Friday, July 19, 2013

The Black Sheep, Revisited

The Black Sheep, 901 West Marshall Street, Richmond
Brunch Menu from Facebook (apparently there still isn't a website)

This is our second re-brunch review! We've been at this weekly brunching thing for awhile now, so we thought it would be fun to occasionally re-visit a spot where we've previously brunched. We may pick a spot to revisit because it was missing something the first time (a liquor license, etc.), several of us weren't there for the first brunch, or just because we miss the food. This time, we picked our spot based on reader feedback on Facebook - thanks! See our first review of The Black Sheep here.

Karisa: New rule. For brunch club re-brunch, read your previous review and don't reorder the exact same thing. Because I did. In fact, my previous review could just be copied and pasted into this review. Well, aside from being with Marin and enjoying Trivial Pursuit cards on the back porch while happily sipping mimosas, because for some reason the back porch was closed. This time we were stuck sitting on a bench outside in the hot sun with one little umbrella to provide some shade.

After our wait, things picked up considerably. We all enjoyed our coffees and sparkly drinks/bloody mary while perusing the brunch and lunch menus. Again, I failed at brunch reviewing and ordered the exact same thing (the No Mas Huevos Nuevos) I ordered on our last visit. I am nothing if not a predictable brunch orderer. Thankfully, our meals were delivered very quickly, especially given the busyness of the restaurant. It was wonderful, just as before, with two wonderfully runny eggs hiding below the chili, a slightly spicy grit cake with creamy guacamole, and crunchy tortilla chips topping it all off. I can't say that if I have the pleasure of returning to Black Sheep for another, likely Saturday, brunch that I won't get the same thing. Why mess with a good thing? I know, I'll claim quality control!

Andrea: This week's rebrunch at Black Sheep made me remember how much I like Black Sheep and that I should eat here more often, but only when I'm not in a big hurry. I was bummed to note that the back patio where patrons used to be able to wait for a table, have a drink, and test each other with vintage Trivial Pursuit cards was not open. This distressed me because not only do I LOVE trivia but I was super early this week (for once!) and was looking forward to enjoying some coffee and some fun facts at a picnic table in the back. Alas. I hope that area is open again soon because the major complaint about Black Sheep is that it's small so there's always a wait for a table but there's no good place to wait. One two-person bench outside doesn't accommodate the 20+ people waiting. The big beach umbrella was a help in the sun this Sunday afternoon, but didn't exactly solve the 'sitch. Once we got inside, though, the meal was superb. We all loved our food. I had an iced coffee and one of the specials of the day - an omelette with ricotta cheese, asparagus, tasso ham, and a delicious mushroom and tomato sauce on the outside. The flavors complemented each other very well; the ricotta made it creamy, the chunky sauce gave it texture and a little sweetness, and the ham was smoky and not too salty. One of the best omelettes I've had in a while! The interior of Black Sheep is as adorable as can be - an eclectic mix of paintings and sculptures with vibrant colors and textures. Our service was decent and the beverages were tasty but not amazing. Black Sheep is a definite brunch destination to recommend, but small groups work best here so your wait is minimized.I hope EWE give it a try!

MicheleI missed Black Sheep the first time our group brunched there. I'm really happy we selected this place as our second re-brunch of the year, as I've only heard great things about this restaurant.

We had a bit of a wait at Black Sheep. Thankfully Andrea arrived super early, thus shortening the wait for the rest of us. We were eventually seated at a cozy booth for four. Our coffee and tea arrived in mis-matched mugs, which I always love. I had a Tabasco mug, which seemed appropriate for the Bloody Mary drinker. Even better, the coffee inside my mug was outstanding. I took a quick peek around the restaurant and noticed that the folks at Black Sheep serve Community Coffee. I had never heard of this brand before, but some internet searching revealed that Community Coffee is a regional favorite from Louisiana. I thought it was absolutely delicious. My Bloody Mary was equally enjoyable. The drink was tomatoey with lots of coarse spices mixed in. I think I tasted cucumber vodka in there, but I could be wrong.

For my meal this week I settled on the corned beef hash. The hash consisted of sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and corned beef, chopped up into tiny manageable pieces. The meat was tender, not fatty or chewy. My eggs were perfectly over easy. The runny egg yolks mixed in well with the caraway Dijon sauce that covered the hash. I used my little pieces if toast to sop up the extra sauce. The salad greens on the side added a little bit of crunch to the dish and made me feel a little bit healthier about my meal choice.

Overall, I loved our brunch at Black Sheep this week, and I will absolutely return there for brunch or dinner. If I still had a hiker's appetite, I would love to eat one of the giant subs by myself. All of the Cajun-inspired menu items sound so enticing to me, so I already know it will take several more visits for me to try out everything.

Kathy: For whatever crazy reason, I forget about Black Sheep. I should stop that. It's adorable and delicious, and the portions are huge. My lamb sausage was about the size of an actual lamb. Usually I feel so guilty for eating adorable animals, but not this time. Not at Black Sheep. My favorite lunch item there is a lamb sub and this sausage did not disappoint either. My frittata was about the size of the surface of the sun, and cooked perfectly, fluffy but not runny. There were yummy green things inside, so yay for health amidst all that gluttony. In fact, I couldn't clear my plate, which is perhaps a first for me. I have no idea what kind of sauce was on this dish, but it was flavorful and incredible. My mimosa was standard, but the tea! I had a selection of my favorite brand.

Rating: 4
Food Very Good. We were sad we got full. Huge portions. Kathy couldn't finish her plate, and you know how she can put it away! Several veggie brunch options to choose from. Interesting menu with some nontraditional items (eg. lamb). Tons of lunch options too if you're in the mood for something more "-unch" than "br-".
Service Good. Our server didn't do anything special....other than say we were all pretty :) She initially forgot one of our beverages but quickly fixed that. She split our checks for us at the end of the meal, which was appreciated.
Atmosphere Good. 30 minute wait and there wasn't a great waiting area - one bench, an umbrella with some shade but not much. We were bummed that the patio in the back wasn't open. Adorable gaslight lamps in the booths. Eclectic art including a weird cow head and little succulent plants. Bizarre and quirky with lots of character. Good tunes playing. Vibrant chatter of patrons, but not too loud to drown out our own conversation.
Coffee/Tea - Good/Good. Black Sheep brews Community Coffee. We tried the iced and hot varieties. Both were tasty. Kathy was pleased that she received three options of her favorite brand of tea but wasn't offered a refill of water. The tea and hot coffee came in kitschy mugs which we always enjoy (Michele's said "Tabasco" - perfect for her!).
Mimosa Good. Five or six different flavors to choose from like mango and pomegranate. Served in a pint glass but a little pricey and watery with the ice but still refreshing and delish.
Bloody Mary - Very Good. Tomatoey, lots of coarse spices, olive garnish, celery stick stirrer, perhaps cucumber vodka. Very tasty Bloody made just the way Michele like them.

The Black Sheep on Urbanspoon

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