Last week was Restaurant week here in Richmond. A bunch of restaurants create 3 course prix fixe menus for 25. 09 and a certain amount goes to the Central Virginia Food Bank. It's a great opportunity to get out and try some new restaurants while at the same time knowing that you are spending money that will benefit a good cause.

We were debating last Thursday night whether to go to Mezzanine or Strong Hill. We ended up choosing Mezzanine. This was in large part because there has been so much hype about this place - even getting Style Weekly's Restaurant of the Year award. But hype is exactly what all of that must have been. How on earth this place got Restaurant of the Year absolutely baffles me.

For a restaurant to be amazing, I think 3 things need to wow me - the service, the food and the atmosphere. Mezzanine did not deliver a wow in any of those categories. The service was horrible, the food was definitely nothing to write home about and the atmosphere to me, was no different than the many Fan restaurants.

For starters, I ordered the fried green tomatoes and Hubby ordered the she-crab soup. The she-crab soup was not bad, but it was definitely disappointing. The night before we had been at Passion in Chesapeake and their soup blew Mezzanine's out of the water. My tomatoes were okay. The menu described the dish as being served with a crab salad. What crab? All I tasted was cornmeal, tomato and balsamic vinegar.

For our entrees, I got the braised short ribs and Hubby got the Rockfish. The short ribs (a good size portion), were served in a extremely rich sauce with hints of chocolate. The sauce was good, but overpowering and so rich that I couldn't finish the dish. The ribs themselves had been cooked for too long and were dry when I scraped the sauce off of them. The whole point of braising is so that meat is moist and fork tender. The Rockfish was blah. If you want excellent Rockfish I'd suggest heading to Sensi - they do an incredible Rockfish.

For dessert, we both ordered the pecan pie, however only I ended up with the pecan pie. Our waitress brought Hubby the apple tart. He was too "over" the restaurant and the complete lack of attention that he decided just to eat it so we could get out of there. Neither dessert tasted homemade. Enough said.

The service really was horrible. Our waitress was completely inattentive. She took forever to greet us and it took what seemed like an eternity for her to bring our bottle of wine over. We watched as our bottle of wine sat at the bar for 10 minutes while she cleared dishes from other tables. Another pet peeve of mine, she never checked on us to make sure our appetizers or entrees were okay. She finally asked us how everything was after clearing the dishes from our entrees. What's the point then? Our courses were rushed - we no sooner finished our appetizers than she brought our entrees. Same thing with dessert. After dessert she asked us if we wanted coffee or anything else. Hubby said he wanted coffee. She returned with a check. No coffee.

I know that it was Restaurant Week - restaurants that are typically not very busy during the week are swamped. I get that. But that is no excuse for bad service nor mediocre food. If I were a restaurant owner or manager, I would look at the week as an opportunity to convert first time customers into loyal followers.

We walked away from Mezzanine very disappointed and feeling cheated out of a Restaurant Week night.


  1. i don't know what is up with mezzanine but they have fallen off the list of good eats. both and i had horrible experiences there. i am sorry yours was as well.

  2. Doesn't it just chap your hide when you spend hard earned money on something you could have made much better at home? It's infuriating. And businesses wonder why they go under?

  3. What a scrumptious and fun blog you both have!


  4. The problem is, with so many restaurants in Richmond, even if it isn't bad, it still has to be really good to warrant a return trip - as opposed to trying somewhere new.


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