plant.
Hubs and I decided to finally venture over to Verbena. Which has most recently been the home of Carlton's and before that Konsta's. Neither of which stand out in my mind as noteworthy.
The folks at Verbena have come in and revamped the place and I will say, a fresh coat of paint does wonders! The main dining room on the first floor is sophisticated and spare with it's dark wood paneling, white table cloths and "copper" ceiling. It's a refined yet relaxed room. The waitstaff- patient, informative and quick on their toes.
As for the food-- hubs ordered the saffron potato cakes to start. Alas, there seemed to be no seasoning, not even saffron! Even so, they were tasty after salt & pepper shakers were requested.
I started w/the microgreen salad served with a ginger vinaigrette (again, needed a little salt or maybe I'm a reincarnated deer that just can't get enough salt in her diet! LOL) Hubs ordered the NY strip w/baby seasonal veggies and au gratin potatos. I ordered the salmon in phyllo served over sauteed baby spinach.
Hubs thought the steak was salty, I thought it tasty! The potatos were excellent! What the menu doesn't tell you is that the chef hits them with a generous portion of white truffle oil. My salmon hid goat cheese and mushroom in it's perfectly crisp phyllo pocket. I can't for the life of me undedrstand why the menu would not underline such wonderful attributes to each dish!! Other than, perhaps the chef doesn't want to seem too trendy, showy or pretentious. The salmon was tender, the cheese and mushrooms a perfect compliment. Although, I must confess, it did taste a bit "fishy" which I know salmon is wont to do, no matter how fresh it is.
For dessert, hubs had the chocolate cake (takes a few minutes, they whip it up when you order it) and I had the creme brulee. The CB was a blast of vanilla! Served in a gratin, it was equal parts creamy and crunchy deliciousness. Hubs chocolate cake was topped with an ice cream that had an overpowering almond flavour.
The wine I chose-- the only gewurztraminer on the wine list at $6 a glass, was truly a marvel to the tastebuds as well as the nose. Light, fruity floral notes. Not too sweet. The florals hit your nose right away and I was afraid it was going to be too much. But, one sip expressed crispness and offered instant refreshment.
We hit the bar upstairs after our meal out of curiousity. Again, the space feels airy and light. The service, helpful & attentive. I was informed they did start serving "small plates" when Verbena first opened, but there has been such a demand on the weekends for seating, they just broke down and now serve full menu.
I want to conclude by saying this was my first and only visit thus far. No restaurant can be judged by just one visit. Ever. Or even two. Or three. Or five! But, I feel Verbena holds great promise if they capitalize on their strengths and market them better in their menus. It seems the neighborhood has taken hold of this little gem. I hope it holds fast.