The Hermitage Grill
by Anne Jones
It was 2010 when a major fire shuttered the Hermitage Grill for 13 months, and it had been a couple of years before that when I had last eaten at this neighborhood grill known for its smoky barbeque and friendly neighborhood vibe. So I was curious to see what it’s like nowadays, almost two years since its renovation and re-opening. I’m pleased to report it’s still going strong, with an improved space and innovative cuisine.
The enlarged space is basically the same, but the light bead-board walls and wainscoting give it a more upscale feel. The biggest improvement is invisible to diners: the kitchen used to be one of the smallest restaurant kitchens in Richmond, and is now a huge industrial-style area much more in-line with what comes out of it.
And the tastes that came out of that kitchen last week when G and I went for dinner were superb. We did it up right, from appetizers to dessert, and tasted such a good sampling of the menu that there’s not space to cover it all here. So, highlights: the crab and red pepper soup and the jalapeno salmon croquettes were superb for the same reason, the spices complemented, not dominated, the flavor of the fresh seafood. The same goes for G’s fried oyster salad; fresh, good oysters with a uniformly golden and crunchy batter – as light and porous as anything fried can be. The salad became so popular with diners that it quickly changed from a special to a staple on the menu. The same batter on my fried rockfish tenders made them taste more like a delicate fresh fish than fried food.
The prime rib salad was another high point, with melt-in-your mouth-tender beef, and sweet mandarin oranges that countered the strong flavor of the gorgonzola cheese. Here’s what’s different about Waller McCracken’s famous North Carolina-style pork barbeque: it’s slow-smoked, all lean meat without a drop of fat, and it’s more chunked than minced. But the crème-de-la-crème was the crème brulee. It was deep, dark, heavenly, luscious, intense chocolate and Kahlua, with that perfectly hardened crust that feels so lovely to crack into.
It won’t be another two years till I’m back for more, of everything.
Tuesday-Friday, 11am– 11pm
Saturday, 3 pm-11pm
Sunday, 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
6010 Hermitage Rd