August 16, 2008

Hanover Tavern and The Barksdale Theater

Just outside of Richmond, Virginia, is the Hanover Tavern, which was built in 1791 and has just undergone a 15 year renovation. Upstairs is Michelle's at Hanover Tavern- see the website here. Downstairs is the Barksdale Theater. The setup is perfect for dinner and a show, which is exactly what we did while we were there. As we walked from the gravel parking lot to the building, I knew it would be a magical night! First, the dinner.

On the Summer 2008 Theater Menu, there are a choice of 7 first courses, 7 second courses and 3 desserts. I think we hit just about all of the courses with our party of 8, so let's get started! We ordered a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir to start off right.

Kitty-Mom ordered Watermelon Gazpacho. An excellent take on ordinary gazpacho, making it extraordinary. If it hadn't had cilantro in it, it would have been flawless.

She Crab Soup. One of the best I have ever tasted- mellow, creamy- just crabby enough. Hot, delicious. I wish TLMM had ordered two.

The Dean ordered Caesar Salad. Looked lovely- he said it tasted great. Fresh ingredients and zingy dressing!

I couldn't resist ordering crab dip- and look at it! It is meant to be an appetizer for one person, but it was enough for everyone at our table to have some. Very good- the roasted peppers gave it a bit of a different flavor, I want to try to make this at home.

Either Phil or Vicky ordered Fried Green Tomatoes. They enjoyed them very much- I forgot to ask for a bite!

Sparki ordered the Hanover Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella, which he said was very good. The balsamic reduction definitely boosted the whole dish to another level.

Finally, my dad's Fried Chesapeake Oysters. He liked them. I didn't taste them but the plate sure looks pretty! We had every first course on our table except for the House Salad.

On to the Second Courses.  Crab cakes- man, oh man they looked excellent.  They were served with apple and celery root remoulade, asparagus and Carolina Plantation rice with ham and chives.  

Several people ordered duck, which was served with basmati rice, sauteed mustard greens and peach butter. The general consensus was that the duck was too dry - but edible. It was the only disappointing entree.

The Filet Mignon came with port-black pepper demi-glace, truffle mashed potatoes and warm local tomato salad. Several also ordered this. I loved it- the pepper sauce was subtle yet still peppery. The mashed potatoes were creamy and wonderful. I think I ate every morsel on my plate!

Pork tenderloin with charred tomato BBQ, Napa cabbage slaw Byrd's Mill Grits.   Well, that's what the menu said anyway- this is clearly not cabbage slaw.  It was the mustard greens that came with the duck.  Sparki didn't like them, not one little bit, but he loved everything else on his plate.

Pan Seared Salmon with Silver Queen corn succotash, roasted potatoes and lemon emulsion.  I didn't have a taste of this, but I wish that I did.  It looked excellent and smelled even better.  As much as I love red meat, I think I would order this on my next visit.  

We had every entree on the menu except for Vegetarian Risotto and Chicken Pasta.  By the time we finished our entrees, we didn't think we could eat another bite.  But you get free dessert so we all thought we'd give it the old college try.

Coffee for everyone, and then we had at the desserts. Chocolate Pecan Pie was so scrumptious I couldn't eat just one bite like I had planned to. So good- the perfect amount of pecans, chocolate and crust. Mmmmmmm!

Creme Brulee.

Finally, the piece de resistance for the entire evening- Strawberry Shortcake. If you have never tried this dish in the South, I highly suggest you do. The biscuits were tender and flaky, the strawberries ripe as can be and the cream was fresh. The combination was out of this world.

If you are ever in the Richmond, Virginia area and get a hankerin' for dinner and a show, this picturesque rural location is not to be missed. We spoke with several folks from the D.C. area, , so the word has already spread. In addition to the quality dining in Richmond, there is an active theater community and are always several shows open. The weekend we were there, I know of at least three- Shirley Valentine (the reason for our visit), Guys and Dolls and Little Shop of Horrors!

My hunch was right and the evening did prove to be magical.  After that marvelous dinner, the eight of us walked downstairs, met up with more friends and went into the theater to enjoy a couple of hours of Shirley Valentine, starring my own little baby sister, Jill Bari Steinberg, aka Muffinface. That experience, and the hours we spent visiting afterward, are the topic of my next post...stay tuned...and the eggs.


JB said...

too bad they didn't have brussel sprouts that night - the ones there are the best I have ever tasted!
I am glad you guys had a good meal. :)

Anonymous said...

It was very yummy! Miss you all...