Traveling Table: Richmond

Culinary riches in Virginia
Traveling Table: Richmond
Potato soup at Pasture | The Roosevelt | Sizzling beef at Peter Chang China Cafe (photo: Tim Vidra)

History has labeled Richmond, Virginia, as a town of many things, including the capital of the Confederacy and the stronghold of the tobacco industry. But we suspect the storied city's current era will be remembered for its food.

Pasture: Chef Jason Alley is on a crusade to revitalize Richmond’s downtown, one bowl of grits at a time. The recently opened Pasture offers riffs on classic flavors: Roasted potato soup comes with a crisp potato skin swiped with curried crème fraiche, and cheese grits might be larded with pickled chiles and topped with guajillo-braised pork. The pimento cheese, however, is dependably traditional, made with Duke’s mayonnaise and served with Ritz crackers.

The Roosevelt: Lee Gregory has created the restaurant we wish we lived next to. We’d roll out of bed in time for a brunch of breakfast-sausage corn dogs and steamed mussels with chorizo in “Bloody Mary broth.” We’d return for early evening cocktails and a snack (pig’s-head terrine? chicken-skin slider?). But the day wouldn’t end before we’d had dinner, finished with a slice of Coca-Cola layer cake (see the recipe).

Peter Chang China Café: After opening and departing several restaurants across the South, it seems that roaming chef Peter Chang has settled in Richmond. The food is as good as you’ve read: Hot and numbing dry beef will leave your mouth in an altered state for hours; scallion bubble pancakes crafted by Chang’s wife emerge from the kitchen like allium-themed sculptures.

The Magpie: Chef Owen Lane is a master of using familiar ingredients in surprising ways. Take an appetizer of hearts of palm: The stalks are deep-fried and tossed with roasted poblano chile pesto. Magpie’s intimate dining room is an ideal spot for a date.

  • Pasture

    Located in downtown Richmond, Pasture boasts some seriously sophisticated design touches. We love the teal colorblocked booths and the free-form light fixtures behind the bar.

  • Potatoes at Pasture

    A potato two ways: Roasted potato soup is garnished with a crispy potato skin brushed with curried crème fraîche at Pasture.

  • The Roosevelt

    The exterior of the Roosevelt is adorned with an old pharmaceutical ad. (Photo: John Murden) 

  • The Roosevelt

    The menu is loaded with Southern classics, like this Frogmore stew, as well as updated dishes like chicken skin sliders with kimchi mayonnaise. (Photo: John Murden) 

  • Peter Chang China Café

    You'll need these bready UFOs--otherwise known as scallion bubble pancakes--to absorb the heat of Peter Chang's fiery Sichuan cooking.

  • The Magpie

    We'd call the décor at the Magpie “steampunk chic”--jewel-toned fabrics meet with lots of metal fixtures.

  • The Magpie

    The menu at the Magpie is full of surprises. Case in point: pastrami-cured mahimahi with mustard ice cream.

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Pasture 416 East Grace St. Richmond VA 23219 804-780-0416 The Roosevelt 623 North 25th St. Richmond VA 23223 804-658-1935 Peter Chang China Café 11424 W Broad St. Richmond VA 23060 804-364-1688 The Magpie 1301 W Leigh St. Richmond VA 23220 804-269-0023

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