Northside comfort

Brookside Grille and Bar comes with a simple mission in mind: to provide great dishes prepared with the finest ingredients using as many local products as possible. When I hear “local products,” I get excited; I’m a native Richmonder, and it’s important to me.

Located far north on Brook Road, Brookside Grille & Bar takes over what used to be Lucille’s Southern Cuisine. Advertised as “coastal comfort food,” I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting something healthy.

I had glanced at the menu online before heading to the restaurant hungry on a Sunday night. I knew my choices were broad – burgers, soups, seafood, and more.

Our friendly server greeted us by listing the beers on tap – a long list of local and Virginia beers including Hardywood, Legend’s and Devil’s Backbone. I opted for Hardywood Singel, my favorite, while my friend chose a cider.

When I opened the menu, the first thing I saw was homemade spoonbread, and I ordered it as an appetizer. The item is really a side dish, but the server brought us an extra large bowl to enjoy as a treat before our meal, and it was the best part of the evening. Sweet, mushy and plentiful; we couldn’t finish it all. Other homemade sides include cole slaw and chips.

When it came to my main dish, I had to try something coastal, so I ordered Shrimp Scampi served over angel hair pasta.

Turns out they were out of angel hair, so mine came on penne. There was certainly no lack of shrimp – I probably ate about 10, but I wasn’t a fan of the flavor, or lack of it. The dish was very plain-tasting pasta and shrimp doused in melted butter. Those three things are delicious, of course, but I really was expecting garlic, lemon or seasoning.

I picked out the shrimp, dried off some of the dripping grease and left the pasta and butter in the bowl. For $14, I’d hoped for more.

To our surprise, the soup of the day was a hybrid of potato and broccoli and cheddar, so we gave it a shot. The $5 bowl was hefty, creamy and flavorful, but also a bit grainy. It was unique to taste two soup flavors at once, but the combination created a bit of a sour flavor.

Brookside offers much more than seafood; there is something for everyone on the menu, and the atmosphere is truly laid back. The menu’s variety begs for my return. I want to try the ribs, salmon burger, crab cake, and an $8 Po’ Boy. Most of all, I can’t wait to try the Chesapeake Lump Crab Bisque made with sherry.

The dining area, although pretty plainly decorated, has plenty of booths and tables for four. Subtle coastal decor shows up every now and then, and wooden panels drape over the bar like a pier.

What I didn’t get to see are three rentable rooms for parties and events: the Club Level, a party room for 125 guests; the Mezzanine, a room for 12-30 guests; and the Crow’s Nest, a room for 12-20 people.

On the restaurant’s website, see a complete calendar listing of upcoming events including live bands, dance parties, karaoke, poker and more.
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October 2017
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The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will screen National Theatre Live’s “Peter Pan” at 3 p.m. in Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall of Music. A delight for children and adults alike, Sally Cookson (“NT Live: Jane Eyre”) directs this inventive production, a co-production with Bristol Old Vic theatre. NT Live brings the best of British theatre direct from the stages of London to cinemas around the world. Tickets are $14. For details, call 289-8980 or visit http://www.modlin.richmond.edu. Full text

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