Saturday, June 30, 2012

525 at the Berry Burk - Still a Bit Green Around the Edges

The other evening we found ourselves downtown and headed over to 525 at the Berry Burk to see if any tables were available. On this weekday evening, vacant tables were plentiful although it seemed like the hostess was hesitant on where to sit us (we were extremely casual with hubby in a t-shirt). We did end up at a two top by the window which pleased us.

The newly renovated space sported clean contemporary lines. And the huge storefront windows on the front and sides are awesome.

525 at the Berry Burk

Our waiter greeted us warmly and we ordered wine: 2009 Flying Fish Merlot from Columbia Valley.

Flying Fish Merlot

Once the wine was poured and tasted, we ordered. Unfortunately, two of the items we wanted were not available: the duck confit spring rolls and the fried green tomato napoleon. We told the waiter to go away and come back in a few minutes. He surely felt a bit of our disappointment. We had already ordered our wine and I had my heart set on the duck. When the waiter left, hubby remarked that he seemed a bit green. Given all of the press for this establishment, the tweets, facebook posts, and the write up in Style Weekly touting the staff training, we were perplexed.

Onward. Our waiter was brave enough to return (he was really quite nice) and take our order.

We began with what I consider the ultimate in snack foods: Caramelized Onion Dip and House Made Chips.

Onion Dip and Chips

A generous portion of the indulgent dip with real onion chunks and thick salty chips. This brought to mind many a childhood gathering with party mints and dip made from Lipton's onion soup mix. Of course, at 525, the onions were not dried and had that sweetness from sauteing. Very good.  I'm all for a bit of nostalgia at $3 a pop.

 For our next course we chose from the selection of small plates. I really, really like that the plates can be small or a bit bigger for almost all of the menu offerings. This is a very good thing. It offers all kinds of flexibility (as long as the kitchen does not run out).

I ordered the small portion of Grilled Beef Medallions with Succotash.

Grilled Tenderloin and Succotash

The small portion was just right for me. The beef had a good grilled sear on the outside and medium-rare on the inside.

Hubby had the large portion of the Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Pea and Lobster Risotto.

Scallops and Risotto

While the scallops were decent, he raved about the risotto (usually he is not a big fan of the creamy rice dish). The little lobster chunks added just the right touch and everything melded together fabulously. Unfortunately, there is a caveat to this dish. A couple of nights after eating at 525 we ran into a friend who had eaten there on the same night. He had ordered the scallops, too; the risotto was not as creamy or as done; he experienced some crunchiness.

Our waiter performed very well during our meal. He continued to pour our wine as we ate which I greatly appreciate. And then, as we still had a few bites to finish of our dinner, he asked us if we wanted dessert. I don't think he was trying to rush us, I just think as hubby had expressed earlier, he was green. For once I was nice and did not give him the evil eye, but we also did not order dessert.

525 at the Berry Burk is still in its infancy. We really enjoyed the food (but efforts may be needed to keep the deliciousness consistent). And our waiter still needed a bit more experience, but I'm sure he will quickly come up to speed and then exceed expectations.

5 comments: said...

I just read an article about this place in Richmond magazine! I've been wanting to try it out. Those chips look delish! I wonder if they have good vegetarian options... only one way to find out!

Lauren said...

Aw! I'm so glad this place is up an running. My friend and old coworker Tom started up this restaurant, I can't wait to try it out! The food looks great!

Midlo Mom said...

I need to check this place out. I worked at Berry Burke when I was in collegs, so I am anxious to see its' transformation!

Just UsTwo said...

We have eaten there several times for both lunch and dinner. Chef Taylor does an amazing job with every dish we have tried and we are looking forward to when they start serving brunch on Sundays! The homemade ice cream is a nice treat after a small plate or you can get your chocolate fix with the molten chocolate cake. Also, they have done a beautiful job fixing up the old building. Even if you don't have time or inclination for a meal, the bar and small plates are perfect for before or after an event across the street at the Carpenter or Centre Stage. This new place is just what RVA needed! We'll be back!

Anonymous said...

I and two of my co-workers went here for lunch this afternoon (12/14/2012). The restaurant has no blinds or window treatments, leaving its mid-day patrons exposed to the to the blinding rays of the low winter sun. We were deposited at a window table, where we couldn't even raise our eyes to each other during our conversation. The glare off the tablecloth made even reading the menus painful.

The hostess filled our water glasses and abandoned us to our clueless server. He came and took our drink order--I made the mistake of ordering an iced tea while my companions were content with the water. He brought my drink and informed us of soup of the day. He then ignored us for more than 30 minutes while he served other tables across the restaurant. Meanwhile, the party of two who arrived after us were seated at a neighboring table (but mercifully for them, apparently in another server's section). As we waited, they ordered and received their starters and entrees.

Disgusted, we rose to leave. I informed the hostess that we had waited over half an hour and our order hadn't even been taken. I handed her a $5 bill to cover my tea, which she accepted. She held it dumbly in her hand as our party put on our coats. Then I asked her for my change. She replied that they had no money at the hostess stand; if I wanted my change, I'D HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE SERVER! She didn't offer to take it to the bar. She didn't offer to comp the tea and give the $5 back.

I told her I'd already waited for the server; I'd waited 30 minutes and I wasn't waiting anymore. I told her we were leaving but that it wouldn't be the last time I discussed my experience at 525 At the Berry Burk. So, as promised, I'm sharing it with everyone I can. Be warned that the service here is atrocious. If you work downtown, as I do, you'd better arrive with more than an hour for lunch. And stay away from the iced tea--at $5 a glass, it's expensive.