Thursday, April 21, 2011

Richwood Grill

Travis Crum (my former city editor), Melanie Hoffman (my former managing editor) and I made plans with AP star Vicki Smith to get dinner and catch up. Vicki has been truly inspirational during my time at the newspaper, and I hope our relationship continues after The DA. My boyfriend Chris was also in town, so he joined us.

Vicki knows just about everything there is to know about Morgantown, and she's always up for different dinner suggestions, so I threw out "Richwood Grill" because of its super local, but classy, menu. The restaurant used to be "Solera," which served Latin food. But now, "Richwood Grill" serves sustainable food from around West Virginia. Don't let the sound of that fool you, though, as the atmosphere is classy, and really puts to good use the fact that great food comes from within the Mountain State.

Located right out of the beaten path in Morgantown, right up behind the hill from the Willey Street Dairy Mart, it's not a college hangout, but locals seem to adore the place. Check out reviews here. We met at 5 p.m., as soon as the restaurant opened, and we were graciously greeted and led to the back dining area. Outdoor seating was also available, but it was still a little chilly for that. The table was adorned with old-school posters and placards, and the room was decorated lightly but classy.


The menu continually changes according to what's in season and boasted only about a dozen entrees; however, the drink menu consisted of pages upon pages. Vicki opted for a bottle of red wine for the table that was both strong but necessary. I'm not much of a wine drinker, so I can't critique much, but I was warm and relaxed after one glass. I forwent an appetizer because I wasn't overly hungry, but I immediately knew what I wanted for my entree: A scallop and shrimp sausage with pesto pasta and pumpkin seed. It sounded like something I would like, as I often go for pasta, but the majority of our table went for a steak. I believe steak/red meat is their specialty, but I'm not much of a steak person.

When my dish arrived, I was excited. The excitement vanished when I actually bit into the pasta, as it was quite hearty and dry. The pesto sauce really needed a kick of lightness or smoothness to offset the harsh pesto sauce. I would've liked some diced tomato so I wasn't in need of a drink after every bite. The taste of the pasta wasn't bad, but it definitely needed a lighter note. I took a bite out of the sausage and was pleasantly surprised. Two sausage patties, and one contained a scallop and one a shrimp. The sausage wasn't gritty or reek of chemically enhanced meat. It was good quality and quite delicious. The idea of putting a piece of seafood in the meat was interesting, but unfortunately, I didn't taste the seafood too much. It's clear this restaurant is ideal for meat-lovers, and the pasta/seafood sort of fall to the wayside. That's OK; that's what I get for ordering pasta. However, on that note, Chris ordered a rainbow trout dish that had a delicious white creamy wasabi sauce on it, and it was to die for. Very fresh and tasty.

My favorite part of dinner came next: dessert. I can't remember exactly what the dessert was called, but it was a blueberry and apple jam tart with a smooth cheese and apples and toffee integrated. It was delicious. Melanie said it looked like something off of "Top Chef." It was very creative, and the cheese added a bit of a tart taste to the sweet jams. Each of our desserts also came out topped with a strawberry, which added a light fresh flavor to sugary dessert. I could've devoured two.

Grade: C
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