This was our third visit to the Roosevelt after two very good previous dining experiences. It is a good neighborhood place in a revitalized area of old Richmond that offers an artful southern menu cooked by their co-owner chef. We had not been for some months but decided to revisit for a birthday treat. It was Monday and we figured that it might not be so crowded but, knowing how hard it can be to get a table, we still made a reservation a week in advance.
Unfortunately, it was not a good as we had expected. We suspected that it might because the chef-owner was taking Monday off, but the problem is that one bad experience tends to leave a bad taste (literally!) that makes a guest wonder if it is just that, or whether the place has lost its flair.
The cocktails were fine, as on previous occasions. We shared the fried green tomato and chicken liver mousse snacks. My wife had the beet salad appetizer followed by braised pork cheeks. I saw mussels in tomato curry sauce at another table and chose it for my appetizer followed by scallops on loaded grits.
The tomatoes were fine. The mousse was a soggy mush spread on cold toast. The salad was excellent. The mussel serving was generous with a hint of spice but they were almost cold when they arrived, suggesting they had been standing on a counter-top, in a soup-bowl that was cold to the touch. The waitress was puzzled and apologetic, offering dessert "on her" in compensation.
Unfortunately, the entrees did not redeem the evening. Both were dominated by the taste of salt to the point where there was no hint of the real ingredients and we were salivating sodium on the drive home. It really did seem as if the person who cooked had not tasted his own creation. It was a shame because the scallops were obviously intended to be different and the idea of loading the grits with crawfish as excellent, but the sea-water flavored sauce just killed it.
It was a sad evening and maybe it wasn't typical given many excellent reviews. But one really bad, pricey night out makes a return unlikely even if previous visits had been more positive.
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