Most of my diet is cereal. Recently, however, I ditched my Honeycombs for dinner at Richards. My friend Olivia joined me. She is a New York City resident whose tastes are more refined than mine. This kept me from comparing everything to Captain Crunch.
We hit Richards in the middle of the 13th on 13th festival and sat outside with a 20-piece band jamming their horns behind us. I ordered a Newcastle and Olivia got Champagne off the diverse wine list. "You'd never see this in New York," Olivia said about the by-the-glass option on all wines.
Our attentive server, Chetan, inquired about appetizers. I furrowed my brow and studied the menu. "These apps have cool juxtapositions," I said. " ... lamb kebabs served with tzatziki ice cream?" I got some puzzled looks. "I'll have the prawns with pineapple," I mumbled. Olivia chose the melon soup. They were great tonics for the heat. Later, I asked chef Randy King about his cooking philosophy. "Tastes, textures and temperatures," he replied, getting as excited to talk about entrées as hipster guitarists get discussing boutique distortion pedals. His creativity was further revealed when I spied him culling inspiration from Culinary Artistry.
I scanned the menu for a main course. The adjectives "organic" and "local" were all over the menu. A fine-dining conservation ethic? Nice. I cashed in for the filet mignon and let Chetan choose my wine. My filet was cooked as I had ordered and served with mashed potatoes and a morel demi-glace. Unfortunately for Olivia I didn't offer to share. She had better manners. The non-intuitive flavors of her dish (cumin, carrots, morels, and risotto) worked together like a dance troupe. Unfortunately the creativity of my desert was lost on me. Crème brulee with anise? I prefer mine straight up.
I liked my Richards experience. It wasn't just the food that I was keen on; I was equally impressed with Richard's environmental ethic, as they raise the bar by recycling everything and by using local, organic ingredients. Nearly the entire menu at Richards comes from a 100-mile radius. This not only keeps things fresh, but also supports the local economy and influences growers to increase organic offerings.
-Ryan Peck has never had green eggs and ham.