Saturday, April 25, 2009


I categorically, undeniably love snacks. Ask my husband, he'll tell you. (And after Thursday's 30 Rock where Liz is singing to her snack cheese on the couch while wrapped in a 'slanket,' he's also taken to calling me Liz Lemon............but I digress......). So, it's no surprise that I've had a strong love affair with tapas for many years now. How could you not love getting to taste and share everything on the table? A little nibble here, a big spoonful there means you don't miss out on anything.

Because of this affinity, I have had Si on my list of places to try. I've attempted to pop in, only to hit a busy time with an hour wait. The space is limited, so waiting is awkward. Thus, I usually roll on to a new destination. I do recommend having a reservation so there are no issues getting a table right away. Which the hubs kindly made for us last nite.

Tip-- if you would like to sit on the patio, make sure to specify when making your reservation. Hubs was told there were only 2 reservations at our 7:30 time slot when he called to reserve(at noon same day). Therefore, he could pick where we wanted to sit when we arrived. Not so. Once we got to the restaurant, the hostess told us there were "other reservations already for the patio" and seated us inside. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed as I was really looking forward to sitting outside and taking in the beautiful evening.

Other than that little 'misunderstanding,' our experience was enjoyable. The inside of the restaurant is definitely what I would deem cozy. A small space that houses banquettes and small niches of 2 tops against and seemingly set into the wall. There's a tall 8 top table in the middle of the lower part of the restaurant attached to some type of custom wine rack. A bar and more seating may be found upstairs which includes a few couches to lounge on in addition to the small patio seating along Lombardy St.

We ordered:

Spinach salad w/avocado, roast corn and citrus dressing
Hummus 2 ways
Chicken and serrano ham croquettas
Fried triangles of manchego cheese, drizzled with honey
Pork Empanadas
Steak & grits
Chocolate torte w/mint ice cream for dessert

I also had 2 of the house cava by the glass, which was crisp, dry and refreshing. The winners in our line up were the spinach salad and croquettas. The salad was perfectly dressed, the corn sweet and toothsome, avocado ripe. It was the perfect mouthful of spring. The chicken and ham croquettas appeared with an unexpected dipping sauce that had the hubs and I fighting over the last dip. Not sure what was in it, just that it was the perfect accompaniment.

The manchego cheese came to the table in small, crispy triangles, drizzled with honey and laid on a bed of arugula. While tasty, it was too heavy for me and really didn't stand up to the other items we ordered in terms of personality and variation. The pork empanda stuffing was delicate with a hint of cumin and other spices. The outer pastry seemed to overwhelm the pork. While flavorful, it ended up being a bit too dry b/c I felt there was too much crust going on.

I just flat out didn't like the hummus at all. This is the first time in Richmond I've received a hummus I haven't enjoyed. I got it '2 ways'- but the menu didn't tell me what that meant?(I should've asked). I only know that the garlicky "way" tasted astringent. Please understand I say this as someone who eats, makes and enjoys hummus on a regular basis. Not to mention garlic, there can never be enough of it in anything I eat! The second 'way' I believe had harissa in it. There was definitely a peppery flavor, but it was all overpowered by too much salt. The rest of the plate was filled with tiny green olives, arugula and roasted red peppers.

The steak was fabulous, you'll have to ask the hubs about the grits. A true southern boy, he expects his grits to be silky smooth and creamy. What came out on the steak plate was stone ground, toothsome and had been shoved into a ring with the shredded steak on top for an eye pleasing presentation. Not so pleasing for the mouth, according to the hubs. I kept trying to convince him that, like pasta, the grits were 'al dente.' He just wasn't buying it. I enjoyed them, but want to give you fair warning of what to expect so that you are not disappointed like the hubs was. The steak was tender and melted on the tongue.

Dessert was decadent! The torte had such solid consistancy, it was almost like a lovely, rich, expensive european chocolate bar. The mint ice cream, ironically took the edge off of the richness and made this heavy dessert seem refreshing. A great end to our meal. I should also mention that service was on the mark and unobtrusive.

I'm definitely going back to try more on their diverse menu and making sure I reserve a patio seat next time!

214 N Lombardy St
Richmond - (804) 257-7940


Mommy Gourmet said...

I have really, really wanted to try Si, especially since I am having a tapas dinner here shortly and was looking for some inspiration. That said, I hear it is super pricy, how did you feel?

bellalately said...

Hi MG :)

Actually-- it wasn't too bad. About $85 including tip for the two of us? And we were pushing the envelope by trying about 2 things beyond what we should have ingested? :) For the sake of "research" of course.

Mommy Gourmet said...

Oh thats not terrible at all. Now, I have to corral my hubs to take me!