RVA Burger Crawl – Part 2
We had so much fun on our first Burger Crawl & couldn’t wait to do it again! Unfortunately, the iPhone died that had the pictures from our original Part 2, so we did a third week of the RVA Burger Crawl and will review our second week at a later date when we can go back and take pictures.
This week we hit downtown Richmond restaurants Lemaire, Secret Sandwich Society and Pasture.
Lemaire (at the Jefferson Hotel)
Thanks to our friend Natalie for this suggestion! In Richmond’s fanciest hotel, Lemaire is a long-time award-winning restaurant known for it’s fine cuisine. We had no idea what great burgers they serve, and the incredibly affordable happy hour that allows you to have great food without breaking the bank.
The happy hour at Lemaire (4pm-7pm) includes $5 cocktails and wine, and $3 (Virginia) drafts. If you aren’t in the mood for a burger, take advantage of their happy hour food special, any 3 appetizers for $20. We ordered a Peach Bellini for $5 and were presented with bar snacks – olives and peanuts. These are not your normal peanuts – they are house-smoked with applewood – conveying a smoky flavor in every bite.
The burgers at Lemaire are house-ground filet mignon. Our burger was extremely juicy (thank goodness we ate it over the plate), with some high quality applewood smoked bacon. It was cooked perfectly with crunchy, flat fries. The ketchup provided was also made on-site.
One cannot visit Lemaire without taking in the beautiful surroundings of the Jefferson Hotel. You can even work off a french fry by climbing the grand staircase in the hotel lobby.
While the burger was on the expensive side, the bar snacks and quality make it a good value. The burger ($14) and cocktail ($5) worked out to a $19 tab, which would be only $17 if a Virginia draft beer was chosen instead.
Secret Sandwich Society
This restaurant is relatively new to the Richmond area and sports a menu full of allusions to Presidents and First Ladies. Architecturally, they make great use of the space and play music at the perfect volume. The location is also ideal for visiting The National to catch a concert.
The happy hour at Secret Sandwich Society runs from 3pm to 6pm, with $1 off drafts, $4 well drinks, and $5 cocktails and wines. They have a great selection of Virginia brews, and we started off with the O’Connor Heavy Footer IPA from Norfolk, VA (at $4 happy hour price). We also ordered one of the cocktail specials – a pineapple sage margarita, which was nicely balanced.
There are six burgers to choose from, and we stuck with our basic bacon cheeseburger. We enjoyed our burger and noted that it had a good bacon to burger ratio and a very buttery bun. Several of the specialty burgers included eggs. The fries were small and square and quite tasty. They would have been much better if we chose to get them with pimiento ($1 extra) or loaded ($2 extra).
Overall the Secret Sandwich Society provides a great value, with a burger ($10.50) and cocktail ($5) costing only $15.50 and the draft beer combination a steal at $14.50. We also love the social mission of the Secret Sandwich Society, as the day we went there, they were donating 15% of sales to our neighbor, FeedMore, the Richmond area food bank.
Local restauranteur, Jason Alley’s Pasture is a gem in the Richmond dining scene. Pasture proudly uses Virginia’s bounty of agricultural products. The burger is just one item on a menu filled with interesting creations, such as pork rinds with house made ricotta and red pepper jelly, or jerk-braised pork shoulder.
Pasture’s happy hour runs from 4-7pm with $2 off drafts and $5 wines. They have a good selection of local drafts, with a beer list skewed towards higher ABV wines, including one of our favorites – Lickinghole Creek’s Heir Apparent.
We started the evening off with the Pulaski – a shot of Kentucky Gentleman Bourbon with a shot of pickle juice (red). Tasty and helped clean the palate 🙂
The burger at Pasture was another winner, as the source of the meat was Seven Hills Farm in Lynchburg, VA. The sesame seed bun was tasty, and the burger had a good juicy flavor – and the sauce on the side was great too. A few years ago, there was a “Burger Beatdown” best burger in Richmond contest, and Pasture was the runner up out of 16 contenders.
The fries were crispy and delicious. Overall for a burger ($14) and draft ($5) the bill was $19. Next time we come we will branch out of the burger space and taste some of their down-home Virginia comfort food with a twist.
Lessons learned from Part 2 of the RVA Burger Crawl:
- Fancy happy hour – get the Lemaire Burger
- Laid back vibe with a history lesson – go to Secret Sandwich Society
- Fresh take on classic southern cooking by one of the regions best chefs – go to Pasture