2113 Bistro, 2113 E Main St, Richmond, VA
Karisa: My only experience with 2113 is from their soft opening over a year and a half or so ago. It was more awful than any soft opening gets leeway for, and I silently vowed to never return. This little blog has an interesting way of making me renege such self-promises, and I found myself back for brunch. Apparently since its inception, 2113 has already undergone a menu (and I think chef) overhaul. From this experience, they may need yet another one. The atmosphere, however, was absolutely lovely, and I may be willing to return for drinks. Just drinks. If there's no where else to go.
I ordered a pear flavored mimosa followed up a bit later by a white sangria, since it looked pretty on another diner's table. Once I finally got them, the pear mimosa was quite good, but the sangria was too sweet for my taste. Thankfully Andrea is a dear sweet lady and switched with me. To complement the drinks, I had the grilled shrimp and grits. The chef at 2113 must be a literalist, as I received a skewer of grilled shrimp and an enormous side of grits with some odd sprinkling of mixed pepper bits on the plate. I've watched Top Chef; I know about deconstructed dishes, and every part must be undeniably tasty. No parts of this meal were tasty, undeniably or otherwise. The shrimp was cooked well, but incredibly over seasoned. The grits had some awkward herb mixed in that made them almost inedible. It was a horrific waste of perfectly good cheese. Also, was I supposed to eat that parsley on the top? I picked around my plate, and stopped at Einstein on the way home for a bagel.
Andrea: 2113 is a restaurant and nightspot in my neighborhood that I want to support. My friend knows the management and I pass by on my walk to and from work every day. I haven’t eaten here in a long time, and not yet since they've changed chefs and overhauled their menu. I've come here for cocktails and live music a few times in the past year and I like the ambiance of the space at night – the lights set a really cool mood and the sound system is great – but it never seems to be all that packed. I was looking forward to seeing what 2113 is like in the daytime and how the food is tasting these days to perhaps discover a hidden brunch gem in my neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the overall brunch experience this week was just okay. The jazz music was a bit of a novelty, as not many places around town have live music. We were promised music at Selba once but the piano player never showed up. Perhaps it was an off week? Anyway, the four-piece band was quite talented – a female lead singer with a great voice and three male instrumentalists. The quality of the music was great, but the sound on the patio was just a little too loud for the half dozen or so outside tables. As a party of three, I felt like we were a bit cramped. We were seated initially at two long tables put together, which made conversation impossible so we asked to move. Our server had our back on negotiating that move, despite another table trying to sit there. However, otherwise, she wasn't all that attentive with refills and the kitchen’s slowness brought down the service rating significantly.
I ordered the make-your-own omelette (roasted red pepper, spinach, and feta) that came with a choice of breakfast meats (bacon or sausage). I liked how the bacon was crispy and the portion was sizeable, but I’m not a huge fan of the fatty bits and there were a lot of those on my pieces. The accompanying home fries (nice big potato chunks) were just the right amount of doneness for me – not too soft and not too hard with good baked flavor. The omelette was moist and had all the things I asked for as well as a little extra multicolored pepper action, which I appreciated. I ate the whole thing to reward myself for the 7 miles I ran in the morning ;) My desert pear mimosa was pretty tasty too, and I would have had another, but Karisa wasn't a fan of the sangria (too sweet) so I took one for the team and drank that for her.
I’d come back here for happy hour with friends or perhaps to give dinner a try because the menu does look good. However, if the service at dinner is similar to our brunching experience, 2113 may have to step up its game to stay competitive with the other establishments in the area.
Kathy: It's been a while since I last went to 2113, and I nearly forgot about their lovely patio. The gorgeous day with a seat in the sun, live jazz, and fancy flavor mimosas got us off to a great start at brunch. My experience went a bit downhill when the mimosa turned out to be too sweet, and in the end I discovered it's a bit high priced at $8. I did appreciate the pretty layering of colors in the glass. I tried to order the quiche du jour, but they'd sold out before our arrival. So, I ordered a "make your own" omelet with green pepper, feta cheese, and onion. The egg was a bit runny, but I liked that my veggies and cheese were well integrated in to the omelet. Nothing is worse than an omelet that simply sticks the fixings in the center, like some kind of freak of nature taco. Our waitress, slow in general, forgot that Andrea's and my omelet came with bacon on the side. When it finally arrived, I was pleased to see there were many strips, and it was cooked wonderfully crispy. The bacon was supposedly apple flavored, but I couldn't really taste the flavor. The star of the meal were the potatoes - perfectly spiced, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. Since 2113 is in my 'hood, I'd love to go more often, but the place just doesn't wow me enough to keep me as a repeat customer.
Food - Good. Lots of egg choices and savory options on the menu. Karisa’s grits were a little weird – too much of whatever spice they added? Our omelettes were moist (yay for no dryness!). Bacon was crispy and the portion was nice, but the meat itself was a little fatty for Andrea’s taste. Kathy likes all bacon all ways all times, so we didn't hear any complaints from her.
Service - Fair. Our server was friendly and did ultimately accommodate us when we asked to be moved to a different table on the patio. However, another party almost stole said table because another server was not informed that we would be moving there. Despite not being very busy, the kitchen was quite slow. We had to remind our server about Kathy’s tea order three or four times before it finally came, and ask repeatedly for coffee refills as well. It would have been nice if the server was a bit more knowledgeable about the menu; she didn't know that a side of bacon or sausage came with the “make your own omelette” and so our orders were originally missing our meat.
Atmosphere - Good. Beautiful outdoor patio with modern but simple decor inside. The Japanese maples were just starting to turn colors for the fall, so we were definitely glad we made the decision to sit outside, although we still felt a little cramped. Tables of two shouldn't have the same problem, though. The live music made 2113 unique from most of the other places we've brunched in Richmond, but at times the music was a bit too loud and it detracted from our ability to have a conversation.
Coffee/Tea - Good/Good. Served coffee from local roaster Rostov’s. Nothing special about the presentation – standard white mugs with nice and hot java. We only got one spoon for two of us drinking coffee. We all know that Karisa has cooties, so Andrea would have appreciated another one. Four or five tea varieties were available which Kathy appreciated, but she was not offered a refill on her water.
Mimosa - Good. Lots of varieties to choose from, including raspberry, desert pear, blueberry, and mandarin orange, though a bit expensive ($7 on menu, $8 on the bill). Raspberry was a little sweet for our taste but we agreed that the desert pear was delish. We didn't try the traditional variety. Good sparkling wine to juice ratio. We also tried the white sangria, which had a healthy serving with some fresh fruit but again was on the end of the sweet spectrum, so be wary if you’re looking for something a little more balanced.
Bloody Mary - Not rated. Michele was out gallivanting in the woods this week.