Many of us still reside in the city, telling ourselves that if we moved to the suburbs, we wouldn’t just be able to go out the door, walk, and get somewhere. The city offers the convenience of grocery stores, Walgreen’s, doctors, dentists, schools — you name it — all within a walk’s reach (or at least a short ride on the 1 California for me). Yet strangely enough, while I walk to just about everything, I rarely walk to neighborhood restaurants.
Perhaps that’s because great neighborhood restaurants are elusive. It can be difficult to find the perfect balance between elevated atmosphere, reasonable price point, and close walking distance. Some neighborhoods hide these treasures, fearful that if the secret got out, the beloved neighborhood restaurant would be ransacked of its accessibility and quaintness. So it’s with some hesitation that I even write this post. But since it’s not in my neighborhood per se (i.e., I could walk it, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it in a pair of heels), I’m writing this post anyway.
Nestled in the Inner Richmond lies the sweet, quiet, delicious, and aptly-named The Richmond. Occupying two rooms probably the size of many childhood bedrooms, The Richmond has a calm tenor, giving diners plenty of quietude for romantic exchanges or private conversations. Offering upscale California fare, it has both an a la carte menu as well as a reasonably-priced 5 course tasting menu ($49.95). And though the restaurant is small and not flashy, it goes to lengths to remind you that you are special: your bread will be accompanied by three different butters (olive, sweet cream, and chive); you can expect a delightful amuse bouche to be presented; and at the end of the meal, you’re likely to get a sincere thank you from the chef who makes his way to your table to speak with you. So the next time you Richmond-ites walk out your door, why don’t you walk right by that pizza place and head straight for The Richmond, a place that will remind you why you still live in the city.
Amuse bouche: chilled cucumber soup
Roasted beets and cardamom carrot salad, goat cheese in phyllo dough
Butter poached yellowtail with mushrooms, celery root puree
(My table also ordered an array of desserts, none pictured. Opt for the fresh cream panna cotta, if you’re lucky enough to see it on the menu.)