Finn survived his second day of school. Seems he did a slightly better job of listening and participating than the first day and the frustrated student teacher has finally realized he is 3 and just needs to be indoctrinated. M picked him up from school and dropped him off for the afternoon at the store where he read VERY quietly for the whole afternoon. Later that evening, though, we faced a dilemma - what to eat for dinner? Seemed we really didn't have anything to eat at the house and neither of us really felt like shopping for groceries.
After a bit of debate we decided to hit The Black Sheep - the newest and quite possibly most talked about restaurant in town(I can't possibly link to all the write ups so go here where they are all aggregated). The question would be - Is It Worth The Hype? We decided to take the scenic route there, turning the wrong way on Marshall (it's west of Belvediere not east....) but finally arrived around 8. For a hot, humid and very muggy Tuesday in Richmond it was packed. Literally. Not a table was to be had. To top it off the ac had failed and it was nearly the same temperature inside as out. Since it's such a tiny place, there is no bar, we were basically left standing in the middle of the restaurant. This was complicated by Finn's condition from a long day...
It does bring up an interesting point. If your lingering over coffee (which I really couldn't understand drinking a hot beverage in that heat) do you cut your conversation short so that people waiting (4 parties) can sit and eat. I really tried not to stare at them but somehow kept on making eye contact with them. We did do what I thought was the right thing (after waiting ~25 minutes) and let the two two-tops have the vacated tables that were pushed together leaving us waiting for a couple of more minutes for a booth which was more appropriate for us.
Finally seated we looked over the menus. The wine list (they do not serve hard alcohol) is short but well thought out for the menu. In the heat of the dining room I couldn't handle a red and really wanted something more refreshing. I spotted the Original Sin Hard Cider and ordered that. Turned out to be a nice and cool choice for the heat. During dinner I wanted something non-alcoholic and had noticed they had quite a variety of bottled sodas. Keeping with their down home theme of the menu they had sodas that you wouldn't find at Ukrop's but rather at a general store in the country. Nehi's and spicy giner ales. Bottled Coke. I selected something called a Sundrop. M said she used to drink it as a child when visiting her family down in Franklin. It was a bit like 7-Up with a bit of OJ and was actually made with real sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup. It was quite enjoyable but be careful. While the average soda is usually in the 120 calorie range this one packs a whopping 190!
The menu features sandwiches and comfort food favourites like stroganoff and chicken and dumplings. The entrees each come with a side. When we ordered we kept on coming up against things that they were out of. Just a suggestion... The servers knew they were out of things as we ordered. Tell people up front so you don't have to linger while they select something else. The place was packed and the waitresses were all very busy but they seemed to be spinning their wheels quite a bit and have been working more efficiently.
M selected a basic salad feeling it was too hot to order anything else. Large and green it was tossed in a green goddess type dressing. She liked it but it didn't really stand out except as very reasonably priced.
I ordered the Pork Cutlet. Pounded flat, breaded and served with VA ham and melted swiss over a bed of egg noodles with peas and sliced carrots. It was nearly to hot to enjoy but enjoy I did. The pork kept it's crispiness even with a little sauce on the plate. The ham added a little saltiness but not too much (I'm usually not a fan of the salt lick that is called Virginia Ham). The noodles light and delicate. My only complaint would be there were a couple of scorches on the edges of the cutlet giving me a couple of burnt bites. Not bad enough to send back but they may want to work on quality control a bit. With this dish I had a side of the broccoli salad. Served cold and tossed in a spicy oil. Nice contrast with the pork (really wanted to try their deviled eggs but it was not to be).
After the entrees we decided to stay for dessert. M wanted the peanut butter pie but once again they were out of an item. She opted for the upside down pinapple cake. Dripping with juices she made short order of that. I had the profiterole with almonds and honey. Not sure what I was expecting but it wasn't this. Think a puff pastry cut in half, stuffed with ice cream and topped with sliced almonds and swimming in honey. It was huge and I really needed a knife. It was good but a little too cloyingly sweet to finish. Recommend this one to share (and don't forget to get a knife...). Finn had the butterscotch haystack. These were very nice (pretzels and peanut candy coated in butterscotch) and Finn was very protective of his little take away bag.
We spoke with one of the owners as we were leaving. Seems they want to build a back deck for more tables once their 'cash flow improves'. I couldn't imagine there being a cash flow problem based on how busy they were but she said that while they were getting busier not every night was this packed. Here's to hoping the cash flow does improve. The food was good, the service friendly, and while there are still a couple of kinks I can't think of many places that I can feed us all that well for under $50 (including tip).
Think I'll have to try breakfast there sometime. RVA Foodie says the coffee is good!