The Roosevelt. I explained it to an out of town friend this way, “It’s in an old row house. They make southern food, but they’re pushing it to a higher level.” I hadn’t seen this friend in six years. She’s had a whole second child and halfway raised her (5 years is definitely halfway to adulthood in my eyes). When she came to town for a conference and wanted a night out my first go to was The Roosevelt. Why? Because it never disappoints. I have my Richmond favorites, but this place, this place is special. And the James Beard Foundation agrees. Lee Gregory is doing good things here. I’m so happy I get to taste those things.
Here is your visual tour of my latest visit during Richmond’s wonderful Restaurant Week. Benefitting our local food bank and Meals on Wheels, Richmond’s Restaurant Week allows our amazing and plentiful restaurants to showcase their skills with prex fixe menus. Three courses. Good food. A good cause. It’s all good. Especially at The Roosevelt.
The burrata is favorite and my friend enjoyed her portion served here with charred tomatoes and a spring pea salsa verde. In the past I’ve loved their burrata with a sweet cherry jam. And that bread. Buttered and grilled just right.
I ordered the mussels. Wonderfully flavorful in a Nduja cream (Nduja is a sausage), but some mussels were barely opened which made for a cracking mess. The perfect bread soaking up that perfect sauce made up for any tight mussels I might have pulled. (I’ll be here all week).
The monkfish, fleshy and buttery and cut perfectly with the ramp pesto. Oh ramps. The Roosevelt has used them elegantly here as the bright, spring accent to the smooth and earthiness of the farro, mushrooms and the meaty texture of the monkfish. And then they threw in some surry sausage. Because we live in Virginny. That’s why.
The roasted chicken is tender with a crisp skin that melds into the guyere mac-n-cheese with surry sausage strewn about. Because we’re grown ups. That’s why. And asparagus for health, cooked to a tender crispness. The perfectly cooked theme continues.
I don’t put much pressure or expectation on eateries that have perfected main courses. And so it goes with The Roosevelt. The Peanut Butter Pie, a usual on their menu, is not as favorite. And I love peanut butter pie. The Roosevelt’s is a decent decadent twist, but it’s more like a pecan pie with peanuts. I get the push. But, it’s not a reorder for me. However…
That coconut cake. That. Coconut. Cake. Moist with the richness of the european style butter I’m sure they’ve used and real coconut milk, I’m hoping from a freshly cracked coconut. While rich and heavy and satisfying, it comes the closest to a blend of my Great Aunt Hazel’s pound cake and my mother’s coconut cake. Southern perfection. With this, their desert has just reached the level of their main dishes. And I am sold yet again.