Sunday, February 26, 2012

In Arcadia

While the Shockoe Bottom location is anything but pastoral, the interior of Arcadia portrays an idyllic notion. White tablecloths, a river of round mirrors flowing down a soft yellow wall, cozy tables for quiet conversations.

We arrived early with no reservations and were promptly seated. The place did fill up as we progressed with dinner, so reservations are recommended.

Menu options include starters, salads, small plates, and entrees and then a selection of Braveheart Beef steaks along with a la carte sides. We spent a lot of time sipping our Manhattan cocktails ($10) (my cocktail of choice for the last couple of months) and deciding what to order. The menu held lots of tasty options in various price ranges.

Once we decided on our eating strategy, we selected our wine. Arcadia sports four wine lists: Wines by the glass, $20 bottle wines, $30 bottle wines, and reserve wines. The $20 and $30 lists are the some of the best restaurant wine prices in all of Richmond, maybe all of Virginia. For this evening we chose the Sharffenberger Brut Sparkling from Mendocino, CA for $30. Lovely bubbles.

Scharffenberger Sparkling Wine

For eating we began with Deviled Eggs with White Truffle Oil and Caviar ($6) and Shaved Iceberg Salad with Duck Bacon, Roma Tomatoes and Creamy Shallot and Mustard Dressing ($6).

Deviled Eggs

Shaved Iceberg

The yolks of the deviled eggs were whipped and fluffy and had a slight earthiness from the truffle oil. We liked them because they were slightly different from what we grew up with. The presentation of the iceberg lettuce salad was delightful. The dressing was flavorful and I loved the duck bacon.

Next we ordered two small plates: Grilled Agave Basil Shrimp with Curry Basmati Rice ($12) and Braised Chicken Thighs with Ricotta Spaetzle and Beet Oil ($12) as well as a side dish of Yukon Gold and Sweet potato Fries with Truffle Oil and Sea Salt ($6).

Grilled Shrimp

Thighs and Spaetzle

Yukon and Sweet Potato Fries

Hubby raved over the shrimp and rice. The shrimp were plump with just the right amount of grilling. He could have eaten another plate of just rice - it was that good. And the thighs were perfect. I usually do not order chicken in a restaurant, but the dish intrigued me and did not disappoint. And, of course, the spaetzle delighted the palate as well. We had a generous portion of fries to share.

Upon hearing the list of desserts, we decided to share a Della Nonna Lemon Torte ($7) and Illy coffee ($2.50).

Della Nonna Lemon Torte

Not too sweet, not too tart. A nice finish to the evening.

Lauren, our server, was delightful. She gave us time to decide what to eat and drink. She expertly opened our bottle of sparkling and continued to fill our glasses until the bottle was emptied. Well done! And John Van Peppen, the owner, glided from table to table asking how everything was. Great service, inviting atmosphere, delicious food, affordable wine.  Arcadia.

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