Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Smoky Waiting Area Led to Baker's Crust

Last Thursday my dear hubby wanted to go to Olive Garden. Yeah, I know. But he had a coupon. We had not stepped foot in the the one on Broad (or any other) for at least 10 years. I humored him and agreed. It was already 7:30 PM on a week night. Little did we know that the place seemed to be as popular as ever. We entered and were immediately greeted by a foyer full of waiting diners as well as a ton of cigarette smoke wafting in from the bar. The hostess informed us that the wait would be 20 minutes. We made a u-turn and never looked back. Served us right.

We made up for it by going to Baker's Crust in Carytown. The non-smoking establishment seated us immediately. We catered to our impulses and ordered the Baker’s Crust Tavern Chips - House-made parmesan-dusted chips, topped with melted white Vermont cheddar and bacon. Served with buttermilk chive dressing. Very yummy. We also indulged in a bottle of 2004 Franciscan Napa Vally Merlot. (Why did we originally want to go to that other place?) For dinner proper I chose the Kickin’ Corn & Crab Chowder - A sweet and creamy chowder that combines tender crab with sweet corn, a splash of brandy and just the right amount of spice to give this unique chowder a spicy kick. Baker's Crust has been serving this chowder for years. I have found it to be always consistent and delicious. My husband selected the Jersey Grinder - Melted provolone, Genoa salami, capicola ham, sweet ham, lettuce, tomato and onion on a warm crusty baguette with oil and vinegar. He was disappointed in this sandwich. He thought the capicola tasted a bit muted and that the baguette overwhelmed the rest of the ingredients. He did enjoy the wine. Since we rewarded ourselves with the Tavern Chips and the Merlot, we decided against dessert. But the crepes were very tempting. Maybe next time.

Baker's Crust Bread Market on Urbanspoon


Bookstore Piet said...

Having quit smoking a couple of years ago, when Finn was born, it's still not been long enough to keep me from craving a cig every now and then. That being said, I am getting increasingly intolerant of smoky restaurants. The smoke distracts me from being able to taste again and the annoyance continues when I can still smell it the next day on my clothes. A space of 10 feet from smoking to non-smoking is not sufficient. Smoky establishments are falling off our dance card. I expect many others are doing the same.

Sorry, I'll get off my soap box now (unless a place goes non-smoking and then replaces the air purifiers with a TV set... ugh!).

Nathan Hughes said...

A very fine example of the free market working in the case of smoking vs. non-smoking restaurants. :)

Paul H said...

I used to be a militant anti smoker and get very hot and bothered about it. Times have changed. I no longer have to sit next to a pipe smoker all day at work. Can you imagine?

The least a huge chain like Red Lobster/Olive Garden could do is put a physical barrier between smoking and non-smoking sections, but you're right. Serves you right for choosing a pseudo restaurant ahead of our many fine locally run joints. I can talk, because there are no pseudo restaurants within 5 miles of here, so it makes it easy.

Bon Appetit (coming to Broad Street in May)

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of paying money for good food and having to deal with smokers. Many very good Fan restaurants allow smoking. One cig is enough to stink the entire place. One doesn't realize how smelly many Richmond restaurants are until one travels to cities such as New York, LA and Chicago where smoking is banned. I feel sorry for the workers in restaurants with smoking.