Richmond has a lot of "casual" eateries, disguised as actual restaurants, most of them forgettable. Burgers... fries... grits... chile... sawdust crab cakes... gloppy deep fried stuff masquerading as edible cuisine. But Mint aspires to something better. Owned by the guys who established "Julep," an up market, local temple of southern cuisine (think "Husk" in Charleston), Mint strives to take Julep's food quality to a broader, somewhat less affluent audience, in a lively diverse neighborhood, mostly populated by lots of down scale, VCU college joints. And they pretty much succeed. I've been there for both brunch and evening dinner with friends, and both occasions have been very pleasant.
First the food quality. A real cut above for the neighborhood, in fact quite good by any measure. Innovative omelets, passable holandaise on the eggs Benedict, a small but nice selection of southern pork, seafood (crab cakes) and casual sandwich items, and the best cheese grits I've had in a long time. Maybe ever.
And the place is nice. Not too up town, but just right... just enough polish to tell you you're in a restaurant, not a "joint." And everything seems to be priced fairly. Again, high enough to keep out the "cut-offs" crowd, but reasonable enough to deliver nicely on the quality/value scale.
In London, places like Mint are called, "gastro pubs." I think MInt delivers comfortablly on both fronts... "gastro" and "pub."
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