Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Mezzanine, 3433 W. Cary Street

Karisa: I wanted to write a glowing review of brunch at Mezzanine. I wanted to gush on and on about how incredibly amazing it was and how I've never had a better brunching experience. I wanted to do this based on two previous brunches that I've loved every moment of. I wanted to, but I just can't. Maybe it was Mother's Day, maybe it was our unusually late brunch time, maybe third time is not a charm. I don't know, but I was disappointed. Since I'd been to Mezzanine for brunch twice before and since so many items on the menu look wonderful, I strongly considered trying something new. However, not wanting to be disappointed in my birthday-weekend brunch, I went with my old favorite, the Fried Green Tomato Benedict. I should have tried something new. As expected, the potatoes were tasty and the hollandaise excellent. The show stopper came when I cut into the egg. The yolk was practically fully cooked. Sigh. After a little encouragement by the other ladies, I found our server and told him the problem. I assumed he would bring out another entree, so I was pretty surprised when he brought out a plate with two eggs. This was a little odd to me, especially since all the good stuff was on the original eggs! No worries, I cut into those and the yolks were even more set. Double sigh. Apparently the kitchen was closed, so I was stuck with four almost-hard boiled eggs and ingredients that would be fantastic with a properly poached egg. Totally disappointed. I've loved Mezzanine so much, but perhaps it's time for a break.

Andrea: Oh Mezzanine, I had such high hopes for you. I loved you last year. Your short ribs and grits made me weak in the knees. Your server was adorable and friendly. On Mother's Day, you must have been really stressed and tired when it was time for our brunch at 2:15. You were still tasty (lobster/bacon/cheddar omelette) and your coffee was&nbsp fantastic (not bitter, pipin' hot). Your mimosa was well-balanced and your decor was eclectic and inviting. However, the service was spotty and there were definitely some missteps with the food preparation, which I'm sure Karisa has filled you in on...But I still care for you and will be back and ohhhh those short ribs will be in my belly again very soon. Love, Andrea

MicheleI want to just throw it out that Mezzanine is my favorite restaurant in Richmond. I've never had a bad meal here. I've had dreams about their short ribs and grits. The problem with putting something on a pedestal like this, though, is that one day it is going to fall off. Unfortunately this weekend, that happened for me with Mezzanine. 

 I had my mom in town on Sunday this week. I made us a reservation this week since it was Mother's Day. The only available time slot was 2:15pm. More like a late lunch than brunch? In any case, we arrived on Sunday and were seated upstairs. Mommy and I both elected to make a Bloody Mary downstairs at the make-your-own bar. There were many pickle options, so I was a happy camper. The mix I selected was very thick and not the greatest I've ever had. I contented myself with the pickles. 

For my meal I selected the fried green tomato BLT. Our food came very quickly after ordering.  The bacon and fried green tomato were lovely. I did not care as much for the romaine lettuce. Fancy greens would have been more interesting. My biggest gripe with the sandwich was the serious lack of moisture. No mayonnaise at all on this sandwich. It was sorely needed. The fried potatoes on the side were very tasty and helped redeem the plate. They were the perfect size and texture. 

The service at Mezzanine this week is where I was the most disappointed. Karisa' poached egg situation made us all realize that we were the last brunch order of the day. I got the feeling that the kitchen and our server were just ready to be done with their shift. Even with less than stellar treatment this week, I will still go back to Mezzanine. I am confident that this week was an anomaly. I've had many good experiences here that far outshine our slightly disappointing meal this past week.

MarinMezzanine. For brunch. On Mother’s Day. At 2:15 pm, near closing. OK. They got a few things wrong, but enough went right to convince this bruncher that this venue is well-deserving of a second shot (this was my first dining experience at Mezzanine). I ordered a sandwich: the egg, avocado and mozzarella on ciabatta bread, and it did NOT disappoint. The sandwich was mild but flavorful, and the ciabatta bread was atypically soft and delectable. I loved it. I even finished the side salad, which was more than just a garnish and topped with a delicious house dressing (raspberry vinaigrette?). OK, the cons. My biggest issue was with the service. And I really hate to put that out there, because I know food service is a thankless industry, and I certainly won’t dwell on it, but suffice it to say that I expected better from Mezzanine. Permit me to reiterate: It WAS Mother’s Day, it WAS near the end of the brunching hour, and it WAS I’m sure a very busy afternoon for the staff. Luckily, the food and ambiance (and company!) made up for everything else, and I’m very likely to return!

Rating: 4
Food - Good. Lots of delicious-sounding items on the menu. Vegetarian friendly. Open to making substitutions on ingredients.
Service - Good. Marin was peeved that he touched the rim of everyone's water glasses but the rest of us didn't notice. He did sincerely apologize for Karisa's eggs being overcooked twice and did comp her meal, which was nice. The bartender downstairs was friendly while the two early arrivers waited for the rest of us.
Atmosphere - Very Good. We really enjoyed rocking out to the tunes. Kickin' mix of classic rock and pop that wasn't too loud. Eclectic wall art gave the place character. We sat upstairs (our first time up there) and it had good natural lighting. Plus Michele's mom was a guest bruncher so extra special ambiance with all the mommies in the house!
Coffee - Very Good. Not sure if it's from a local coffee place in town, but the beans were delish and not bitter at all..
Mimosa - Good. Nice full pint glass, good balance of OJ and bubbles.
Bloody Mary - Good. Michele liked all the pickles options (green olives, okra, dilly beans, AND regular pickles) but was less satisfied with her choice of mix, but acknowledges that it's no one's fault but her own.

Mezzanine Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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