Friends! It has been a hot minute since ya’ll have heard from me. I’ll skip the sob story but 50 hour work weeks left me with little motivation to write.
I have had many notable changes in my life within the last year – graduation, new jobs, some unmentionable, basically every one in the book, and the most recent, I’ve moved! I was on a sentimental streak my last few weeks and a packing rampage until I left the state I have lived in my whole life – aside from my 8 month stint in Savannah. Richmond, though, will forever hold a special place in my heart.
I’m here to tell you about one of the newest and hottest restaurants in town, if I do say so myself. Apparently, a few others agree.
Coda Urban Bistro, my first place of employment after I graduated, has since closed and opened up as Vagabond. For the Richmond foodies out there, you may know the chef – Owen Lane of The Mag Pie. Ironically, since the writing of this post’s first draft, Owen actually won Elby’s Chef of the Year. The Elby Awards are put on by Richmond Magazine to honor the RVA restaurant community. If that doesn’t give you reason enough to try it, I’m not sure what will.
In a few short months, it has become my favorite restaurant in Richmond. I may be rather partial but in actuality, very few people in the service industry have the pleasure of saying such a fact. The prices would gain a $$$ from Yelp/Zomato. I’m warning you now so you don’t walk in and walk out based on one look at the prices.
It’s worth it, I promise.
The space itself is awesome. An interesting mixture of rustic and modern. Fixtures and wall accents also add a whimsical flair. For example, the star constellation that lines the downstairs dining room. The speakeasy downstairs is also one of my favorite places to hang out.
Owen has a tendency to change the menu often but to me, that keeps it fun and exciting. He designs the menu in a small, medium and large plate fashion, which encourages sharing among your party.
The cuisine is rustic and globally inspired to bring magnificent creations to your plate. The menu is a thing of pure beauty for the meat lovers of the city. (Disclaimer: it is a very meat heavy menu.) I admire his menu because Owen likes to use every part of the animal that he can. I.e. Pig Head Torchon.
Beef tartare, a spin on the McRib, Honey Nut Cheerio Ice Cream. General Tso’s Sweetbreads. Grilled Broccolini, Fois Gras Spinach Dip … the list goes on.
If you can get over the raw meat factor, the beef tartare is unreal. Kick from the onion, subtle flavor from the soy balances with the flavor beaming from the beef. Oh my goodness. If you couldn’t tell, probably my favorite thing on the menu. The honey nut cheerio ice cream tastes like you’re eating the bowl of cereal. Short ribs cooked to perfection served with housemade gnocchi. I’m not sure how he does it but I’m glad he does. I could seriously go on about all the dishes that he has whipped up.
Even for the likes of a measly burger, they take it to a whole new level – the combination of beef, pork and venison creates a unique flavor. And for someone with as high of fry standards as I have, I will be hard pressed to find a comparison. If he’s reading this, he will be sassy I am commenting on the burger and fries more than anything else. Sorry, O!
I cannot tell you how honored I feel to be able to work with such an awesome chef and an incredible team to help build Vagabond into what will, hopefully, one day become legend.
Needless to say, Vagabond is a must try in a city of food lovers.
Follow the white rabbit!
PS: As for my blog, although we have been taking some time off, my baby will continue but we are moving in a different direction with a complete revamp as I moved to Beer City USA – Grand Rapids, MI! Stay tuned, cheese heads! It’s gonna be really cheesy!