Guest Review

[ 3 ] November 18, 2010 |

Image via Merriam-Webster

One of my loyal readers recently took a trip down to Williamsburg and Richmond, VA eating all along the way.  They passed on their do’s and don’ts and of course, I had to share with you guys.  Here’s what they found or didn’t find:

In a sea of chain restaurants and pancake houses, there is Food for Thought on Richmond Road in Williamsburg, VA.  If I had to describe it, I would have to say it is healthy comfort food.  I had a pot roast that just melted in your mouth with mashed sweet potatoes and my guest had simple grilled fish with vegetables.  There were several vegetarian options as well.  What is kind of cool about this restaurant is that they have posters of some of the world’s greatest “thinkers” throughout history and a pack of trivia cards at each table.  
Francesco’s was a big disappointment.  I have relied on TripAdvisor for hotel ratings with great success, but this is strike two for using it for restaurant ratings.  We were craving Italian so I started my search.  There are a plethora of “spaghetti and meatball” type of mom and pop restaurants that catered to tourists, but then we found Francesco’s–4.5 star rating located in a strip mall.  What motivated me were TripAdvisor comments like “we are from New York so we know Italian food and Francesco’s was great.”  So we sojourn out in the rain to this 14 table restaurant.  My guest ordered the salmon piccata and I had the Chilean Sea Bass picatta. Both were DROWNING in lemon and capers–so overpowering you could not taste the fish.  The fish portions were small and were served with about 2 lbs. of angel hair pasta. The calamari was chewy and the tiramisu tasted factory-produced.  I absolutely will not be returning.
We went to Trellis for lunch–probably the best meal we had in Williamsburg.  There was a wait, but it was worth it.  For starters, we had the blue fish rillete which was good–not too much garlic and the butternut squash soup. One person at my table had a barbecue duck sandwich on challah with horseradish slaw.  The duck was a little salty for me, but my guest loved it.  Another person at the table had pan-seared salmon on a bed of fresh greens-simple, but fresh and tasty.  I had the softshell crab club on sourdough.  Excellent sandwich but I removed the cheese.  I know a club requires cheese but it seemed to smother the taste of the crab.  The sandwich was accompanied by a red potato salad that was delicious.  For dessert, we had freshly made raspberry and mango sorbets which were good–not too tart.  We also had their specialty chocolate cake, the name of which I cannot remember.  There was an Italian meringue cookie layer that I did not prefer–who wants a piece of Styrofoam in the middle of their decadent chocolate cake?  The service was white linen and we would definitely return.
Last stop Richmond, VAComfort on East Broad would be what I call a comfort food spot that serves some typical southern food staples.  Roasted beets, braised greens, roasted asparagus, mac and cheese, and fried green tomatoes graced our table accompanied by catfish fingers, trout in Chipotle sauce, tuna and roasted chicken.  The fried green tomatoes and trout really were the winners.  Everything else was good and fresh.  The greens had a little too much vinegar for me and were overcooked.  I prefer my greens to be a little more firm.  But, the star of the show is their version of banana pudding–custard pudding in a tart shell with a crunchy caramelized bananas on top…I would have ordered another one for the road, but we were damn near ushered from our table

The service was BAD.  It was slow, so we were not to pleased that once we got our food, there was a rush to turn the table over.  It is a 20-table restaurant that does not take reservations.  I have to give a shout out to the chef though–a person in our party has severe food allergies and he took the time to circle items on the menu that they should stay away from.  Close to half of the space is taken up by a bar so if you get a table by the bar and the bar gets crowded be assured that you will get somebodies purse or backside on your back before the meal is over.  Because the ceilings are about 20 ft. high, it is loud so we had to scream at each other throughout the meal.  My recommendation is that you go very early so you can get a table toward the front of the restaurant.  Despite the atmosphere and the service, I think it is still worth the visit. Another note:  parking is a challenge–we had to park two blocks away on a seedy side street–may be worth it to take a cab if you are staying at a hotel nearby.

Category: restaurant reviews, Travels

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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  1. Culinary Delights of the South » Texas Barbeque | December 1, 2010
  1. Trellis is DELICIOUS. It’s a tradition to go there every time we visit Williamsburg. Before they were under new ownership, they had a DELISH savory cheesecake on the menu… it was my favorite lunch in all of Virginia! Fond memories… 🙂

  2. Johnna says:

    Ooo, that makes me want to take a road trip…I travel for food!!

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