A newer addition to the Richmond local dining scene, Cafe Rustica is a true gem. Tucked in an out of the way section of Main Street, this restaurant is easily missed b/c of it's unassuming storefront.
But, this is definitely one not to be missed! I had done a little research prior to my Friday nite's visit and found a lot of complaints about service. These complaints seemed unfounded to our party as we had attentive and helpful service from the hostess all evening. From beginning to end, my entourage enjoyed a perfectly delightful experience.
We were informed that most veggies were fresh out of "their" garden. And the grape/cherry tomatos were ripe & flavorful as well as leaps and bounds ahead of anything I've bought at a farmer's market this year.
The guys in our party opted for the steak and veggies. We didn't hear a peep out of them until their plates were cleaned. So, I'm assuming that means it was good?! lol As for the ladies-- I had the gemelli pasta w/roast chicken & veggies in a broth w/lemon & rosemary, my friend had the salmon (our only complaint being the salmon was a tad 'fishy') .
I really have to comment specifically on my gemelli dish b/c rosemary and particularly lemon are so often overdone and become overpowering. Restaurants have practically ruined my hubs from ever eating a rosemary infused dish ever again. And, I too was hesitant in ordering this dish. But, I am ever so grateful that I did. Everything was perfectly balanced and flavorful. Just a hint of herb. The texture of the al dente gemelli, tender chicken and crisp vegetables alone was palate pleasing. Add in the tasty broth and this is a lovely summer pasta dish that delighted the senses. I can not recommend it enough!
My friend and I washed our main courses down with the house offered Reisling. Which was a bit too sweet for my taste. We started our meal with a cheese course. I will offer one complaint- not enough cheese! It was $10 for 3 cheeses(pecorino romano, a bleu and a goat). There was hardly a teaspoon's worth of each cheese on the plate. However, the grilled bread was chewy and pleasantly charred which was a nice compliment to all of the cheeses. My favorite was the goat cheese w/lingonberry preserves. The creamy sweetness of goat contrasting with the tart sweetness of the preserves was a definite palate pleaser. I think next time I'll just order that (you can order just one cheese for $5).
Dessert found me having the chocolate mousse. The waterfall of saliva in my mouth started the moment I saw the mousse heading toward the table, served in a vintage brass champagne glass. And it did not disappoint! Rich & velvety goodness coated my mouth and tongue in all it's chocolatey glory. It made me sad to swallow.......
So, in all, I'm going to have to give Rustica two thumbs up! Service was great, quality was great, flavor and freshness, outstanding! Not to mention, the prices are very fair, particularly for the quality. Keep up the good work guys!
414 E Main St
Richmond, VA 23219