Friday, this blogger celebrated a birthday out in the swinging metropolis that is Richmond. My hubs was so kind as to take me to 1 North Belmont. This was a highly anticipated event as I am a closet (no more!) francophile.
We arrived for our 7 o'clock seating and the restaurant was about half full. We were allowed to choose our table, which I thought was nice, so we situated ourselves next to the quiet, empty bar area. The decor itself was warm and modestly elegant with chippendale style chairs at all the tables, silver candle lamps and white table cloths. Overall, 1 North Belmont does a good job at creating a quiet, cozy, romantic environment. The wait staff is kind and gracious, albeit a little stiff. The restaurant never did completely fill or feel busy.
Since the evening had a touch of chill, the hubs and I opted for soup as our first course. An inspired choice indeed! Hubs had the seafood bisque. Apparently, it was so good, his vocal chords were paralyzed until he was finished. :) I ordered the butternut squash soup. The serving staff came out w/a soup tureen for each of us and ladled our soup, steaming hot and fresh, right before our eyes. Hubs soup was served over crab meat and chive, my bowl appeared w/candied pear and creme fraiche in the bottom. I have to say, my butternut squash soup tasted like a bowl full of Thanksgiving and was truly lovely.
For dinner, hubs ordered the steak au poivre, which was perfectly cooked and tender. I ordered the Sole Meuniere, which was fileted tableside. And it was quite a show! In silence, for what felt like an hour, we watched the waiter pull 4 filets off of the Sole with 2 large tablespoons. This was not a $49 worth show. That's right, you read that right, the Sole was $49. Hubs steak was $46. So, I will state at this point unabashedly that our meal was VERY overpriced. Granted, our meals were good, but each of our entrees, in my humble opinion, should not have cost over $35 each. The fish was decent, but not noteworthy.
Once the entrees were consumed, hubs and I decided to head off to Can Can for post-dinner drinks and dessert. I would like to mention as I perused the Can Can menu, I noted that their Sole Meuniere cost $23.50. Which, I believe is much more reasonable for this dish. Our meal at 1 North Belmont which included bottled water, 1 glass of Austrian Pinot Noir, 2 soups and 2 entrees was $150. Yes, you read that right...........$150.
Hubs and I agreed that we appreciated the atmosphere of 1 North Belmont more for our occasion b/c it was without the bustle, clatter and general cacophony always heard echoing from the rafters of Can Can. But, bottom line, we believe we paid way too much for our meal. I would however, recomment 1 North Belmont as the starting point for a Girls Nite Out. Or an end. You could have soup(which is quite filling by itself) and champagne or dessert and champagne up at the bar. But, we will probably not be back for a special occasion.
*Addendum: Recently, we made travel plans for Vegas (12/08). I'm doing a little research on Bouchon and it starts to dawn on me. Bouchon, THOMAS KELLER'S CREATION, is more reasonably priced than 1 North Belmont. It literally almost makes me want to tell people to never go to 1 North, just on principle.
1 North Belmont
1 N Belmont Ave
Richmond, VA 23220