First the good news. Chez Foushee offers very satisfying, excellent food, creatively prepared and served in an attractive period building located a block off the city's growing Broad Street arts district. The menu offers a typical selection of locally sourced fresh seafood, meat and even vegetarian options, many prepared with an innovative flair. A good example were the soft-shell crabs I enjoyed on a recent evening, topped with lump crabmeat in a pesto-mayo and served atop roasted vegetables. Yummy, indeed. Oh... and the service was attentive and upbeat, and the wine list, while modest, was perfectly adequate.
Then there's the parking situation, which is really a larger Richmond issue. Chez Foushee's owner pays a fee enabling patrons to park in a lot, a half block from the restaurant. Convenient, right? Well... not so fast. What the owner didn't tell us was to be sure and park on the side of the lot closest to the restaurant. Otherwise... you'll be towed. The challenge, here, is that it looks like one big lot. But it's not, as were soon to discover...
As we left the restaurant and walked towards our car, a tow truck was idling behind our car, the driver smacking his lips in anticipation of a nice fat fee. He explained how the lot was configured, and where in the lot we were not likely to be towed on future visits. Happily, we had arrived just in time... You might not be so lucky.
Okay, so there you have it. A really enjoyable restaurant in a location where Richmond needs and wants good restaurants. But the deplorable parking situation -- if you're lucky, opt for the street -- does give one pause. One might hope that someday... the Richmond City Fathers would begging developing some smart urban planing and zoning strategies that actually accommodate and encourage downtown restaurant and theater patronage. But until that day, it's the parking wild west... and good restaurants like Chez Foushee are likely to pay a heavy price.