So you might be wondering at this point if I ever eat at restaurants that don't deserve 4 out of 5 stars, but I stuck in the Ethiopian restaurant a few weeks ago to mix things up. When coming up with my ratings I try to base them on restaurants I know of the same caliber. For example, Tarrant's Cafe from my column a few weeks ago cannot be compared to Acacia Mid-Town even though they both received four out of five stars. In my mind, Tarrant's serves a completely different, more casual dining purpose whereas Acacia Mid-Town is more upscale and refined. However, both places deserved four out of five stars for their genre of restaurant.
Located in the historic Fan district of Richmond, Acacia Mid-Town has received excellent press during the past 10 years and has many flattering mentions in local as well as national publications. So naturally, I had to try it for myself. One of the more notable things about Acacia is that the menu changes daily. The menu is always high in seafood with three or four meat options. Appetizers, small plates and salads are unique, fresh compliments to a main dish that is sure to be flavorful and delicious.
I began my meal with a small plate of fresh watermelon, tangy feta cheese and sweet candied pecans and balsamic reduction, which was the perfect little trio to whet my appetite. I also tasted the escarole and homemade pork sausage soup as well as a roasted beet and goat cheese salad. Both of these classic appetizers were savory and prepared perfectly. All starters are $10 or less; they are light, fresh, delightful beginnings to any entree dish.
For my entree I enjoyed a lightly seared flounder in a lemon butter sauce atop a bed of parmesan risotto. How can you go wrong with that? The fish was cooked perfectly and the flavor combination was excellent. Although the menu changes every night, some sample entrees include jumbo lump crab cakes with cheddar cheese grits, sauteed greens and a bacon sauce and roasted long island duck breast stuffed with apple and wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon with smoked gouda polenta and a balsamic honey sauce. Acacia has a healthy mix of classic flavor combinations as well as unique tastes. All entrees are less than $30.
For dessert I enjoyed a slice of apple skillet cake with peanut brittle ice cream. It was warm and comforting but prepared with the same amount of elegance and finesse as the rest of Acacia Mid-Town's dishes.
One element of Acacia that I felt did take away from my dining experience was the severely monotone decor. The contemporary lighting and wall art would be more eye-catching were it not all in the same tone of brown. The wait staff dresses in the same color brown, making them look a bit more like FedEx workers than waiters at a lovely restaurant. However, I didn't let the monotony of the atmosphere detract too much from my enjoyment of the meal. I certainly recommend Acacia Mid-Town for the next time your family visits Richmond or you want to take someone special out to a delicious meal.
Contact reporter Brigid Beitel at email@example.com
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