Karisa: With the rest of my brunchin' bitches either out of town for the Memorial Day holiday or partying with old ladies, I called on my good friend and work partner-in-crime, (I won't call her my boss, but she's my boss) Cynthia to be my brunch date. Her husband and oldest son were also out of town, so we had the pleasure of brunching with her youngest son as well. Cynthia suggested Dots for its family friendly atmosphere, and since it's been on my "to-brunch" list forever, I was happy to oblige.
The menu at Dots is varied with eggy brunch, non-eggy brunch, and traditional lunch options. The specials list was extensive and seemed to contain more gourmet options. We had some sweet potato cakes (latke-like) from the specials list to start with, and on Cyn's recommendation, I ordered the Huevos Rancheros. The incredibly well cooked eggs softened the tortilla, which combined with the salsa, sour cream, and black beans made for a very tasty meal. Overall, Dots is family friendly without being annoying to those of us without child(ren). A good quality Richmond diner that's got a little bit of something for everyone. Plus, apparently one of my coworkers was there when they filmed Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!
Cynthia, Guest Bruncher and Awesome Pseudo-Boss: It appears the regular brunch crew was off doing other things this week so my son and I got the pleasure of serving as guest brunchers. I have wanted to introduce Dot’s Back Inn to Karisa for awhile. It is one of my favorite little spots in RVA. It happens to be fairly kid-friendly too which was a bonus since my little guy was joining us this morning. Dot's is on the north side of Richmond and has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, which is actually how I found out about it a few years ago. It is a classic 50’s inspired (I say “inspired” but it may have actually been open back then so it might be just plain classic) diner with tons of local charm.
I started with a bloody mary & coffee. The coffee was fine. It’s nothing to write home about but it’ll do. Dot’s bloody mary is just spicy enough and just strong enough. It is a little light on flavor but is served with lemon and lime which is the way I like it. I’m a citrus over brine kind of girl.
The menu is packed full of constant staples then haven’t changed since I have been going there. But the white board above the bar lists a plethora of specials that provide welcome variety. We chose one the specials to split as an appetizer and it was one of the tastiest bites I have had in awhile. It was a sweet potato cake served with Greek yogurt, honey and fresh mint. The cake was crispy and full of wonderful flavors like cinnamon and what I think may have been clove. The yogurt, mint and honey provided the perfect balance. I hope this is a special they bring back again and again because it will certainly make its way to my plate.
I ordered a classic benedict served with Smithfield ham for my main meal. The grits were great, cooked perfectly and super buttery. As for the benedict; on the upside my eggs were perfection and the hollandaise was also really yummy. The ham however was super salty. I suppose this is to be expected with the local variety but I found that it overpowered the rest of the dish. I liked it much better when I took the ham off and just had the residual flavor from its juices. I think next time I am going to try an omelet.
Brendan, Guest (and youngest!) Bruncher: Brendan is almost 7. He was feeling a little shy and cuddly this morning but Dot’s is one of his favorite places to eat so he was happy to be joining us. Here is what he had to say:
Chocolate Chip Pancakes: Good, fluffy, sweet
Favorite part?: All the chocolate in the pancakes.
Bren wishes they had lemonade but had to settle for iced tea. He loved his pancakes and thought the waitress was nice.
Food - Good. Eggs are cooked perfectly and the specials are varied and spot-on in flavor.
Service - Very Good. Friendly and efficient without being overbearing.
Atmosphere - Very Good. Who doesn't love a good diner? They tend to be unpretentious and kitschy. I love the Christmas lights that are still up in May. I love the old photographs of Richmonders. I love the 50’s vibe complete with aluminum bar stools. If a classic diner is what you're after, then Dots fits the bill to a tee.
Coffee - Good. A little on the weak side but not bitter at all and just the right temperature.
Mimosa - Good. Cheap and served Richmond style. What could be better?
Bloody Mary - Good. Good spice but slightly low on flavor. I do like citrus with my Mary so the lemon and lime garnish suited me well.