The One with a Set List and a Speakeasy

Recently, I have started working at a great urban bistro downtown. From my observation, it is a bit of an underrated spot within what I would call a “food desert” of downtown. There aren’t  many other places around it within a two block radius. Most of the good (and expensive) eats of downtown are a few blocks closer to the James. Coda  has an urban environment with grey hues and funky decorations. If cool was made into a restaurant, I dare say it was this place.


Connected to the National, Coda offers a ton of good deals to their customers, who are going to a show. They offer them early entry, which allows the customers to get in 15 minutes before the National doors open. Also, the restaurant houses a speakeasy, where they hold after parties. Be aware, you must have one special item in order to get in and enjoy this killer spot.

Having only worked there for a week, I have tried far too much of their menu. I get to the end of a shift, hungry and remember my employee discount. Not to mention, I have not been disappointed by anything I’ve tried. Some things definitely shine above the rest, but they are all still delicious. Meatballs, Shrimp Salad, Assorted Flatbreads, one of the burgers and this awesome dish called Tuna Poke.

The Tuna Poke (pronounced po-key, not poke) is a “smalls” but big enough for me to eat a whole meal of it. The dish is comprised of raw tuna, arugula salad, and wonton chips. The flavors achieved with the tuna are seriously magnificent and addictive. Soy dressing mixed with sesame, and a bit of seaweed salad. It is a fresh plate, fiercely healthy and utterly delicious. I can’t stop thinking about it.


Being the burger queen, of course, one of the first things I try on the menu is one of the burgers. I got the Ol’ Hickory. Caramelized onions, housemade pickles, cheddar, hickory BBQ sauce and a side of fries. The beef is raised like Kobe beef is raised in Japan, but in America. It is the same process, but called Wagyu beef instead. Because of the this process, the fat renders, giving the beef more flavor without much help.


The beef was flavorful to say the least. Just a patty of that beef alone, I would’ve been happy. Juicy burger with such good flavors. The housemade pickles were slightly sweet but you could definitely tell they were housemade. The hickory BBQ has a tangy kick that helps add even more flavor to the burger.  The fries. Probably some of my favorites in RVA now. They were crispy and you could they were made to order – hot! They can’t compare to my beloved Belgians. But for now, they will do. Overall, it may become one of my favorite burgers in Richmond.


If you’re going to a show at the National or simply want some great food with an urban environment, Coda is definitely the place to look.


PS: I promise you I am not biased about the quality and deliciousness of these dishes simply because I work there. The dishes are seriously great!

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